Back in February we suggested five books that we believe could help readers on their journey towards a happy retirement. You’ve all read them by now, right? At the very least, I hope you’ve got them on your nightstand, making you feel guilty when you stream Netflix instead.
For those who consumed all the wisdom nuggets and are hungry for more, allow me to serve up the brilliant lessons I learned from sitting down with this next set of talented scribes. I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing these authors and learned so much. I hope you’re able to find a new book to add to your shelf.
1. The Power of Meaning: Crafting a Life That Matters
By Emily Esfahani Smith
There’s more to life than being happy.
As surprised as you might be to hear those words from me, Emily Esfahani Smith convinced me they are true. Between her international best-selling book and her extremely popular TED Talk, Emily argues that finding meaning in life is even more important than happiness.
In my quest of helping people retire, I come across many folks who have the finances figured out but need more post-career purpose. Emily helped provide more ways for retirees to find the answers.
Just like with retirement planning, it’s never too late to find your purpose. Read Emily’s book and put her wisdom into practice. Maybe you’ll discover belonging and gratitude in something as simple as your morning discussion with the barista, or who knows; perhaps you’ll win the Nobel Peace Prize for saving the world. The what is less important than the when. And the when is now!
Plot Summary: Emily offers advice about the tension between living a happy life and a meaningful life. The two aren’t always in opposition, but at times they can be. Emily has since made it her mission to show people how to perform worthwhile activities that make the world a better place and fulfill each of us deeply. She wants us all to examine and strengthen four pillars in our lives: belonging, purpose, transcendence, and storytelling.
2. What Will I Do All Day?: Wisdom to Get You Over Retirement and On With Living!
By Patrice Jenkins
Plot Summary: Your dreams shouldn’t have an expiration date, even in retirement. Patrice Jenkins, Ph.D., is an organizational psychologist, retirement speaker, and Founder of Day One Dreams. Patrice explained how it’s not too late to go after your dreams but implores you to start today. Next, she laid out the intricacies of success stories and some other juicy details from her book. She believes that two components lead to a thriving life and that there’s a common thread between doing so at work and in retirement. Finally, she gave her take on where to find the intrinsic motivation for reaching your dreams.
Ever the thoughtful sage, Patrice’s teachings offer up a one-two punch of willingness to adapt to daily retirement and planning for it in advance. She said there are new roles to learn and explained what retirement means to her.
3. Why I Find You Irritating: Navigating Generational Friction at Work
By Chris De Santis
Every generation thinks they’ve got it all figured out. The same kids who rebelled against their parents by listening to the “sinful” rock and roll of The Beatles later became moms and dads pleading with their offspring to “turn down that noise.”
How can we all find our way to enjoying the benefits of variety and compromise?
Chris De Santis helped me find the answer. He’s spent thirty years as an organizational behavior speaker, facilitator, and consultant. He has worked with some of the world’s largest companies to improve their productivity, performance, and overall workplace harmony.
This former Director of Training and Development for the American Medical Association broke down each of the following generations: Traditionalists (Born 1922-1943), Boomers (Born 1944-1964), Gen X (Born 1965-1981), Millennials (Born 1982-1996), Gen Z (Born 1996-2012), and Gen Alpha (Born 2012-today).
Plot Summary: As the title of his book would suggest, Chris isn’t shy about people being irritating. When a coworker in the adjacent cubicle has different behaviors and norms, we often avoid interaction. The more productive reaction, he noted, is to try to understand where each person is coming from. He believes we use preconceived judgments to see our younger coworkers as who we were at that age, not who they are now.
Chris asserted that the more we see each other as valuable parts of each other’s success or failure, the more we realize that by helping others, we help ourselves.
Chris feels that the key to the success of any society is more people in the middle. This sentiment fits with so much of my research on happy retirees. The happiest ones are absolute masters of the middle. Having too much or too little can wreak havoc. On the other hand, having just enough provides a glide path toward contentment.
4. The Way of Wanderlust: The Best Travel Writing of Don George
By Don George
Plot Summary: Taking an occasional trip is good for the soul, but have you ever thought about what a life full of traveling experiences could do? Legendary travel writer Don George shared what it’s like to create unforgettable memories.
He revealed when he caught the travel bug and got into travel writing, along with the piece that changed his career for the better. He also shared some of his experiences, including an astonishing Mount Kilimanjaro story and how he considers traveling a religion. In addition, he divulged details from his book, listed his favorite travel destinations, and discussed how his dad retired early to travel.
5. We Need to Talk: How to Have Conversations That Matter
By Celeste Headlee
Plot Summary: As human beings, communication is our superpower. Conversationation can lead to stress relief, the absorption of new information, and personal connection. Celeste Headlee, internationally recognized journalist and radio host, professional speaker, and author, shared ways to stop hiding behind emails, text messages, data, and statistics to start having more impactful conversations with one another.
Celeste explained how our brains could not do two impactful things at once, how conversations can turn negative, and why we should stop pontification during our interactions. She feels that each of us living our best life is the most powerful way to influence someone else. She also gave examples of how we can work on our listening skills, including why follow-up questions are helpful but saying “I know how you feel” to a loved one in need of listening is not.
It was an honor for me to speak with each of these authors. Gleaning their knowledge is one of the perks of my role as host of the Retire Sooner podcast. They’ve provided guidance for a happy retirement, and I encourage you to take full advantage. The perfect retirement is out there. Go grab it!
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