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Life Reimagined: The Science, Art, and Opportunity of Midlife

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  1,169 ratings  ·  184 reviews
A dynamic and inspiring exploration of the new science that is redrawing the future for people in their forties, fifties, and sixties for the better—and for good.

There’s no such thing as an inevitable midlife crisis, Barbara Bradley Hagerty writes in this provocative, hopeful book. It’s a myth, an illusion. New scientific research explodes the fable that midlife is a time
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Hardcover, 464 pages
Published March 15th 2016 by Riverhead Books
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3.87  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,169 ratings  ·  184 reviews


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Tonya
Apr 14, 2016 rated it liked it
Ok - I found large portions of this book to be tedious and unnecessary. I'd have cut 150+ pages out of it. I particularly found the author's "path" through mid-life to be a bit much. The set up is that each chapter discusses one mid-life issue and then the author (at least partially) looks at how she dealt with/deals with that issue. Let me be clear: I could not find one fuck to give about Ms. Hagerty's intense angst and physical set backs while she trained for the 'senior olympics' bike race (s ...more
Kater Cheek
Sep 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
I would have put three stars, because I only "liked" this book, but I had to give a bonus to something so meticulously researched and deftly told. Then again, what else would you expect from an NPR reporter except exceptional journalism?

Hagerty is in her fifties, and has a lifelong dedication to education, intellectual development, and accomplishment. She combines research about what happens to the brain and body at middle age with personal stories collected from listeners who responded on her f
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Shirley Showalter
Aug 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book will be my go-to text for social science research on aging. I'm an educator interested in how vocation continues into the third act of life. I'm also a writer used to studying my own life through the texts of other lives, so I appreciated the memoir embedded in this book.

The story begins with the author's mid-life health scare that coincided with the death of her father. Nothing like death to make real the subject of aging! As readers continue, we go on a journey with the author throug
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Jay
Sep 22, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
I’ve been reading quite a few of these midlife crises books, more to figure out where mine disappeared to, and I find this is, well, another one. This “Life Reimagined” was quite well written and had interesting research described, but meandered around the topic and drilled down into quite a lot of indulgent personal story writing about the author, her job, and her families’ doings. Did you know the author was an NPR reporter? You will by the time you finish – she repeats this dozens of times so ...more
Stacey Marien
Apr 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: aging
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Hagerty is an engaging writer and I was eager to keep reading to find out what would happen with her various stories. This is an optimistic book about entering midlife and reaffirms some things that I personally have started to do - planning the activities I will do in my encore career.
Gail
Jul 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Barbara Bradley Hagerty defines being middle-aged as being between the ages of 40-65. Falling somewhere in between those parameters, I was intrigued to find out more about what she means by midlife renewal as opposed to the ubiquitous term “midlife crisis”.

Delving into the well-categorized chapters on learning new things, importance of friendships, marriage, memory loss, finding a purpose in life, altruism, and second careers, I bookmarked so many pages that I might do better just re-reading it!
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Gloria
Apr 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Life Reimagined provides an in-depth examination of the quality of life in one's 40s, 50s, and 60s. How people find meaning, create resilience, reignite a stale marriage, and so much more is covered in both a scientific manner and with personal anecdotes.

The author is a reporter for NPR and formerly for the Christian Science Monitor and thus brings her skills as a journalist to this topic. Her typical approach to a topic is to tell a short story of her own life and then broaden it out to how the
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Brianna Klein
Jul 05, 2017 rated it did not like it
Unfortunately, this book just didn't do it for me. I feel like it had a lot of potential but I think this book would be better off being broken down by its chapters and being featured a monthly article in some women's magazine. Its very pop-esque (which isn't always a bad thing), but the book is inundated with the author's opinion and how it relates to her mid-life crisis which was kind of why she wrote it in the first place. The author's voice is very lackadaisical with a fact/study thrown in h ...more
Raymond Yee
Jan 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
As I am about to finish my first year of my fifties -- what I think of as mid-mid-life, I warmed to the voice and story-telling of Barbara Hagerty's audiobook. I plan to go back to the print version of the book to mine it for specific applications, sure that there was wisdom to glean from someone who is roughly ten years further ahead in her journey. (The afterword, which is 16 suggestions for midlife, is a a nice list to print out and place on my fridge. Each point will also serve to remind me ...more
Happyreader
Oct 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mind-altering
Reads like a good conversation with a friend who wants to set your mind at ease about getting older. Appropriate for a book that emphasizes the importance of friendships and other connections as we age. Nothing new but always good for a reminder – to try something new, stay engaged, develop emotional resilience, recognize and appreciate the gifts of experience and perspective and share what we have with others. As she says, our role in our second half is not to build up for ourselves (family, ca ...more
Lynn
Jun 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I really loved this book and have been recommending it to everyone!
One of my favorite aspects of this book is how she blends her personal life/story in with research and stories of others.
I found this book very inspiring because as I age, I sometimes feel down about how "the best is behind me," but according to her research, that isn't true.
She covers happiness and research on many aspects of life such as work, relationships, marriage, starting over, etc. I like how she moves back and forth. Sh
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Katie
Jul 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Some strange winds propelled me to pick this book up at the library. In three weeks my oldest goes to college, my other two right behind him. I just turned 50. My summer has no work, few obligations. I am relaxed, having fun. I have been completely obsessed and tormented about my next chapter. Then Hagerty explains, "...you are almost invariably better off making the harder choice." Meaning, find purpose and engage. Yup. And she concludes, "Yes, it's hard. Yes, it's worth it."

This is science-ba
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LauraEllen
Jun 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed her distillations of the science and the extensive notes to the research. I was with her til the end, rooting for her (rooting for me?) Ending weak - Obama reference seems trite. Probably less to do with Barbara’s writing than the current political landscape.
“Every idea in this book runs against our natural tendency to want to relax, take it easy, reward ourselves for decades of work and child rearing.” ~ p. 356
Paige
Mar 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
I planned to skim this book and just take a few pearls of wisdom from it, but I wound up enjoying it so much that I wanted to read it cover to cover. I really liked the way that the extensive research about midlife (which I found fascinating) is interwoven with personal stories throughout.
Jenny
Dec 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Excellent book, all the stuff I've been thinking about. Was a bit worried that her faith would get in the way of my enjoyment of this book, but it turned out to be fine. Here's what I want to remember about this book:

How to change catastrophic thinking:
1. describe the event
2. capture the worst case scenario
3. generate the best case scenario
4. identify the most likely outcome
5. develop a plan

Check out the University of Pennsylvania's Authentic Happiness website for top 5 strengths.

Every idea in t
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Sarah
Feb 23, 2017 rated it liked it
I'd like to read this again next decade...
Tommy
Mar 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This was truly the right book at the right time, saying all the right things. Hagerty has thought (and researched) thoroughly about midlife, approaching it from the emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual aspects. From our sudden overly-fueled desire to volunteer to the frustrating occasional lapse in our synapses, she speaks to the many challenges faced by those who fall in that grey and often dissatisfying demographic of 40-ish to 60-ish. If you find you're longing for meaning, change, stab ...more
Lynne Spreen
Sep 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: midlife
Barbara Bradley Haggerty, a journalist at National Public Radio, caught my attention with this passage in the start of her book: when she was in her fifties, she sensed a growing disconnect “between my thirty-something self-image and my fifty-something reality…I admitted there were moments, more and more frequent, when I seemed to be pushing a wheelbarrow full of dense, unfulfilled ambition up a steep gravel path. It was exhausting, but I didn’t know any other way to live.” After a health emerge ...more
Zuly
May 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I expected this book to be about retirement when it actually centers on middle-age, the forties to fifties when people are thinking about disrupting their auto-pilot lives. It still applied to me, newly retired, and it applies to all ages seeking change and meaning. The 2 chapters on marriage cut to the quick of science supported truths about common core values necessary to make it not just work but carry meaning--and it's not religion, money, and power or the like. Everything in these chapters ...more
El
Sep 20, 2016 rated it liked it
If I could edit out the author, this book would be much more powerful to me. Instead, it falls much more in the memoir category, less in the social science category. So, sure, if one could somehow edit out the oft-repeated "baby boomer," "NPR" and the author's class blindness (wherein she goes to a casino! during the weekday! and is! Surprised! by its patrons!) then the science behind this book would shine bright and loud and universal.

Sigh. This is a pity, because there is a lot of great scien
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Kevin
Apr 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is the rare book I think I might have to read again. There's so much interesting and useful information here. BBH is an intelligent and engaging writer who uses her NPR-honed storytelling skills to deliver an essential book about that amorphous phase we call midlife. She weaves together case studies, research, and her own personal experience and makes it all relevant and compelling to the reader. I can't tell you how many times I read passages out loud to my wife. Always a sign that a book ...more
Alison
Mar 14, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Much food for thought here and great timing (I discovered it the day I quit my job). I agree with other reviewers -- some editing would have been helpful and some of what was in the footnotes could have been included in main text. Also, the time shifts were confusing (perhaps because I read this on Kindle). And the author kind of leaves us hanging. She took the NPR buyout and decided she really likes writing books, but what happens when this book tour is over?
Liz marx
Jun 20, 2016 rated it liked it
Gave the usual information:
Exercise
Learn something new
Have friends/good social network
To keep your marriage fresh do novel
Exciting things together
Have a purpose in life/be of service
You can remember things focus and learn a few memory tricks
Learn to be resilient
Gratitude
Andi
Jul 08, 2016 rated it liked it
Find a passion; express the core of who you are;
Stay engaged in the world; find meaning/a purpose in life; invest outward;
Mark moments;
Adventure/seek novelty;
Set goals (provides structure);
Push/challenge yourself;
Your thinking is your experience;
Happiness is love
Irene
Apr 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
Thought-provoking and accessible. Recommend this for anyone with a bit of age on them, who wants to reevaluate their current life direction.
Melanie Springer Mock
May 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
Such a good book! Thought-provoking, interesting, and accessible: I appreciate learning more about who I am at middle age, and am inspired to be a better version of myself in my life's second phase.
Heather
Apr 14, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2016
3.5 stars. I liked it, especially because my good friend Tonya gave it to me.
John
Aug 29, 2016 rated it liked it
Enjoyed -- but it took me all summer to get through it
Linda Hartlaub
Mar 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Former NPR reporter, Barbara Bradley Hagerty, has written a fascinating book about midlife and how our bodies and mind change and how we can alter our own reality.

Whether it's Alzheimer's, cancer, arthritis or other factors that come with aging, this book can be a springboard in overcoming the ills that plague us. She addresses items like midlife crises, training our brains to overcome poor memory, friendships, midlife marriage, our purpose in life, work and career, and giving of ourselves to c
...more
Edy
May 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
The NPR correspondent, now turned long prose writer, has a very engaging and accessible voice. As I approach middle aged with some trepidation, Hagerty provides me with comfort in the form of scientific research that life is only going to get better as I age. The author provides countless instructions and guides as to how to maintain brain health, physical longevity, and spiritual sustenance so that the next 40 years are not only comfortable— but productive and fulfilling as well. I recommend th ...more
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“Choose where to invest your energy, and do so intentionally, because the clearest path to a robust midlife is purposeful engagement.” 3 likes
“Lonely people were not faking their symptoms. Their own bodies were reacting to loneliness at a cellular level, trying to nudge them to make friends and get back into the warm, safe center of the herd.” 1 likes
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