From Strength to Strength

One of the best books I have read recently is called “From Strength to Strength: Finding Success, Happiness, and Deep Purpose in the Second Half of Life” by Arthur Brooks. Check it out here:

Brooks begins the book by relaying the story of sitting on an airplane and overhearing the conversation of a man and his wife. The man was talking about how he felt like he would be better off if he were dead. His wife was assuring him, “It’s not true that no one needs you anymore!” The author imagined it was someone who had worked hard his whole life in relative obscurity and had perhaps been forced to retire. When the plane landed and the author stood up and saw the man, he was shocked to see that it was actually a very famous and well-respected man. People on the plane murmured as they recognized him and the pilot came to speak to the man and said, “Sir, I have admired you since I was a little boy!” The man beamed with pride. The author said he was left wondering, “Which more accurately describes the man – the one filled with joy and pride now, or the one twenty minutes ago, telling his wife he might as well be dead?”

This opening story gives a glimpse into the topics of this book – aging, the careers we love and how we find meaning. As I begin my fifties, I think more and more about these topics and I appreciate Brooks’ approach in recognizing that there are painful changes that happen as we age, but there are things we can do to maximize our strengths and make the most of the second half of our lives.

I so highly recommend this book if you are thinking about transitions, changes, seasons of life and careers, or the importance of friendships! Not surprisingly, he emphasizes the importance of nurturing friendships sooner rather than later and not letting those relationships becoma a casualty of our busy-ness.

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