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Publisher's Summary

In the 21st century, a developmental phase of life is emerging as significant and distinct, capturing our interest, engaging our curiosity, and expanding our understanding of human potential and development. Demographers talk about this new chapter in life as characterized by people - those between ages 50 and 75 - who are considered "neither young nor old." In our "third chapters" we are beginning to redefine our views about the casualties and opportunities of aging; we are challenging cultural definitions of strength, maturity, power, and sexiness. This is a chapter in life when the traditional norms, rules, and rituals of our careers seem less encompassing and restrictive; when many women and men seem to be embracing new challenges and searching for greater meaning in life.In The Third Chapter, Dr. Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot offers a strong counterpoint to the murky ambivalence that shrouds our clear view of people in their third chapters. She challenges the still-prevailing and anachronistic images of aging by documenting and revealing the ways in which the years between 50 and 75 may, in fact, be the most transformative and generative time in our lives - tracing the ways in which wisdom, experience, and new learning inspire individual growth and cultural transformation. The women and men whose voices fill the pages of The Third Chapter tell passionate and poignant stories of risk and vulnerability, failure and resilience, challenge and mastery, experimentation and improvisation, and insight and new learning.
©2009 Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot; (P)2009 Tantor
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Critic Reviews

"In this singular book, Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot introduces a new stage of life, delineates its intriguing and unexpected contours, and draws lessons that are meaningful for every human being." (Howard Gardner, author of Good Work)
"Remarkable.... This is not only the best book yet about the changing lifecourse, but an inspiring roadmap for individual and social renewal." (Marc Freedman, author of Encore: Finding Work That Matters in the Second Half of Life)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By ahrosales on 03-21-13

Great message but too much social science jargon

This book has a great title, and an excellent message with good stories of individuals who have "reinvented" themselves in midlife. But I pretty much got the point after about 3 chapters and wasn't sure what value was being added by making the book longer. Also, the social science language and vocab kind of got on my nerves after awhile.

Narrator has some odd pronunciations, e.g. "pedagogy." But overall, a good message, if you can ignore some of the academic aspects of the book.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful


By maria on 02-25-11

"Disappointing"

Highly disappointed in this book. All people who are interviewed in the book are people who I and probably 90% of other readers will not identify with. Did Ms Lightfoot find these folks at the university or from Who's Who? All with advanced degrees, many who attended the fancy schools, high achievers with wonderful significant others who are now entering the third phase of life. Blah, blah, blah so unrealistic. I was so hoping that this book would be real and I could take away some ideas and insight to help with this next phase of my life.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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