Second Acts is a guide to reinventing your life. Whether you wish to change careers, move to a more desirable part of the country, start a business, write a novel, or drop everything to pursue a life dream, Stephen Pollan offers a powerful message ofhope and guidance that has benefited his own clients.

Through a series of exercises, you will develop a comprehensive "script" for your second act—a step-by-step action plan that will lead you to ...

See more details below
Second Acts

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • 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 for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
BN.com price


Second Acts is a guide to reinventing your life. Whether you wish to change careers, move to a more desirable part of the country, start a business, write a novel, or drop everything to pursue a life dream, Stephen Pollan offers a powerful message ofhope and guidance that has benefited his own clients.

Through a series of exercises, you will develop a comprehensive "script" for your second act—a step-by-step action plan that will lead you to the life you've always wanted.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
F. Scott Fitzgerald asserted famously that there are no second acts in American lives, but the Great Gatsby author never met Stephen Pollan. Pollan, a life coach and financial guru, has built his career on encouraging people to take daring, life-changing leaps. In Second Acts, the author of Lifescripts and Die Broke shows how pursuing a life dream can be more plausible and more rewarding than you think. Aiming his advice at would-be career changers of every age, he uses real-life examples to show that even great American novelists can be wrong.
Susan RoAne
SECOND ACTS captures the changed career paths many of us will have; and shares the strategies needed to do it.
author of How to Work a Room
Ken Blanchard
Making your life significant during the Second Act can really make a difference for you and the lives of others.
coauthor, The One Minute Manager
Joan Lunden
Your life need not be the same. You can have a second act, Pollan shows you how.
Michael J. Fox
Pollan's encouragement helped me convert my own fear and uncertainty into optimism and enthusiasm for continued personal growth.
Christopher Reeve
Second Acts teaches how to achieve what others think or say is impossible.
Keith Harrell
For anyone looking for motivation, encouragement and help in creating dynamic life changes, this book is a must read.
Life Coach/Author of Attitude is Everything
Al Roker
Stephen Pollan and Mark Levine show us that it's never too late to stage a heckuva comeback!
David Nivin
Equal parts inspiration and explanation, Second Acts is a road map for the journey to a better life.
author of The 100 Simple Secrets of Happy People
Publishers Weekly
After spending decades on Wall Street, Pollan, at age 48, became ill and was forced to re-create his professional life. Now he's working as an author (of more than a dozen financial and self-help books) and life coach, helping others to follow their dreams and stage their lives' "second act." In this volume, Pollan and Levine offer tales of individuals of all ages who realized that something was missing from their professional or personal lives and decided to make major changes. Referring back to those real stories, the authors provide a guide to understanding dreams, translating dreams to life goals and overcoming the obstacles to making those goals into realities. Pollan believes that for some, it's enough to rediscover the joys inherent in a current career; for others, it means more drastic decisions. Peppered with inspirational accounts of "famous second acts" (including J.K. Rowling, Hillary Rodham Clinton, George Foreman and former junk bond king Michael Milken), this book offers useful exercises and helpful advice about changes that range from tweaks to overhauls. (Jan.) Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061753725
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/13/2009
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 556,324
  • File size: 424 KB

Meet the Author

Stephen M Pollan is a New York City-based attorney, financial advisor, and life coach.

Mark Levine has been Stephen Pollan's collaborator for more than eighteen years. Together they have authored numerous books, including the national bestsellers Lifescripts, Live Rich, and Die Broke, and most recently, Second Acts. They have been nominated for three National Magazine Awards.

Read More Show Less

First Chapter

Fitzgerald was wrong. You can have a Second Act. You can lead the life you've always wished no matter your age or stage in life.

The dream you think has become impossible with advancing age, new obligations, or increased responsibility can be made real. The hope you've been deferring until a time when the stars are in perfect alignment can be fulfilled today. The goal you think out of reach because you've traveled an alternate path is still within your grasp.

You can give up your job as a stockbroker and pursue your youthful dream of becoming a professional photographer.

You can jump off the fast track and have a child, even though you're not married and have no intention of marrying.

You can pack up your family and move from the suburbs to the country, giving up your harried lifestyle for a more idyllic one.

You can leave a deadening retirement behind and go back to college to study art history.

You can give up having a business career and instead stay home to care for your children.

You can launch a business now, despite not having paid the dues the pundits demand.

You have an opportunity, not just to reinvent yourself, but to become your true self; to give expression to your suppressed hopes and dreams; to take the seed you've kept dormant in the dark within you, expose it to warmth and light, and let it burst forth into life.

Almost all of us have buried personal hopes and dreams. In order to please our parents, our friends, our spouses, our teachers, and our employers, we've molded our lives into what we think the outside world wants us to be.

To win and keep our parents' love, we've acted in certain ways and followed certain paths. We've become lawyers because they wanted us to be professionals. We married and had children because they wanted us to give them grandchildren. We lived a certain lifestyle, or lived in a certain place, because we knew it would gain their approval.

To become accepted, first by our friends, and then society at large, we have adopted certain attitudes and behaviors. Children work hard to fit into their peer group, adopting informal uniforms and language and habits that mark them as part of the pack. We never really left that desire to fit in behind as we grew older. We measured ourselves against our friends and peers. A teenager in the suburbs needs a car. A single twenty-something male in the city needs a thin girlfriend. A married thirty-something woman needs a baby. A senior needs successful grandchildren.

We've allowed the outside world to draw up schedules and checklists for us against which we judge our own worth. Haven't gotten married by thirty-five? Hopeless. Not earning $100,000 by forty? Loser. Haven't retired early and moved to the sunbelt? Failure.

Comparing ourselves to these external standards often brings misery and self hatred: Either we despise ourselves for not measuring up, or we despise ourselves for not being true to our own selves.

Good news. There's never been a better time to revolt against external standards and to be true to yourself. We're living in a transitionary time. Society, culture, and the economy are all shifting from the values of the past to new values, not yet fully formed. In this interregnum the old rules have lost most of their power, and new, potentially oppressive external standards haven't yet taken hold. As British Prime Minister Tony Blair has said of our time: "This is a moment to seize. The kaleidoscope has been shaken. The pieces are all in flux. Soon they will settle again. Before they do so, let us reorder this world around us." An opportunity like this doesn't come along in every lifetime. It comes, at most, once a century. We're lucky enough to be alive at this moment when anything is possible, at the moment perfect for Second Acts.

We're also lucky enough to be living in the United States of America. At the risk of sounding jingoistic, America is the land of Second Acts. Throughout our history people have come to these shores for just that purpose. Whether they were fleeing persecution, famine, war, genocide, oppression, or poverty, people from every corner of the world have come to America to reinvent themselves. The streets may not be paved with gold, but this is the land of milk and honey and opportunity. In America, you are not limited by your race, religion, color, gender, size, strength, appearance, language, or sexual orientation. Your only limits are self imposed.

You can have a Second Act. It doesn't matter if you're widowed, seventy years old and living on a fixed income. It doesn't matter if you've two kids in college and thousands of dollars in credit card debt. It doesn't matter if you're a workaholic professional, or a unemployed manager, or a burned out stockbroker, or a harried stay-at-home mom. I have helped all these people launch Second Acts. I can help you too.

Looking to live out a creative dream? We've been socialized to believe creative endeavors must come from the young and struggling. Youthful artistic success gains far more attention than mature work. The dark and dingy loft is thought to be the only place from which inspiration can spring. Yet for every Rimbaud bursting onto and off the scene like a comet, there's a Wallace Stevens. For every Basquiat, there's a Grandma Moses. And, for every Kerouac typing wildly in a railroad flat, there's a Pynchon living comfortably in suburbia. The notion that the youth culture is the only artistic culture is nonsense. Inspiration can be drawn from every stage in life and from every economic circumstance.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

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

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


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


  • - 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 all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2003

    Insights and Inspiration

    Pollan's own story of how he launched his 'second act" would be enough to get you thinking how you might redefine your life and live your dreams. But he and Levine have put together a volume with much more: practical advice on how you can resurrect and realize your real goals, with inspiring examples of people who have done just that. Well written, easily grasped, brimming with practical advice and helpful exercises. Highly recommended for anyone who wants a more meaningful life, but needs some guidance on how to make it happen.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2003

    REAL Advice for REAL People to Change Their Lives

    If you've ever thought "I can't pursue my dreams because I'm too fill-in-the-blank", this book will show you that you can! Unlike Po Bronson's "What Do You Want to Do?", which is nothing more than an overpriced exercise in navel gazing, SECOND ACTS will help you distill your dreams and turn them into reality. This ain't pie in the sky stuff; Pollan and Levine give solid, concrete, easy to understand advice. Especially enjoyable are the stories of famous people who have had "second acts." They're very inspiring. I would recommend this book to anyone.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2003

    Second Acts Gets A Standing Ovation

    The team of Pollan and Levine again come up with an easy to read, easy to apply guide to life and how to live it. "Second Acts" can give you the motivation and courage to find out what your own second act could and should be.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2003

    Follow the Rainbow and Carry this Guide

    If you have always had a dream but did not know how to make it real, this is the book for you. SECOND ACTS is as practical as it is inspiring, as eloquent as it is down-to-earth, and as warm as it is wise.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 14, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews

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