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How to Age (The School of Life) Paperback – 2 Jan 2014

4.5 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Macmillan; Main Market Ed. edition (2 Jan. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0230767753
  • ISBN-13: 978-0230767751
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.4 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 13,360 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

This new series of The School of Life's self-help books build on the strengths of the first, tackling some of the hardest issues of our lives in a way that is genuinely informative, helpful and consoling. Here are books that prove that the term "self-help" doesn't have to be either shallow or naive (Alain de Botton, Founder of The School of Life)

The School of Life offers radical ways to help us raid the treasure trove of human knowledge (Independent on Sunday)

Book Description

A deep and thoughtful look at what it means to age, how to do it well and why we care at all

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In this short book Anne Karpf challenges the ageism of contemporary society and looks at more positive ways of looking at the aging process (aging being something she notes that happens from the moment we are born). Also considering notions of how gender is a factor in how older men and women are perceived and how age might come less to dominate our interactions with others, our ideally having relationships with people at all stages of the life span. inspirational
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Excellent little book with big ideas about how to view getting older. It makes you realise that marketing/media offer us a skewed and unhealthy view of aging (which actually starts the minute we are born, rather than when we reach a certain age group). It offers a very positive take on getting older and leaves you realising that actually, getting older isn't so bad after all and it could be a big adventure...
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A beautifully written inspiring uplifting humorous read. A must for anyone over 40!
In an ageist world, it is so great to look at all the positives about being older. Hooray for Anne Karpf!
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An interesting read with a good reference section for further research. I wasn't that interested in historical views of ageing over the centuries although they undoubtedly still have an impact on our perception of older people today. It seems a little unrealistic that we should welcome and embrace changes in appearance due to ageing and it is hard to shift a longing that we should not be considered old. I always find it strange and a bit of a shock when I'm in a group of what I perceive to be 'older people' and then realise that I am one of them. It is hard to reconcile how one feels inside with how one looks outside but the book does extol some of the virtues of healthy ageing. It is a fate we have to resign ourselves to (its better than the alternative!) and maybe this book helps a little along the way.
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Format: Paperback
Karpf focuses on the media and society’s enduring obsession with youth and the appearance of youth. Apparently the anti-ageing business model is increasingly lucrative, worth around £180 billion annually, as of 2015. Which only feeds into the idea of gerontophobia, as people regarded as old are increasingly marginalised, patronised, demonised and often just ignored altogether, it’s no picnic being deemed as “old” by society’s harsh and narrow standards.

“The media are on permanent age watch, with celebrities apparently fair game. Newspapers, magazines, websites and blogs monitor and police their appearance for signs of ageing, but also for signs of too much ‘work’ to conceal ageing.” We also learn that “Walmart has even introduced a skincare line, Geo-Girls, for tweens-8-12 year old girls-with cosmetics, and anti-ageing creams containing antioxidants.”
Of course along with big pharma, these are the very corporations that have a heavily invested commercial interest in perpetuating these myths, lies and fears, suggesting and insisting that consumption is the solution.

Karpf also turns to a number of inspiring and interesting people like Maggie Kuhn, Florida Scott-Maxwell and Diana Athill who all have some really valuable advice and theories to help us look at age in fresh and original ways. I also learned a wonderful new word in, Senecide, the killing of old people. I really enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more of Karpf’s work. Towards the end she sums up her thoughts saying,

“Those who urge us to fight ageing are, in effect, inviting us to stop growing and developing. In so doing, they’re depriving us of the opportunity to carry out and successfully complete the task of being alive and human. Individually and collectively we’re being infantilized: we should insist on the right to grow up.”
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A rich and ultimately inspiring, consideration of ageing. Anne Karpf writes engagingly and plants very interesting ideas which - for me at least - keep on growing after the book is done. Fun to read, brief and to the point, but followed with suggestions for further reading ('Homework'). I'd recommend this to anyone from late teens on who is interested in thinking about their life and development.

Style-wise, the book has rounded corners (in the manner of a moleskine notebook) and lots of photos, printed in black and white alongside the text on the matt pages. Clearly shooting at an intellectualism of look, rather than risk drowning among the oceans of self-help, this book lives up to its intellectual promise - but you'll get some help for yourself as a bonus.
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Format: Paperback
Not sure why I bought this little book and when I read the first couple of pages I thought that this was another dreadful self help book. But it was worth persevering, it deals with a taboo subject with useful examples and ideas. It rightly suggests and emphasises that as soon as we are born we start to age and I liked the criticisms of the beauty industries as they 'segment the market' to meet our aging needs. Its an easy read well written, but a little short on evidence in some areas.
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There are half a dozen good pages in this book, unfortunately they are buried amongst the remaining pages which are hard going. Hard going because they are depressing and the material is presented as if it was a study resource book with quotes from numerous studies which add little but bulk. I would rather recommend Penelope Lively, Armonites and Leaping Fish which, by contrast, is written from the actual perspective of an old person and is determinedly optimistic, especially the first sixty pages which are superb.
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