In our culture, “anti-aging” is plastered all over everything, making it easy to forget a fundamental truth: Aging is a privilege for those lucky enough to keep living, loving, and thriving. Aging offers hope of continuing to live well — perhaps even living better than before. As you look toward the future decades of your life, you may reflect on where you’ve been, where you’re going, and what it all means. These books on aging can help you contemplate your values and embrace a life of joy and well-being.
Here are our top picks for books on aging:
The Blue Zones, Dan Buettner
If you want to do something well, consult the people who have already succeeded. That’s the premise of The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who've Lived the Longest, which draws wisdom about longevity from those who have lived the longest. This book looks at regions where more people live to 100, then considers what those cultures do differently. Ultimately, it concludes that a healthy lifestyle matters, but so too does a life deeply rooted in community and a sense of purpose. WesleyLife’s WellAhead Core4 elements of “move naturally,” “maintain the right outlook,” “eat wisely,” and “be connected” were inspired by the Blue Zones discussed in this book.
How to Grow Old, Cicero
People have contemplated what it means to grow old for as long as human beings have considered their place in the world and the potential of an afterlife. Written by Cicero in 44 BCE and translated for a modern audience by Philip Freeman, How to Grow Old: Ancient Wisdom for the Second Half of Life is surprisingly timely, featuring insights into maintaining vitality, health, and intellect as you age. You may find it comforting that millions before you have contemplated these issues and that some of the world’s greatest minds have sought comfort in Cicero’s simple guide.
From Strength to Strength, Arthur C. Brooks
Why are you here? It’s a question you may have asked yourself dozens of times throughout your life. The answer changes as you do. In midlife, your purpose might have centered around raising the next generation or building a meaningful career. So what comes next? From Strength to Strength: Finding Success, Happiness, and Deep Purpose in the Second Half of Life helps you make the most of every season of life and reminds you that there is always time for new beginnings and first times.
The Gift of Years, Joan Chittister
As you grow older, you may be grateful for your health, family, and life. You may also struggle with regret or worry about whether you have spent your time on Earth well. You may feel pressure to make the most of your years. However, stress won’t help you make the most of your life. The Gift of Years: Growing Older Gracefully frames age as a privilege and gift, eases the regrets you might feel, and helps you look fearlessly into the future, no matter what it might hold.
The Longevity Paradox, Steven R. Gundry, MD
It’s the goal of every self-proclaimed fountain of youth: Live a long life, become very old, but still appear and feel young. The Longevity Paradox: How to Die Young at a Ripe Old Age takes this promise seriously, offering practical solutions for maximizing health as you age. Better health means more energy and potentially more time to do what you love. This guide makes better health feel like a realistic goal at any age.
How to Do Nothing, Jenny Odell
What’s on your bucket list? How many places have you visited? How much volunteering have you done? Did you make the most of your career? If these questions make you feel anxious rather than inspired, this book is for you. How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy emphasizes that work and productivity are not the sole goals of life, and that statistics on earnings and hours spent laboring are not measures of a life well-lived. If you’re hoping to slow down, find more meaning, and enjoy all the simple beauty around you, this book can help.
Being Mortal, Atul Gawande
What matters most in the end? It’s a question that terrifies many people. None of us can remember anything other than being alive, so contemplating our own deaths feels impossible. Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End challenges readers to consider what a good death is and why it matters. Atul Gawande, a doctor who has worked with the dying, emphasizes that living as long as possible is often not the most important goal. Instead, a more humane approach may involve comfort, family, and calm at the end.
WesleyLife’s Communities for Healthy Living are committed to revolutionizing the experience of aging by building vibrant communities people love to call home. We draw on our years of expertise helping thousands of seniors in this guide to living your best life in your sixth decade and beyond.