You COULD Live a Long Time: Are You Ready? a video book review

In our western traditions we often overlook the value of elder’s wisdom.  You Could Live a Long Time: Are you Ready? by Lyndsay Green, is a wonderful, easily navigated book that shares elder’s wisdom in a very accessible way.  The author is a pioneering sociologist and researcher who has spent her career helping people use communication technologies for learning.

I thought I’d try reviewing this book with aid of a video. Got to try new things out, or is it join the crowd!  Video isn’t my usual book review format.  This is.  I added a few notes afterwards for quick reference.  If you can’t see the video, click here.

Video notes:

The author interviewed scores of elderly people (age 75 and over) from across Canada who seemed to have a handle on things (as best as one can).  Almost all of the people are just plain folks, who seemed to have hit on a formula that works.  This isn’t a book about celebs.

A central theme of the book is paradox.  Here’s some more examples of elder’s paradoxical insights:

  • On our emotional circle: if you have a life partner, you need to figure out whether s/he is a partner for life
  • On self: to keep your dignity you need to give up your pride
  • On civic engagement: by giving to others, you will receive
  • On work: to retire successfully, forget about retiring
  • On home: to keep a home, consider leaving your house
  • On body: to maintain what health you have, you need to admit when its failing
  • On brain: to continue to act smart, you need to accept that you are not as swift
  • On finances: leaving the party well means knowing what will happen after you’ve left
  • On legacy: if you remember your life, your life will be more memorable

Being comfortable with paradox is a collaborative communication skill of the highest order.  After all, in many ways we live in two worlds; one where we feel a modicum of control, the other rather uncertain or chaotic.  Appreciating paradox helps us bridge these two worlds.

Even if you’re not a boomer (the primary target audience of this book), anyone can benefit from the insights offered up.  We all enter Elderland one day!  And, in growing numbers

What other, highly accessible, books do you recommend that summarize elder insights on life?

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to my blog. Thanks, Ben.


  1. I really like this review, and it makes me think I should buy the book! Since my youth I’ve been convinced that “aging well” is an endeavor worth actively pursuing. Now, my experience now as a middle aged adult looking forward — and witnessing the striking contrast between those who do it well and those who do it poorly — convinces me even more strongly that it’s something each of us should do. (My belief in aging well as a pursuit is also the reason for, and drives my professional focus in, elder law and elder mediation.) I really love the paradoxes you have presented here in this written portion of the review. Also, I think your video looks very good and is a great idea! Unfortunately, even with the sound turned up all the way on my computer and on the YouTube console, I was unable to hear well. I think this is just a technical challenge that is easily overcome with better microphones (or speakers in my case?!) I hope to follow suit soon with some video too, but haven’t gotten up the courage, so bravo to you!

  2. Your review is certainly a lot more helpful than the only one posted on the Amazon web site:

  3. Ben Ziegler says

    Alexandria, Thanks so much for your comments, and connecting here. It’s interesting that you have thought about “aging well” since your youth. I wonder how that looks (aging well) at each stage of life? I, too am middle-aged (or more, not sure where 55 registers on the age scale) and feel an increasing pull to the elder mediation arena, in part through my personal experiences in mediation (mostly civil/commercial to-date), helping care for my parents (since passed on), and a belief that elders both deserve our respect, and have much to offer us (hence the book mention/review). Appreciate the video feedback. Its not the first time, I’ve wrestled with the sound on my flipMino video. Coincidentally, I just purchased a lapel mic this week. Hope to give it a go and up my sound quality before too long. All the best. Ben

Speak Your Mind