Good books: The New Long Life: A Framework for Flourishing in a Changing World

This book is a sequel to The 100-Year Life, which was a ground breaking examination of work and careers in an age of increasing longevity, published in 2016.

The 100-Year Life

The authors of The 100-Year Life and its sequel, Andrew Scott and Lynda Gratton are both professors at London Business School.  Andrew  Scott is the Professor of Economics at LBS as well as a consulting scholar at Stanford University’s Centre on Longevity. He is also the co-founder of the Longevity Forum and a member of the advisory board of the Office for Budget Responsibility and the UK Cabinet Office Honours Committee. Lynda Gratton is the Professor of Management Practice at LBS and an organizational theorist and consultant. She is the founder of the Hot Spots Movement and known for her work on organisational behaviour.

The 100-Year Life made a significant impact on policy makers around the world, particularly in Japan, a country with one of the oldest populations, measured in terms of average age of the population. The 100-Year Life highlighted the fact that the world’s political, social and investment sectors were unprepared for increasing longevity around the world. The book described how new technology had had enabled the development of human progress, but at the same time it has prompted increasing anxiety, loneliness and tensions.

Increasingly people were concerned about running out of money as they got older, and the problems of ill-health. At the same time younger people had increasing concerns about job security and changes to the way we function as families, learn and earn a living.

In the sequel, The New Long Life, the authors offer a more practical guide to how we can all, but particularly over-60s, positively adapt to a changing world. The book underlines how in the era of growing longevity, society’s structures (such as compulsory retirement ages) have not adapted to the changing needs of an aging population.

According to the publishers, the sequel covers similar turf, but is broader, taking aim at the ‘most outdated structures: the three-stage life’. ‘The first stage was traditionally spent growing up and getting educated. The second was consumed by working, making money and raising children. The third was spent in retirement. In the old days, the three-stage life largely worked, at least in the developed world. It allowed many to support a family, buy a house and look forward to a pension. Today, few young people can afford a house and many of the elderly don’t have adequate pensions. The three-stage life has broken down. Governments partly accept this, which is why they are raising the retirement age. Employers, with a few exceptions, have carried on as though the three-state life is still with us,’ they wrote.

The authors provide readers with three fundamental principles (Narrate, Explore and Relate) which provide the lens through which readers can navigate future challenges. They call on all sectors of society, including governments, employers and individuals to prepare for an increasingly connected multi-generational world.

Comments from the publisher describe the book as ‘both a personal road-map and a primer for governments, corporations and colleges’ and as ‘the essential guide to a longer, smarter, happier life’.

The Financial Times review of the book stated that it was ‘A manifesto for better later years . . . The New Long Life [takes] aim at one of our best-entrenched and most outdated structures: the three-stage life . . . Their argument is robust and their themes sufficiently important to make this book essential reading for policy-makers and chief executives’.

Daron Acemoglu, Institute Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and author of ‘Why Nations Fail’ wrote that ‘We are living longer and healthier lives which creates momentous challenges. But as this wonderful book points out, it also presents huge opportunities, ranging from changes in how we invest in our education, how we work, consume, form our social lives and even govern ourselves. This thought-provoking book is a must-read’.

Well known author Niall Ferguson described the book asBrilliant, timely, original, well written and utterly terrifying.

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