LANGUAGES: English UK (December 2018), English Canada (March 2019), Dutch (May 2019), Chinese Complex Characters (May 2019), English USA (June 2019), Spanish (June 2019), Romanian (June 2019), Slovenian (June 2019), French (October 2019), Polish (January 2020), German (February 2020), Arabic (date TBA).
BBC RADIO 4’s BOOK OF THE WEEK. Listen HERE.
GUARDIAN G2 COVER STORY. Read HERE.
LUNCH WITH THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. Read HERE.
CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR EDITORIAL. Read HERE.
TV THE MORNING SHOW (CHANNEL 7, AUSTRALIA). Watch HERE.
TV THE MORNING SHOW (GLOBAL NEWS, CANADA). Watch HERE.
ABC SYDNEY RADIO INTERVIEW (excellent overview). Listen HERE.
CBC BOOKS INTERVIEW WITH SHELAGH ROGERS. Listen HERE.
BBC RADIO 5 LIVE INTERVIEW. Listen HERE.
NEWSTALK RADIO INTERVIEW NEW ZEALAND. Listen HERE.
RECOMMENDED BY BRITISH VOGUE. Read HERE.
EXCERPT IN TORONTO STAR. Read HERE.
THE INDEPENDENT – FRESH STARTS AT WORK. Read HERE.
GLOBE AND MAIL OP-ED IN PRAISE OF OLDER WORKERS. Read HERE.
COMMENTARY.CA PODCAST. Listen HERE.
ENTREVISTA RADIO NACIONAL DE ESPANA. Escuchar AQUI.
“A joyously life-enhancing book (that) shatters the myths about ageing.” (DAILY MAIL)
“With grace and elegance, Bolder reveals the unexpected beauty of growing older.” (READER’S DIGEST – BOOK OF THE MONTH)
“Informative…In dark times, Bolder is a book that really does look to the future with optimism.” (THE HERALD)
“A pick-you-up for anyone feeling the best of life has been lived.” (AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW)
“Honoré is a verbal magician, conjuring concepts with no new idea too complex to capture….Easy to read, the book canters along.” (AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW)
“Bolder makes some thought-provoking proposals…(it) is about age, but it is not a book for the old.” (LONDON TIMES)
“Honoré has so many examples of collaboration, grit and creativity that you won’t be so afraid when you come to inhabit your older self.” (THE BOOKSHELF)
“Carl challenges us to rethink our approach to aging and start seeing it as a privilege, rather than a punishment.” (GLOBAL NEWS)
“[O]ne of the lessons of Carl Honoré’s informative book is that ageism is steadily being rolled back, even if much of it is going on under the radar.” (THE GUARDIAN – Fiona Millar)
“[A] call for society to become less ageist and for individuals to stop worrying about the process of ageing and wring every drop out of whatever time is allotted to us.” (THE GUARDIAN – Stephen Moss)
“(Honore’s) stirring research and faith in the human spirit will linger long after one hears this exceptional audio.” (AUDIOFILE MAGAZINE – T.W. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award 2019)
“Anyone who dreads the thought of ageing will find solace in this book, which is peppered with real-life stories from around the globe of the people Honoré interviewed.” (THE AUSTRALIAN)
“Uplifting.” (THE LADY)
What is BOLDER about?
Ageing – how we can do it better and feel better about doing it. It’s also a rallying cry against the last form of discrimination that dare speak its name: ageism.
Is there a particular age group the book is aimed at?
Not at all. It’s for anyone of any generation who is pondering (or worrying about) what it means to grow older. I wish there had been a book like this around when I was 30: it would have saved me two decades of anxiety and dread!
What inspired you to write the book?
I was at a hockey tournament, and playing well, when I suddenly discovered I was the oldest player there. The news shook me to the core. I began wondering if I looked out of place, if people were laughing at me, if I should take up a more gentle pastime, like Bingo. It got me thinking about how we often feel ashamed and afraid of growing older. How we imagine it’s all about loss, decline, decrepitude and sadness. I wanted to know if there was another, happier story to tell about ageing.
And is there?
You betcha! What I discovered through my research is that many of our downbeat assumptions about ageing are wrong. And, here’s the really exciting bit: many things can actually get better as we grow older.
One thing that really blew me away is that people are generally more contented in later life. Across the world happiness seems to follow a U-shaped curve, bottoming out in middle age and then rising again thereafter. Even Pete Townshend confessed to feeling more cheerful in his 60s than he was when he wrote one of the most ageist lines in the pop music canon: ‘Hope I die before I get old.’ As we age, we become more comfortable in our own skin and less worried about what others think of us. We tend to form stronger, more fulfilling relationships. Ageing can also make us more altruistic.
Doesn’t ageing kill off romance and sex?
Not necessarily. Another part of my research that startled me (in a good way) was discovering just how many people are falling head over heels and/or enjoying great sex in later life. The conventional wisdom that romance and bedroom fireworks belong to the young is flat-out wrong. Hurray!
What about all the terrible things that happen to our bodies and brains as we age?
The news is not nearly as bad as you think. These days we have more and more levers to pull (nutrition, technology, medicine, exercise) to slow the physical decline brought on be ageing, which means we can go on doing amazing things with our bodies deep into later life. That is why the media is packed with stories about people kitesurfing in their fifties, climbing mountains in their sixties, running marathons in their seventies, cycling long distance in their eighties and swimming competitively in their nineties. Today, the average over-65-year-old is in better shape than ever before.
How about what ageing does to our brains?
Of course, we lose some cognitive zip as we grow older but our brains are extremely good at compensating. That’s why creativity can carry on right up to the end of our lives: think of Louise Bourgeois coming up with those iconic giant spiders in her 80s. Some experts think ageing alters the brain structure in ways that make us even more creative. Older adults also tend to be better at seeing the big picture, embracing compromise, weighing multiple points of view and accepting that knowledge can only take you so far. When tackling problems in a familiar field, older brains are quicker to spot the patterns and details that open the door to finding a solution. After sifting through piles of studies, researchers at Harvard University concluded that four key skills do not ripen fully until around the age of 50: arithmetic, vocabulary, general knowledge and a grasp of how the world works. We can also carry on learning new things right up to the end of life.
What about dementia?
Without doubt dementia is the darkest cloud hanging over later life.Not only is there no cure but we do not even know why it strikes in the first place. Nevertheless, the picture is not as apocalyptic as the headlines proclaim. Around 17 per cent of people over the age of 80 have dementia, but that means the other 83 per cent do not. And researchers are confident that we’re on the road to making breakthroughs in both treatment and prevention.
Is there more good news?
You betcha: the list goes on. Social and emotional smarts often improve with age, too. We get better at reading people. Our richer vocabulary helps us speak, write and communicate better and our capacity to co-operate and negotiate improves. We also get better at putting ourselves in other people’s shoes, finding compromises and resolving conflicts. As we age, we become less prone to wild swings of emotion and better able to cope with negative feelings such as anger, fear and envy. In other words, we find it easier to keep our heads while all about us are losing theirs.
What does all this mean for ageing in the workplace?
It means that older workers can bring a lot to the party. Productivity rises with age in jobs that rely on social skills – as more and more do nowadays. When companies set up suggestion boxes, older staff usually generate more and better ideas, with the best proposals tending to come from the over- 55s.
But isn’t the start-up world dominated by young guns?
On the contrary. Older people are smashing it in the start-up world. A recent study of all new businesses launched in the USA came to the following conclusion: “We find no evidence to suggest that founders in their 20s are especially likely to succeed. Rather, all evidence points to founders being especially successful when starting businesses in middle age or beyond.” Bottom line: there is no such thing as the ‘wrong’ side of 40.
What makes you think we can learn to be less ageist?
Because the world is changing in ways that herald a golden age of ageing. More jobs rely on the social acumen that improves with age. Every day, medics are getting better at managing the diseases and decline that come in later life. Every year there are more older people on the planet – and there is strength in numbers. It is harder to dismiss or denigrate a growing chunk of the population, especially when so many of them are taking life by the scruff of the neck.
What does history tell us about attitudes to ageing?
That they can change over time. Human beings may be hardwired to admire young bodies and recoil from anything that portends death, but beyond that, how we feel about growing older is shaped by culture – and culture evolves. In 17th- and 18th- century Europe, for instance, young men actually tried to look older by wearing powdered wigs and clothes tailored to give the impression of ageing bodies. If we embraced the cult of youth in the 1960s, then we can choose to un-embrace it now.
Has writing BOLDER changed you?
Yes, profoundly. It has made me feel so much more at ease with the idea of growing older. Like anyone else, I still worry about what the passage of time will do to my health, my finances, my looks, my loved ones. Nor do I want my life to end. But such worries feel less daunting now because I know that, with a little luck and the right attitude, lots of good stuff awaits me in the coming years. Best of all, I no longer feel ashamed to play hockey (or any sport) with people half my age!
What do you hope readers will learn from BOLDER?
To see ageing in a completely new light. To move from fear and dread to the kind of understanding and optimism that will help them make the most of their lives – at every age. The real challenge facing us is not ageing; it’s ageism. My first three books took down the canard that faster is always better. BOLDER is about shooting down the myth that younger is always better. I also hope to spark a wider public debate about attitudes to ageing. If all of us are going to have an equal chance of ageing better then we need to rewrite the rules of everything, from the workplace and education to design and social services.