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This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  607 ratings  ·  151 reviews
From childhood on, we're barraged by messages that it's sad to be old. That wrinkles are embarrassing, and old people useless. Author and activist Ashton Applewhite believed them too until she realized where this prejudice comes from and the damage it does. Lively, funny, and deeply researched, This Chair Rocks traces Applewhite's journey from apprehensive boomer to pro-ag ...more
Paperback, Perfect Paperback, 288 pages
Published March 15th 2016 by Networked Books, Inc.
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Will Byrnes
I have had a life. I married twice, was in the room when two of my three entered the world. I helped them grow through infancy and childhood into beautiful, talented, bright and loving adults. I have lost both parents and a sister, and in-laws as well.

There are two kinds of people in the world, those who are older and those would like to be. Ashton Applewhite’s book, This Chair Rocks, shines a bright light on a labeling system that affects everyone on earth. Whether we are called addled, senior
May 22, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: social-theory
I liked this book much more than I was expecting to. The title is cute, but I had no idea of the gender of the author when I started reading it, Ashton not being a name I’d seen before as a first name, an not one that screams ‘girl’ to me. Actually, it sort of screamed boy, to be honest, so there was a point during this where I did that doubletake thing you do when you realise George Eliot or Miles Franklin or Henry Handel Richardson aren’t quite what you guessed from the label on the box.

I thin
Aug 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
A refreshing way to look at growing older and at the ageist biases in our country. I was forced to confront some of my own, unknown until now, ageist beliefs and I think of myself as an older person who is somewhat enlightened.

Applewhite presents a beautiful case for celebrating growing older (as my mother always said, think of the alternative) and questions the ideas many of us have about it. Medical care for older people is not, as I thought, a big percentage of our country's medical expendit
I had extremely high hopes for Ashton Applewhite's "This Chair Rocks." I try to remain up to speed on how to fight oppression in general, but ageism is definitely something I could stand to learn more about. As a 36 year old, I am able to escape (for now) a lot of the ageism that older and younger people face. Thus, I want to know what part I can play in combating ageism. The book did not completely fail in giving me some ideas and teaching me to think differently here or there, but overall an e ...more
Jul 28, 2019 rated it did not like it
I wish I could recommend this book. I've been confronting my own ageist attitudes as a medical student at the geriatric ward and hoped to read something that could articulate how ageism works and what to do about it. To some extent this book does this. I can forgive the cutesy journo style (makes it more accessible I guess), but I can only take so much of an author recounting her friends comments in a "very interesting thread" under her facebook status.

But the part that made me write this off as
Will Ansbacher
Nov 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: aging
This is a worthwhile read but not quite as ground-breaking as I’d been led to believe. It’s very good at dispelling negative perceptions about aging, excellent on losing independence and the end of life, but a bit too polemical regarding ageism.

It’s well organized in chapters covering ageism, memory loss, health, sexuality, the workplace, declining independence and end of life. Each chapter consists of sections that read like blog-sized nibbles. In fact the book might have written as a blog, as
Giulia Goldston
Jun 05, 2017 rated it it was ok
I think it's worth noting that I didn't finish this book, so take what I say with a grain of salt.

I didn't love this book. Towards the beginning several good points were made, but as the book unfolded, there seemed to not be much left to say. The text is very defensive. "We are not x, y, and z." is kind of the generalist of much of this book.

However, the gesture that I found difficult at first (and then, unbearable by the three quarter way mark where I decided to drop the book) was the compariso
Mar 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Having been through the consciousness-raising of the 1960's around discrimination against women, I know what it feels like to have the blindfold ripped off and to see things clearly that were invisible before. That's what this book did for me. It shines a brilliant light on ageism, and it's clear that our society is riddled with it.

The book is meticulously researched and very readable while still being trenchant and funny. In the days since I finished it, I've been seeing my own attitudes and th
Misha Stallworth
if you're new to reading about ageing or to the conversation about ageism then this book will be great for you. the data she offers and the challenges to the ways in which our language, behavior, and attitudes about ageing are pervasive is presented in a way that is well thought out and digestible.

there are definitely moments in the book that get under my skin and in which i wish she would check her privilege more effectively--these are moments where she makes analogous considerations around co
Aug 15, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a fascinating book about ageism. As the author points out, it is the only "ism" that eventually impacts everyone. The book is full of these insights and does a great job of defining ageism, giving examples, and suggesting remedies. For example, a friend of mine just got from the doctor. He told her "you are getting around and doing great for someone your age". OR "She is too old to be wearing that dress". This is ageism. The fact that these two examples are both women is not a surprise. ...more
Sep 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
I was ignited by Ashton Applewhite's TED talk: "Let's End Ageism" and motivated to read more! The book is every bit as good as the talk, well, really it's better as there is more of it, in much more depth and it is very accessible! Her anthem at the end, "We're old, we're bold, get used to it!" combined with her spirited suggestion that, "It's time for a Radical Aging movement, and for age pride" are excellent indications of the author's dynamic approach to what many of us are afraid of, namely ...more
Lynne Spreen
May 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
In This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto against Ageism, Ashton Applewhite has created an informative and entertaining guide for living the second half of our lives with confidence and power. Citing research and credible sources, she dismantles the stereotypes about older age, giving us a practical assessment of the good and the bad. She identifies common ground where all ages can value each other. Each chapter ends with a segment called Push Back! consisting of action strategies for changing our own pe ...more
Louise Aronson
Dec 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I kept starting and stopping this book and for the longest time I wasn't sure why. At first I wondered whether it was because it's not story-based, either at the book or chapter level, though there are brief anecdotes in places. Next I thought it might be because I'm writing on a related topic and reading this might confuse me. Last week I realized that whenever I picked it up, I was amazed. I have never highlighted more passages in a book, not even in school. The book is chock full of informati ...more
Jan 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a lively and provocative manifesto that explores and explodes the conventional wisdom about aging by delineating our culture's conscious and unconscious ageism. Insisting that the life course is a continuum, Applewhite offers a corrective to our entrenched notions of the binary opposition between youth and age. As an older (I'm 61), I found it wise and illuminating. As a childhood studies scholar, I found it useful in terms of my thinking about the ways we grant or do not grant agency to ...more
Aleen Stein
Jan 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: aging, ageism, feminism
I never thought to find the subject of aging interesting...until I opened this amusing and ultimately inspiring book. FIVE STARS for this engaging, thoughtful, funny, and well-researched manifesto against ageism!
Dec 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I've long been a fan of Applewhite's work, so I don't know why it took me this long to move from her podcasts, columns, and public speaking to read her book (the expanded edition).

Fortunately, I was able to focus entirely on her book during a day of air travel. I had other books with me, but this held my attention. I would say that I read it in one sitting, but I had to change planes in O'Hare.

Applewhite conveys a great combination of passion and intellect. She maintains a laser-sharp focus on
Nov 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a very thorough book about ageism - what it is, how it affects all of us, ways to deal with it, etc. There are many, many issues covered here - stuff I'd never even thought about. I wasn't able to give this book the full attention it deserves, but did appreciate the gist of it and found parts to be eye-opening. The biggest revelation I had after reading it: I've bought into the American society's view of aging and, at times, have allowed it to dictate how I might dress, act, or feel in c ...more
Sarah Powers
Oct 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is well worth the read (or listen, as I did). While I was familiar with the term ageism, and could vaguely give examples of ageism, this book helped to clarify the term and expound my understanding of how it affects every aspect of our lives. I appreciated the discussion on how ageism against the young is real and only exacerbates ageism towards the elderly. Being on the younger side if the scale the odd dissonance of being young and glorified for my youth, but at the same time being d ...more
Anna Trahan
Sep 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I don’t know that I’ve ever read a book that has rocked my worldview like this one. Wow. I had no idea how much ageism is built into our culture via work place inequities, entertainment, and casual bias towards olders. I learned that ageism impacts everyone regardless of age. Our view is that young is better so teen years through 25 are supposed to be the best time of your life and for a long time I’ve been worried because I really didn’t enjoy this time of life because honestly it’s stressful? ...more
Tom Landon
Jul 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Applewhite puts into words what I see every day - a kind of discrimination that seems to get a pass. An excellent writer, she leaves you wanting to discuss this book with friends and join a movement.
My copy ended up with so many post-it notes marking the "good parts" that the edge turned from white to purple.

Discussed at book group, a couple people thought this too academic. No, it's not. At times, I felt like I was having a drink with a friend.

Extremely readable. Applies to everyone. Yes, you, too. Age is something we all do until we don't (that's called death). Let's make aging cool again.

Favorite quotes:

P. 30 It’s understandable for younger people to resent that good fortune, and to fee
Jan 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I received a DIGITAL Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

From the publisher, as I do not regurgitate the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it.

Author, activist, and TED speaker Ashton Applewhite has written a rousing manifesto calling for an end to discrimination and prejudice on the basis of age.

In our youth-obsessed culture, we’re bombarded by media images and messages about the despairs and declines of our later years. Beauty an
Jan 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism by Ashton Applewhite

Rooted in a massive amount of research, “ THIS CHAIR ROCKS: A Manifesto Against Ageism” heralds truth in lieu of misrepresentation and fear, possibility rather than resignation and conditioned ignorance. Part summons, part expose, it is well-named as a manifesto.

Applewhite’s manifesto is a compelling and deep deep exploration of how we—of all ages—internalize ageism and of how it is institutionalized in our culture and economics.
Terri ducay
May 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Well researched book. It is not a self-help book, well not too much, instead it tackles the myth of why old age is stigmatized and the harm it does. The author harkens 'ageism' to other 'ism's' like sexism, and how all discrimination is harmful not only those it is against but the entire society.

Getting old is inevitable, but as the book states, getting old is natural and therefore why not make it the best it can be? Ms. Applewhite talks about one's own attitude and how you can prepare for aging
Olivia McDaniel
Jan 17, 2020 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
What an eye-opening book! I'll be recommending it to everyone, whether they be younger or older. Ageism is huge, and it is damaging to everyone it touches. But we can change things in our own small ways, and it will make a difference! ...more
Andrea Bonnar
Jun 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Having read this book, I am becoming more conscientious about ageism. The last chapters were more interesting to me because they address ways to improve society for all ages. The beginning chapters read more like a textbook--the author has researched the topic more thoroughly than I thought was even possible. Who knew there were already a number of organizations and academics engaged in fighting age discrimination?
Jun 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
A must-read for all of us! I am now an Old Person in Training!
Jul 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sociology, nonfiction
Worth reading.
J.D. Hanning
Oct 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The one "-ism" people rarely talk about. This eye-opening and well written/narrated audio book is a must read for everyone. After all, we all get older. ...more
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Ever the late bloomer, I didn't start writing till I was in my 40s. My first serious book, Cutting Loose: Why Women Who End Their Marriages Do So Well, was published by HarperCollins in 1997. Ms. magazine called it “rocket fuel for launching new lives.” It landed me on Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagle Forum enemies list and an invite to join the board of the nascent Council on Contemporary Families, a gro


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