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From the Publisher

This book is a series of interviews of various people over 65 years of age. The participants are individuals from diverse personal and professional backgrounds that have made significant contributions in their respective fields, and, most notably, are still working.

The personalities involved with this project have proven to be tireless professionals who apparently defy the chronological aging myth in terms of work, productivity and creativity. My question was, "why have these individuals continued to contribute so long and so well while others have not?" This book, explores viewpoints of many different backgrounds, and from many different perspectives in an attempt to answer that question.

Reading about these individual experiences has proven to be stimulating, thought provoking, and quite possibly prototypical for present and future generations. My motivation in pursuing this project was fostered by the awareness that our population is represented by an increasing number of older Americans. I felt that we, as a nation, had to redefine and set new parameters as to what getting older really means in America. Yet, after compiling the interviews, I found what these people had to say was relevant to all ages.

Aging is universal and so far as we know it, it is not irreversible. It is a phenomenon every human being has to come to terms with: no one escapes. In reviewing the literature I found that successful aging is by no means an accident. It requires the development of lifelong habits of body and mind. The individuals I chose in my study were people who lead by example, many expressed that they were blessed by having ancestors with good genes.

The basic questions each participant was asked is as follows:

With all you have done and accomplished why do you keep on working?
•What was in your upbringing that fostered productivity and/or creativity?
•Who were your mentor(s)?
•Is there a personal payoff for you to continue working?
•Was there a life experience(s) that affected your attitude toward life, and/or getting older?
•Has any of life's misfortunes effected your life view?
•What philosophical base do you operate from? Be it, literature, religion, psychology, philosophy, an individual, or other?
•Have you had the experience that someone (institution) thought you were less capable physically or intellectually, and how did you handle it?
•How is life different for you now as you look back?
•What advice can you give in respect to the natural phenomenon of age and work?
•Do you have any short or long-term goals? What are they, explain?
•Why do you think some people age well and others do not?
•When you're focusing on yourself, what special talent, characteristic or trait do you feel you have, and are proud of, and how has that worked for you all these years?
•While I was interviewing you, was there a question you wished I would have asked, and how would you have answered it?

The responses I received were as varied as the personalities involved. Yet, whether the information acquired through this process was curt or expansive, introspective or academic, laboriously detailed, or entertainingly anecdotal what evolved were a series of personal monographs; individual documents, as varied in expression as their authors, each testifying to the potentials and misconceptions of aging in America.

Securing well known people for interviews was relatively easy. However, it took some time and planning. There were some individuals who were just too busy with their endeavors to allow for an interview. Those who would have liked to have been interviewed, but had other pressing commitments were: Angela Lansbury, Dr. Jonas Salk, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Former Secretary of State George Schultz, Cab Calloway, Victor Borge, Dizzy Gillespie, Isaac Stern, Milton Freidman, Dr. Armand Hammer, Walter Haas, and I. M. Pei.

Published: Marshall Stearn on
ISBN: 9780961048044
List price: $3.99
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