The Big Shift: Navigating the New Stage Beyond Midlife

Overview


Marc Freedman, hailed by the New York Times as “the voice of aging baby boomers [seeking] meaningful and sustaining work later in life,” offers a recipe for how we can transform America’s coming midlife crisis into a midlife opportunity. Millions of people in their fifties, sixties, and seventies are searching for answers to the question “What’s next?” and are navigating their way to an entirely new stage of life and work, one that could last as long as midlife. Shifting to a much longer lifespan isn’t as easy ...
See more details below
Paperback
$11.48
BN.com price
(Save 28%)$15.99 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (20) from $1.99   
  • New (8) from $5.06   
  • Used (12) from $1.99   
The Big Shift: Navigating the New Stage Beyond Midlife

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK Study
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$10.49
BN.com price
(Save 34%)$15.99 List Price

Overview


Marc Freedman, hailed by the New York Times as “the voice of aging baby boomers [seeking] meaningful and sustaining work later in life,” offers a recipe for how we can transform America’s coming midlife crisis into a midlife opportunity. Millions of people in their fifties, sixties, and seventies are searching for answers to the question “What’s next?” and are navigating their way to an entirely new stage of life and work, one that could last as long as midlife. Shifting to a much longer lifespan isn’t as easy as it may seem. Unlike the transition from adolescence to adulthood, managing this process for many is a do-it-yourself project. Drawing on powerful personal stories, The Big Shift provides not only direction but a vision of what it would take to help millions find their footing in a new map of life.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

The New York Times, April 30, 2011

Calls The Big Shift “an imaginative work with the potential to affect our individual lives and our collective future.”

The Wall Street Journal, May 9, 2011

Says its an “invaluable and inspiring read.”

USAToday, April 25, 2011

Hails Freedman as “a natural storyteller, a deep researcher and a forward thinker.”

New YorkJournal of Books, June 2011
“thorough, thoughtful, and exceptionally well written….Page One is a most encompassing volume on the issue of the future of journalism and newspapers…Highly recommended."

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781610390996
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs
  • Publication date: 4/10/2012
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 271,198
  • Product dimensions: 5.28 (w) x 7.82 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Marc Freedman

Marc Freedman is founder and CEO of Civic Ventures. An award-winning social entrepreneur, frequent commentator in the national media, and the author of Encore, Prime Time, and The Kindness of Strangers, Freedman spearheaded the creation of Experience Corps and The Purpose Prize. He lives in San Francisco with his family.
Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt

We need a new map of life.

We’ve been making do with one that was fashioned for an expected longevity of threescore and 10. We shouldn’t knock that legacy. At one time, that constituted progress. But we can’t stuff a 21st century life span into a life course designed for the 20th century – or stretch the old model so that it accommodates a task well beyond its intended capacity. The story starts with the numbers, but it is really about the nature of lives.

In 1900, the life span in the United States was 47. Today, it is approaching 80 (although great disparities persist across class and race). Overall, that’s an increase in 100 years approximating all the gains since the beginning of time. And the length of life may well be growing, headed toward the century mark. Some think the upward rise will be even more precipitous.

Yet while we’ve been remarkably adept at extending lives, our imagination and innovation in remaking the shape of those longer lives have been struggling to keep pace. In the words of anthropologist Mary Catherine Bateson, we’re “living longer and thinking shorter.”

The situation is beginning to fray, especially in the period of life that is emerging between traditional midlife and what used to be occupied by retirement and old age. It’s fair to say that this condition constitutes a long-standing problem, one that existed even before longer lives and changing demographics made it a much bigger one.

It took ingenuity to redesign lives to keep up with changes in longevity and society in mid-20th century America, but we rose to the occasion. We plugged the purpose gap with something called the “golden years,” a stunning innovation that almost overnight turned an arid economic institution, retirement, from an anteroom to the great beyond into a core component of the American dream.

But now, we’re looking at 30-year retirements in the era of the Great Recession. Let’s face it, that is simply not going to work, nor is it desirable. Does it make much sense for society to throw away the most experienced segment of the population when it is a long way from obsolescence?

I believe that the way to make the most of coming 100-year life spans is not to stretch and strain the contours of a life course set up for a bygone era. That’s like plastic surgery to make a 70-year-old face look like a 40-year-old one – the result is unnatural and the intention wrongheaded. Likewise, the answer to the unsustainability of 30-year retirements is not substituting endless middle age for endless old age, the alternative some are proposing to the much longer life. Middle age, like all good things, eventually must reach an end. No use denying it.

The reality is that the end of middle age is no longer, for most people, attached to the beginning of either retirement or old age. (It’s like the transcontinental railroad, started at both ends, designed to eventually meet. However, the two ends of this project – life – don’t meet anymore.) Individuals left in that lurch, in this unstable space that has no name, no clear beginning and end, no rites or routes of passage, face a contradictory culture, incoherent policies, institutions tailored for a different population, and a society that seems in denial that this period even exists.

The new stage – while deeply personal – is much more than an individual problem. As such, it’s just too hard, the exclusive province of the heroic, lucky or loaded. No glib talk from advice mongers or exhortations from the optimistic will do the trick. What we’re facing is not a solo matter; it’s a social imperative, an urgent one that must be solved as the great midlife migration gathers scale and momentum.

We need a call to action for creating an “encore” stage of life characterized by purpose, contribution and commitment, particularly to the well-being of future generations. But inventing a new stage of life won’t happen by itself, easily or automatically, even as the soil becomes more fertile and conditions increasingly ripe. If we act, the new stage could well become a destination, even the new crown of life, and the individuals flooding into it the human-capital solution to much that ails us in this society.

We are in the position to make a monument from what used to be the leftover years, a second chance for people of all stripes to ascend the ladder of contribution and fulfillment, and an opportunity for society to “grow up” along with its population. This amounts to nothing less than changing the pattern of lives, and with it the nature and possibilities of every stage along the way.

It’s time for a shift – a shift in thinking and in culture, in social institutions and public policies, a shift from what worked in the past to what can carry us into the future.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

1 An AARP Discount-and Two Cribs 1

2 One River at a Time 19

3 A World Out of Whack 29

4 New-Stage Thinking 55

5 The Next Map of Life 85

6 Routes of Passage 105

7 Ten Steps Toward a New Stage 131

8 The Generativity Revolution 155

Acknowledgments 179

Appendix Eight Stories from the Next Stage 183

Notes 207

Recommended Reading List 219

The Big Shift Discussion Guide: Getting the Conversation Started 225

Index 229

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 22, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    The Big Shift

    Social entrepreneur Marc Freedman argues against the cultural perception that people pass directly from middle age into old age. Perhaps overoptimistically, he sees great hope for baby boomers during an ¿Encore Stage¿ when they make a broad societal contribution after the typical retirement age. The extension of healthy, productive years after age 60, he explains, has created a new type of midlife crisis. Coping with these years requires a ¿big shift¿ in thinking from baby boomers and society, not to mention the sociology experts who study such movements. Freedman¿s reasoned, expert analysis of the encore stage leads getAbstract to recommend his insights to boomers who face the challenge of changing themselves and the world...again.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)