The Third Chapter by Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot
Passion, Risk, and Adventure in the 25 Years After 50

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Synopsis

In the twenty-first century, a developmental phase of life is emerging as significant and distinct, capturing our interest, engaging our curiosity, and expanding our understanding of human potential and development. Demographers talk about this new chapter in life as characterized by people—between fifty and seventy-five—who are considered “neither young nor old.” In our “third chapters” we are beginning to redefine our views about the casualties and opportunities of aging; we are challenging cultural definitions of strength, maturity, power, and sexiness.

This is a chapter in life when the traditional norms, rules, and rituals of our careers seem less encompassing and restrictive; when many women and men seem to be embracing new challenges and searching for greater meaning in life.

In The Third Chapter, the renowned sociologist Dr. Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot offers a strong counterpoint to the murky ambivalence that shrouds our clear view of people in their third chapters. She challenges the still prevailing and anachronistic images of aging by documenting and revealing the ways in which the years between fifty and seventy-five may, in fact, be the most transformative and generative time in our lives, tracing the ways in which wisdom, experience, and new learning inspire individual growth and cultural transformation. The women and men whose voices fill the pages of The Third Chapter tell passionate and poignant stories of risk and vulnerability, failure and resilience, challenge and mastery, experimentation and improvisation, and insight and new learning.
 

About Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot

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Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot, a MacArthur prize-winning sociologist, is the Emily Hargroves Fisher Professor of Education at Harvard University, where, since 1972, she has studied the culture of families, communities, and schools, and the relationships between human development and social change. She is the author of ten books, including The Third Chapter, Respect, The Essential Conversation, and Balm in Gilead, which won the 1988 Christopher Award for "literary merit and humanitarian achievement." In 1993, she was awarded Harvard's George Ledlie Prize for research that makes "the most valuable contribution to science" and is to "the benefit of mankind." She is the recipient of twenty-eight honorary degrees and is the first African-American woman in Harvard's history to have an endowed professorship named in her honor.
 
Published December 22, 2009 by Sarah Crichton Books. 304 pages
Genres: Health, Fitness & Dieting, Political & Social Sciences, Self Help. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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(Happily, readers also learn that “old burdens become lighter.”) Tension, strangely enough, may prove crucial—not the kind of tension that leads to stress, but the kind that demands reconciliation between opposing forces or the charting of new scenarios by confronting ancient traumas.

| Read Full Review of The Third Chapter: Passion, R...

BC Books

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What’s in store for your life’s penultimate chapter? It may be filled with unprecedented potential for personal growth and fulfillment

Apr 13 2010 | Read Full Review of The Third Chapter: Passion, R...

BC Books

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The Third Chapter by Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot finds that many people want life to mean more, and they begin to think beyond a retirement of leisure to re-engagement of activity.

Aug 02 2010 | Read Full Review of The Third Chapter: Passion, R...

Christian Science Monitor

On my great-grandmother’s 50th birthday in 1900, her 9-year-old daughter – my grandmother – went to her room and cried inconsolably.

Mar 20 2009 | Read Full Review of The Third Chapter: Passion, R...

BookPage

An education professor at Harvard and the author of eight previous books, Lawrence-Lightfoot spent two years traveling the country interviewing men and women ages 50 to 75 who saw themselves as "new learners," people who were finding new ways of "changing, adapting, exploring, mastering, and chan...

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Bookmarks Magazine

The women and men whose voices fill the pages of The Third Chapter tell passionate and poignant stories of risk and vulnerability, failure and resilience, challenge and mastery, experimentation and improvisation, and insight and new learning.

Mar 23 2009 | Read Full Review of The Third Chapter: Passion, R...

Story Circle Book Reviews

©Copyright to the review is held by the writer (review posting date appears on the review page).

Nov 09 2009 | Read Full Review of The Third Chapter: Passion, R...

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