This is a great book for anyone wanting to get really grounded about how they should be living their life. I liked the book’s simplicity and the way it leads the reader into his or her own inquiry. The book is short and sweet.
I had the pleasure of meeting with David Shapiro to discuss the book. Here are a couple of the questions I asked and David’s answers (I’ve paraphrased his responses).
Question: Why did you and Richard Leider write this book? How did it come about?
In 1994 we wrote a book called Repacking Your Bags: Lighten Your Load for the Rest of Your Life. In this book we developed a model for people who have achieved some success in their lives but were wondering if this is all there is. Our model helped people figure out what really matters and apply their energies toward this. We found that this conversation resonated with people. Writing this book also forced Richard and me to reevaluate our lives and, as a result of this process, we both made life changes. For example, I moved out here to Seattle to pursue my PhD in Philosophy.
This book emerged out of that work. We found that this same constituency is now moving into a new phase of their lives that is more introspective, about finding meaning, and giving back. In Claiming Your Place at the Fire we use a similar model and the book is a natural progression. In between these two books we also wrote a book called Whistle While You Work: Heeding Your Life´s Calling which looks applies these questions to the workplace and career. Richard and I bookend the Baby Boom generation and so we write when we are both interested in something, and then we find there´s a market for it. We had these questions and then the book emerged out of it.
Question: Who do you and Richard consider to be the target audience for this book? Is there an age that is too young or old or do you go more by where people are in their lives? I can imagine people under 50 and over 70 thinking this book is not for them.
The second half of life is a state of mind more than it is a chronological age, so this book can benefit a wide variety of people. Having said this, the main target for the book is baby boomers – people born 1940 to 1964. These are people who are at the stage of their lives where they are looking back and ahead and asking what their second half of life is going to look like. It will probably look much different than their parents second half of life. These questions can be asked at any age but it is particularly pertinent for people of this age.
So the book is targeted at Baby Boomers and is born out of the authors’ own exploration and inquiry. Cool. As a fringe Baby Boomer (last year), I found I could relate to the book just fine. Tomorrow, I will get deeper into the content of the book. In the mean time, if you would like to get a copy of any of their books, here are the links to Amazon: