We love reading and know others in our community also have a thirst for exploring new perspectives on leading a healthy, fulfilling life in middle-age. Since we initially curated this reading list in December 2017, we’ve seen a positive shift and greater public awareness of the virtues of ‘work’ (whether it is paid or not) and the mental health benefits of regular social activities and being involved in the community. Babyboomers and Gen Xers are redefining ‘retirement’, creating portfolio lifestyles for themselves and taking leadership roles as ‘elders’ through 2-way mentoring.
We’ve added new releases to our curated list of classics to reflect the thought-leadership that will shape the new social norms in 2021.
Our main source of inspiration for a long, healthy and happy life is the Okinawan style of a sense of purpose, ikigai. Garcia who has been living in Japan for over 20 years gives practical tips on how to apply ikigai to your lifestyle.
This is our favourite go-to book by the best-selling author and researcher Dan Buettner. It shares the secrets of some of the world’s happiest places including Denmark, Costa Rica, and Singapore. It inspired us to deepen our relationships with friends and family, build stronger communities around us and also increase the frequency of our social drinking!
The 100-Year Life: Living and Working in an Age of Longevity (Lynda Gratton and Andrew Scott)
This is our other go-to book that we recommend to experienced professionals who are feeling the impetus to make a change to their work but not really sure what is the bigger picture they need to consider other than their nest egg, This is also a great book for business and HR leaders who are seeking to future-proof their business for the long term and are updating their workforce strategy in parallel with their transformation projects.
Wisdom at Work: The Making of a Modern Elder(Chip Conley)
After 24 years building a successful hotel business then selling it, at the age of 52, Chip Conley became a mentor to Brian Chesky, the millennial CEO of Airbnb. While sharing his wisdom with younger colleagues, Chip appreciates the two-way exchange of mentorship, increasing his own digital literacy with his constant interaction with digital natives and learning how to thrive in the tech industry by maintaining curiosity and a zest for learning. Chip is helping shaping the narrative about the role of older workers in all companies, inspiring us to think differently about what is possible with our newfound longevity.
This Chair Rocks (Ashton Applewhite)
Applewhite, a leading anti-ageism campaigner is a global inspiration for all of us who are ageing everyday (everyone!). She was the catalyst for change in Australia, highlighting that ageism is the last form of acceptable discrimination through the Everyage Counts campaign in 2019.
Act 3: The Art of Growing Older(Adrian and Judy Reith)
This book will help you identify and strengthen the four roots you’ll need for a happy and successful third act. It illustrates how your attitude, purpose, relationships and values are keystones to a life without regret. Be inspired by original stories of those who have changed their lives after 50. Re-imagine your future, and so design the life you want . . . at last.
The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why It Matters(Priya Parker)
Social connections is one of Full Time Lives’ 5 key ingredients to build a meaningful and healthy lifestyle beyond full time paid work. Although this book was written prior to the Pandemic, Parker’s practical tips on how to make social and professional gatherings more meaningful may be applied to in-person ones as well as virtual.
This is a reassuring vision of ageing. Jonathan Rauch provides insights into the stages of life and why we go through a slump in our 40s and 50s – the good news is life usually gets better after that. It’s a great book for gleaning practical tips on cultivating happiness and learning why we shouldn’t navigate the malaise of mid-life alone.
Man’s Search for Meaning(Viktor E Frankl)
This brilliant and easy-to-read book delves into finding meaning in life, despite suffering and adversity. Using his experience as a prisoner in concentration camps during the Holocaust, the author gives an honest account of his experience, enmeshed with his observations as a leading psychiatrist. He came to believe humankind’s deepest desire is to search for meaning and purpose.
Bolder (Carl Honoré)
In this time of longer lifespans, we have the potential to age better than ever before. Carl Honoré explores the cultural, medical and technological trends that will help us make the most of our longer lives. He challenges us to rethink education, healthcare, work, relationships, design and politics to make ageing a bonus rather than a burden.
Rethink Your Career: In your 40s, 50s and 60s(Joanna Maxwell)
This is a guidebook by Australian thought-leader Joanna Maxwell who helps Australians of all ages and backgrounds feel they belong and can contribute and flourish. It is filled with stories and interviews with people who have reinvented themselves. She also shares tips and exercises to help you work out how to retain all the benefits of your working life when transitioning away from full time work. These include how to retain a sense of self; the benefits of structure to our days and the sense of usefulness which comes from contributing and engaging with wider community.
Email us if you have any other recommendations and bookmark this page as we’ll refine and expand the list over time.