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Portfolio Life: The New Path to Work, Purpose, and Passion After 50 [NOOK Book]


We are not only living longer and healthier lives; those of us over 50 are tackling a life stage that did not exist twenty-five years ago—a new arena that could last three or four decades after our initial careers have ended.

In this groundbreaking book, David Corbett, a thought leader on life transitions for executives and professionals, offers a compelling alternative to traditional retirement. Portfolio ...

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Portfolio Life: The New Path to Work, Purpose, and Passion After 50

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We are not only living longer and healthier lives; those of us over 50 are tackling a life stage that did not exist twenty-five years ago—a new arena that could last three or four decades after our initial careers have ended.

In this groundbreaking book, David Corbett, a thought leader on life transitions for executives and professionals, offers a compelling alternative to traditional retirement. Portfolio Life shows how to adopt a new way of thinking and living in extended middle age. This period was once relegated to winding down, but now it holds the promise of our most significant and passionate years, a time when we can be ourselves and contribute. Corbett describes a "life portfolio"—a balanced mix of work, learning, leisure, family time, and giving back that individuals tailor to their personality and goals. Using compelling stories, the book shows how to allocate one's time and energy among competing needs and personal dreams. The author includes advice on discovering our callings, the entrepreneurial spirit, spirituality, the role of legacy, and more.

Corbett elaborates a disciplined, step-by-step process for creating a life portfolio. He explores long- and short-term portfolio planning, offering practical suggestions and exercises. He also shows how to deal with the emotional turbulence that is inevitable in this transition. Portfolio Life is a guide not to surviving but to flourishing after careers end. Corbett holds that a life portfolio touches on what is really worth living for—those goals and purposes we need to call to mind throughout life's journey.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
As the boomer generation's hair turns gray, it's not surprising to see retirement advice books like this one, which argues against conventional scenarios. As founder and CEO of New Directions, which coaches older workers on making the transition from working to life after a career, author Corbett points out that boomers' longer life expectancy and better health means that reprioritizing may be more rewarding than simply stopping working. In his first few chapters, Corbett discusses why the concept of retirement needs to be retired, then quickly moves to his central proposal. He encourages readers to focus on building a portfolio of skills, which allows them to shuffle their skills in the same way they would remix a financial portfolio, rather than follow a linear career trajectory. Instead of abandoning work altogether, people can refocus later in life on the preferred skills and meaningful pursuits that suit them best. This insightful and readable book provides not only a convincing argument for the portfolio concept but also concrete instructions on how to get started. If there's a drawback, it's that the subtitle dismisses younger readers who could benefit by putting this plan into action long before reaching age 50. (Nov.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
If 50 is the new 30, then retirement has become the term for new beginnings, according to the authors of these two different books. Corbett (founder, New Directions, Inc.) encourages people to consider what they want out of the time bonus available at midlife. He offers the paradigm of the "life portfolio," a collection of an individual's unique interests, values, passions, and experience that serves as a means of making the most of midlife and beyond. The integral components in optimizing one's portfolio include working in the form one wants, learning and developing oneself, making time for personal pursuits and recreation, enjoying family and friends, and giving back to society. Corbett uses research, case studies, and assessment tools to help readers consider new directions for their lives and plan accordingly. Best friends Klimo (Labor Pains) and Shutt come at the subject of midlife from another perspective. In a chatty, girlfriend-to-girlfriend style, they share their personal experiences and advise on staying healthy, exercising, and dealing with parents and siblings. They bemoan clingy kids and clueless husbands and suggest tactics for coping and thriving. While little of the information in this book is new, it's all consolidated here, with helpful sidebars suggesting pertinent books and web sites. The perky "girl talk" can get tiresome, however, and one imagines that the book's title could easily be Barbie and Midge Do Midlife. An optional purchase; Corbett's upbeat and thought-provoking book is recommended for most libraries. Stronger and more universal than either book is Ellen Freudenheim's Looking Forward: An Optimist's Guide to Retirement. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781118047101
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 1/13/2011
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 654,519
  • File size: 738 KB

Meet the Author

David Corbett is the founder of New Directions, Inc., on Boston's historic waterfront, which offers planning in career and post-career fulfillment to accomplished individuals. He speaks frequently on life transitions to audiences that include executive forums, business school groups, as well as legal, medical, and human resources professionals. Corbett is quoted often in national publications including The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. Visit his website at

Richard Higgins is a writer and book editor. A Harvard Divinity School graduate, he coauthored Taking Faith Seriously. A former Boston Globe writer, he also edited More Than Money Magazine.

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Table of Contents



1 Trailblazing.

2 A New Beginning.

3 New Realities.

4 Portfolio Life.

5 Steps Toward Portfolio.

6 Time to Give Back.

7 Closing the Gap.

8 Listen to Your Life.

9 Steps and Tools in Assessment.

10 The Portfolio Frame of Mind.

11 Five Paths to a New Mind-Set.

12 Anchors in a Sea of Change.

13 Planning for Success.

14 Moving into Portfolio.

15 Pockets of Turbulence.

16 The Goal Beyond.

Recommended Books.

Recommended Organizations and Web Sites.

Works Cited.


The Authors.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 10, 2010

    Well written, but more of an advertisement for consulting services to wealthy early retirees.

    The author seems to be targeting well compensated executives dealing with the existential issues of retirement. While the book was quite well written and tackled many of the transitional issues of moving into retirement years, it really didn't offer much for those of us who will be working thoughout our later years out of necessity.

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