It Ain't Over . . . Till It's Over: Reinventing Your Life--and Realizing Your Dreams--Anytime, at Any Age

It Ain't Over . . . Till It's Over: Reinventing Your Life--and Realizing Your Dreams--Anytime, at Any Age

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by Marlo Thomas

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From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Right Words at the Right Time comes a one-of-a-kind collection of inspiring stories about ordinary women who have reinvented themselves in extraordinary ways.

We’ve heard it all before: “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”
“Where there’s a
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From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Right Words at the Right Time comes a one-of-a-kind collection of inspiring stories about ordinary women who have reinvented themselves in extraordinary ways.

We’ve heard it all before: “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”
“Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”
“When life hands you lemons, make lemonade.”

But anyone who has ever tried to make a big life change knows it can be a bit more complicated— and frightening—than that. How do you get up the nerve and confidence to actually take the leap? No one knows better than the women profiled in this powerful book by actress, activist, and bestselling author Marlo Thomas.

It Ain’t Over . . . Till It’s Over introduces us to sixty amazing women who are proving that it’s never too late to live out a dream—to launch a business, travel the world, get a PhD, indulge a creative impulse, make a family recipe famous, escape danger, find love, or fill a void in life with a challenging new experience. Meet a graphic artist who fulfilled a childhood ambition by going to med school at age forty-two; a suburban mom whose innovative snack recipe for her daughter’s lunchbox turned into a multimillion-dollar business; a private-practice psychiatrist who convinced her husband that they should quit their jobs and take off on an exciting, open-ended, cross-country adventure—in a giant bus, no less!; and a middle-aged English teacher who, devastated to discover that her husband was cheating on her, refused to be a victim, filed for divorce, and began the challenging journey of rebuilding her life.

Brimming with anecdotes that will inspire smiles, tears, and—most of all—hope, It Ain’t Over speaks to women of all ages with an empowering message: The best is yet to come!

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
From her eponymous web series for women, Thomas—actress, activist and author (Free to Be…You and Me)—handpicks 60 of her site's followers and weaves their true stories into a chatty magazine-style compilation about the joy of self-fulfillment. No hurdle is too daunting for this group of women, who Thomas defines as a part of the "Reinvention Generation," not even age—many of the women profiled are in their 60s and 70s. Thomas opens with five women who launched their own businesses, charting their successes in brief. Beyond their financial achievements lie personal goals: one follower from Panama City shrinks to a size 10 from a 32, and another finally found time to attend college at 54. This motivational compilation includes a tonic for every challenge with the seemingly ageless, Thomas leading by example. As one of her followers points out, Thomas has "been all the way up and all the way to the very bottom" yet she continues to soldier on, illustrating that the key to success is taking action. Certainly the level of accomplishment displayed by her fans is a testimony to the author's personal charisma, which is on full display here and will no doubt invite an even larger following. Photos. (Apr.)
Kelly Ripa
"Marlo Thomas has always been a personal inspiration to me, so it’s not surprising that she’s come forward with this fantastic new book to inspire other women as well. These are incredible stories, beautifully written, designed to encourage women who need the motivation to kickstart their lives and create a new chapter for themselves."
"Each story is a joy to read, but also an inspiration...Thomas has captured a marvelous way to jump-start dreams, at any age."
#1 New York Times bestselling author of Lean In - Sheryl Sandberg
"It Ain't Over is filled with stories of bold and brave women who won’t give up and won’t be held back. They seize their moment, and now their stories inspire us to seize ours. This book will help any woman believe more in herself and reach for any dream."
#1 New York Times bestselling author - Dr. Mehmet Oz
"The spirited stories in It Ain't Over prove that we are all defined by our resounding endurance. This amazing collection of women will inspire you, and Marlo will have you soaring at full speed once again."
Kirkus Reviews
Success stories from women who have taken their lives in new directions. Personal losses, empty nests, the deaths of loved ones, general dissatisfaction with the status quo—these are just a few of the reasons why the women featured by actor Thomas (Growing Up Laughing: My Story, 2011, etc.) chose to change their lives in their 40s, 50s and 60s. Many had successful careers that brought them a satisfying income but left them wondering, "what if this is all that there is to my life?" These women still had unfulfilled dreams and yearnings, but instead of choosing complacency, they pursued the emotionally and physically demanding route of something new, often succeeding beyond what they could have ever imagined. Most had no special knowledge of the new venture on which they were embarking, although work in corporate jobs did help with planning and networking. What they all shared was determination and a deep longing to explore ideas that they had always pushed to the back burner: A corporate job was exchanged for the ski slopes, a desire for healthy food for a child became a million-dollar business, and a knitting hobby became a gourmet yarn and coffee shop. Many ideas were born from the need for an item—e.g., a cellphone carryall, a day planner and a sippy-cup tether—or a desire to do something radically different, like wakeboarding, working as an actress or being a DJ. Other women wished to help others in need and had a strong desire to give back to the community at large. Straightforward and inspirational, the stories show the pluck and drive found in every woman and give older women the courage to believe in their dreams despite the odds. Mostly stimulating stories of women's achievements sure to generate new ideas; best read in doses.

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Read an Excerpt

It Ain’t Over . . . Till It’s Over

  • “Never face the facts; if you do you’ll never get up in the morning.” That’s one of my favorite sayings, and I truly believe it. The facts—polls, statistics, conventional wisdoms—can keep anyone from ever starting anything. Better to create your own facts.

    I meet so many women as I travel the country. And wherever I go, I listen to them talk about the dreams they left behind; or the ones they tried to achieve that went nowhere; or the ones they never even attempted. And more often than not, I hear the deep yearning in their voices as they talk about their search for a way to rekindle those dreams.

    And their fear is always the same: It’s too late, isn’t it?

    Well, now that I’ve lived a little, I know this to be true: It’s never too late. It ain’t over till it’s over.

    These women inspired me to launch my own website on AOL and the Huffington Post in 2010. I wanted to create a destination where women could gather together, tell their stories, share their passions, and encourage one another to create a new dream—or to go back and pick up an old one.

    After a few months online, I began to notice a common theme among the women who were sharing their stories: They were stuck. Some were stuck in dead-end jobs that made them feel lifeless inside. Others were new empty nesters—confronted, practically overnight, with a big, quiet house and a bigger, quieter future. Still others had experienced a life crisis—a divorce, a layoff, the death of a loved one—and had fallen into a stultifying funk.

    Most were aware that they were at a crucial crossroads, but they had no idea which way to turn.

    Some, however, had a positive response to this defining moment in their lives. To them, the giant wall that had sprung up in their path was not a barrier, but something to leap over.

    I was eager to shine a spotlight on these courageous women, so I created a weekly Web series called “It Ain’t Over Till It’s Over” in the hope that others who were similarly adrift would take inspiration from what these women had achieved.

    And they did. “It Ain’t Over” became an instant hit with readers, garnering millions of clicks every week. We had touched a nerve. And that nerve feels like the beginning of a new generation—the Reinvention Generation—populated by those who are not daunted by what they haven’t done, but, instead, are empowered by the idea that they can go for it now. They’ve discovered that it’s never too late to step up to the plate. And if life throws you a curveball, try to knock it out of the park.

    As much as I love the Web—its bustle, its ever-changing face—I wanted to chronicle this remarkable reinvention phenomenon as a book. That way, women could always have it handy—in their purses, on their night tables, propped up on the handlebars of their Lifecycles—and draw encouragement from it. And rather than revisit the women featured on my website, I wanted to comb the nation, interview women, speak with their families and friends, and bring back their stories.

    And that’s what you hold in your hands now—60 inspiring stories. Some of them feature women who built entire empires out of a single idea—like Veronica Bosgraaf of Holland, Michigan, who wanted to create healthier school lunches for her children, so she whipped up a recipe in her kitchen and called it the Pure Bar. Not only did her kids love it, everybody loved it; and today it is sold in stores across the country, earning Veronica millions.

    You’ll also meet women who found new ways to fulfill themselves after experiencing profound personal loss—like Jane Alderman of Washington, D.C., whose brother perished in the World Trade Center on 9/11. Devastated by his death, Jane chose to rechannel her grief into something meaningful, quitting her desk job, earning her MBA, and—with her parents—launching a global foundation to care for other victims of trauma.

    And some women simply rejected their own complacency about their lives and rebuilt themselves—physically and mentally.

    Like phone saleswoman Natasha Coleman, whose weight had reached a perilous 428 pounds; a humiliating incident aboard an airplane convinced her to address the problem at long last—and in the process save her own life.

    Or Trish B., a 53-year-old English teacher from Maryland, who one day discovered—during a routine trip to the mailbox—that her husband of many years had been chronically cheating on her. Trish was devastated at first, but refused to be a victim. “I knew I was stronger than that,” she recalls. And the story she tells—of her emotional torment and her ultimate survival—is both harrowing and inspiring.

    Or Diane Dennis, a twice-divorced mother of two, who, at age 50, felt “washed up, middle-aged, discarded. It was like I had an elephant sitting on my chest.” So she relocated her life to the banks of the placid Willamette River in Oregon, where she bought a home, took up the unlikely sport of wakeboarding, and learned to breathe again.

    Or California music teacher Layla Fanucci, who, confronted with a big, blank wall in her living room, fantasized about filling it with something bursting with color. Having secretly harbored a lifelong dream of being an artist, Layla decided she’d do it herself. “I had all of this inside of me, and it just poured out,” she recalls. Fifteen years—and hundreds of canvases—later, Layla’s paintings now sell for as much as $100,000 apiece.

    Although the women who appear in this book couldn’t be more different, what they have in common is that they all dared to dream again—and they all knew that no one had the power to make their dream come true but themselves.

    It’s in that spirit that I give you It Ain’t Over . . . Till It’s Over, a handbook for a new and ageless generation, starring the remarkable women who have proven that “impossible” is just something that hasn’t happened yet.

    As I read and reread these stories, it makes me think of something I was told a long time ago: If you want to predict the future, invent it.

    New York City

    Spring 2014

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  • Meet the Author

    Marlo Thomas graduated from the University of Southern California with a teaching degree. She is the author of six bestselling books: Free to Be…You and Me; Free to Be…a Family; The Right Words at the Right Time; The Right Words at the Right Time, Volume 2: Your Turn!; Thanks & Giving: All Year Long; and her memoir, Growing Up Laughing: My Story and the Story of Funny. Ms. Thomas has won four Emmy Awards, a Peabody Award, a Golden Globe, and a Grammy, and has been inducted into the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame for her work in television, including her starring role in the landmark series That Girl, which she also conceived and produced. She is the National Outreach Director for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, which was founded by her father, Danny Thomas, in 1962.

    In 2010, Ms. Thomas launched her website,, on The Huffington Post and AOL. She lives in New York with her husband, Phil Donahue.

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    It Ain't Over... Till It's Over: Reinventing Your Life--and Realizing Your Dreams--Any Time, at Any Age 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Brilliant, inspiring! Trying to give  a five star but won't go above 4??
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago