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The Art of Growing Old: Aging with Grace

3.52  ·  Rating Details ·  138 Ratings  ·  30 Reviews
A groundbreaking approach to aging from one of France's best- known clinical psychologists. How should we accept growing old? It's an inevitable progression and yet in Western society the very subject of aging is often taboo and shrouded in anxiety and shame. Not anymore, says Marie de Hennezel, an internationally renowned clinical psychologist and bestselling author. Now ...more
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published April 12th 2012 by Viking (first published January 1st 2008)
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This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
The huge problems associated with an ageing population in the rich countries is upon us already. For everybody, the financial implications are enormous. Attitudes to the elderly are largely negative in a culture preoccupied by youth, maintainance of youth and health, and the pervasive beliefs that becoming old brings nothing but misery, almost a loss of humanity. Provision for the elderly (in the UK) is patchy. Some families do ensure excellent levels of care and dignity, many do not. "Homes" ca ...more
Sep 20, 2011 Crawford rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had to start reading this book before finishing The Finckler Question when I left it and The Good Book in my Melbourne hotel room (they have been retrieved but yet to make the journey home). In hindsight, this characterizes the general premise of this book: as time passes life throws you curved ball (after curved ball, after curved ball, etc etc); respond with a sour attitude and misfortune follows misfortune, smile and the world smiles with you. So I lost the book I was reading, get over it, ...more
Dec 08, 2013 Josephine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I bought this book after hearing it featured on woman's hour on Radio 4. It deals with the difficult question of how to get old with dignity and grace in a society which places so little value on it's elderly and their care.

I found it both thought provoking and interesting although possibly somewhat idealistic in places. It does no harm to be reminded from time to time about the things in life which are of real value and there is nothing wrong with having something to aim at providing we don't g
I enjoyed reading this book about ageing, in that it gave me some perspective on the "elderly" people I know as well as some insight as to what I might need to focus on as I grow older. The author approaches this uncomfortable subject with honesty and grace, showing us what makes the difference between becoming an old person and aging. Despite the sometimes painful, lonely, and depressing possibilities involved as we approach the end of our lives, there are ways of looking at things, of understa ...more
Jul 27, 2012 Cassandra rated it liked it
An enlightened look at the inevitable process of aging and how to embrace it. As another reviewer stated: Very French.
Jul 11, 2012 Linda rated it really liked it
Very French. An absolutely lovely approach to aging. Looking forward to reading her previous book, "Intimate Death".
Jan 27, 2013 Annette rated it really liked it
This one you start to read and think, oh yea same 'ole ideas of getting old, but then -- it gives good ways to think about and accept aging and living while feeling the aging process.
Aug 25, 2012 Barbara rated it it was ok
I skimmed this book; it was a bit dry, but her thoughts on aging gracefully were interesting, and I was happy to find I'm doing everything she suggests already!
Aug 24, 2013 Vida rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have learned that ageing can be a wonderful, joyful experience, if we cultivate and maintain the youthfulness of our hearts. In a world where so much emphasis is placed on outward appearance, it was so refreshing to read about the inward work that can be done, to transform old age into meaningfulness. Takes the fear out of growing old, but still looks realistically at all the challenges. One of my favourite quotes: "When you have grown old, newness always comes from the inside."
Oct 07, 2012 Kathy rated it did not like it
Not quite true that I "read" it. I quit reading. I thought the premise was very interesting but the book just didn't deliver.
Dec 19, 2012 Carolyn rated it really liked it
Picked this book off the library shelf. I thought it was a thoughtful and compassionate discussion of growing old in Western society. The author is a fairly famous French psychologist who made the compassionate case for looking at the benefits of growing old and the realities of it, too. There is a chapter on sexuality/sensuality of old age which was beautifully written.
Pauline Evans
Dec 20, 2012 Pauline Evans rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A book I saw advertised in the Daily Mail and was captured by the title. As I am passed the half century mark I thought it would be good to read about how to embrace life at any age and how to stay happy and what it really means to grow old gracefully. Its a great message of happiness and wisdom for all ages and its a wonderful lesson that will inspire anyone who wants to age without becoming old . . . that's definitely me!!
Feb 24, 2013 Colin rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
There were some good insights in this, especially in the passages where it was real and down to earth (chapters on elderly care, for example) but at bottom it's a self-help book and the platitude-to-usefulness ratio was too high. Whole chapters were dedicated to the vacuous pronouncements of nuns and self-styled taoists. I'm glad it's over.
Dolores Gómez
Feb 23, 2013 Dolores Gómez rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book, it took me longer than expected just because its beautifully written and I wanted to enjoy the wording and the message. There are some hard parts but it has a very positive and hopeful outlook on aging. ...more
Emma rated it really liked it
Apr 05, 2013
Dec 14, 2013 Abcdarian rated it really liked it
I suspect the older the reader, the more they will get out of this book. Although it has some awkwardness due to being a translation, it presents an excellent message.
Aug 23, 2016 Andree rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Might need to read this again a few times - and hope to live long enough to really have chance to age without growing old. I didn't quite empathise with the examples yet, I still feel too young! It's full of wisdom, though I also think much of what she says might apply to any age. Inner beauty, wisdom and courage is much more important than our outward appearance.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jennifer rated it did not like it
Oct 16, 2014
Dec 28, 2014 Béatrice rated it really liked it
Recommended to Béatrice by: AM Gillet
Shelves: psychologie
"Vieillir sans être vieux" ou le vieillissement accepté, et les structures à inventer ou développer. Excellent
Feb 10, 2015 Shannon rated it really liked it
This book was surprisingly good. It had more than a few nuggets and cast quite a different perspective on the aging process and what it really means to age with grace.
Mary Hart
Mary Hart rated it it was ok
Sep 04, 2015
Oct 12, 2015 Kim rated it liked it
There is much in this book to recommend it--good reminders about the importance of approaching aging in a different, more positive way. There are some very encouraging examples that the author uses. I would have liked to have seen the book organized differently--as it was it seemed to be 100 pages of a string of anecdotes with some important information weaved in between. This is a book I'd recommend to anyone who holds to negative attitudes about aging to encourage a more positive outlooks, as ...more
Anita George
Oct 13, 2015 Anita George rated it it was ok
Very shallow with nothing new. By the time one gets to the age where one would pick up this title, you've already read a whole heap of self help books. Much of what is here is very familiar, and just cast in a new frame.
ms sheila a hoeman
ms sheila a hoeman rated it liked it
Jan 14, 2016
Jane King
This book was recommended to me by my sister otherwise I don't think I would have read it. But I am really glad that I did. There are aspects to it that I'm not sure about; assumptions made based on the opinions of a small number of people, a feeling that there are a lot of ageing people out there that she hasn't talked to, that maybe those she does include come from an educated elite whose view of growing old comes from a place of privilege. But having said that there is lots to think about in ...more
Kim Black
Kim Black rated it really liked it
May 27, 2016
Aug 24, 2016 Elsie87 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
"Our society forbids us to grow old, commanding us to remain young for as long as possible. This stupid prohibitation contrasts with another, much more interesting one: "It is forbidden to be old," says the Hassidic mystic Rabbi Nachman of Braslow. Grow older, but do not be old; that is to say, do not be bitter and despairing. Do not oppose reality, but do not prevent life from fulfilling its potential to bring forth new things, right up to your very last breath.

I am convinced that the twenty y
Sep 24, 2016 Sara rated it it was amazing
A book to pick up and read to understand the consciousness of aging and to embrace the spiritual growth which may occur. Not platitudes but truths to be lived.
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Marie Gaultier de la Ferrière dite Marie de Hennezel, est née le 5 août 1946 à Lyon, est une psychologue, psychothérapeute et auteur française. []

Marie de Hennezel may not be a household name in America, but in France she's a trailblazer. The therapist who helped the late French President Jacques Mitterand through the final stages of his cancer, she's been l
More about Marie de Hennezel...

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