How to Live Forever

The Enduring Power of Connecting the Generations


By Marc Freedman

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Using this helpful book, learn how the secret to happiness and longevity can be found through mentoring the next generation.

In How to Live Forever, founder and CEO Marc Freedman tells the story of his thirty-year quest to answer some of contemporary life's most urgent questions: With so many living so much longer, what is the meaning of the increasing years beyond 50? How can a society with more older people than younger ones thrive? How do we find happiness when we know life is long and time is short?

In a poignant book that defies categorization, Freedman finds insights by exploring purpose and generativity, digging into the drive for longevity and the perils of age segregation, and talking to social innovators across the globe bringing the generations together for mutual benefit. He finds wisdom in stories from young and old, featuring ordinary people and icons like jazz great Clark Terry and basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

But the answers also come from stories of Freedman's own mentors—a sawmill worker turned surrogate grandparent, a university administrator who served as Einstein's driver, a cabinet secretary who won the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the gym teacher who was Freedman's father.

How to Live Forever is a deeply personal call to find fulfillment and happiness in our longer lives by connecting with the next generation and forging a legacy of love that lives beyond us.




Getting things done on time has never been my strong suit. Twenty years ago I wrote my first book about getting older. The writing process, to say the least, was difficult. As the publisher’s deadline neared, my anxiety became paralyzing. I spent day after day in front of a blank monitor, unshaven, pajama clad, increasingly disheveled, searching the web for distraction.

One day on a perverse whim, I went to Amazon and typed in the title of my book, only to discover that the manuscript I’d yet to start writing was already for sale. In a stupor of sleep-deprived insanity, I clicked the “Order Now” button. Maybe this was all a bad dream. If I selected overnight delivery, perhaps the next day I’d wake up to a UPS parcel rescuing me from the nightmare. The package never arrived.

I’m still not quite sure how that book got done. (Or this one, for that matter.) But I do know that my history of procrastination didn’t start with these authorial woes.

I was already showing a talent in this area as an eighteen-year-old college freshman. In September of 1976, I drove ninety minutes from our house in Northeast Philadelphia to the leafy campus of Swarthmore College. I wasn’t remotely ready for the rigors of higher education, especially those of the academic sweatshop my chosen institution would turn out to be.

The first in my family to attend such a demanding place, I was singularly unprepared. My father was a gym teacher turned school administrator, and my mother had gone to college for a year before dropping out. I attended a large, working-class public high school with six thousand students, including eighteen hundred in my graduating class. But I came of age at a time when even private higher education was far more accessible and affordable than it is today. My first year, the cost of tuition, room, and board at an Ivy League school or a private liberal arts college was about $6,000, total. Even kids like me whose parents didn’t have the resources to help pay for a university education could scrape by on financial aid, work-study, and modest loans.

I was, from the outset, headed for failure. I tried basing my inaugural paper, “Introduction to the Old Testament,” largely on the CliffsNotes edition for the Bible. My professor was unimpressed.

By the time I’d made it, academically bloodied and beaten, to the break between the semesters of my sophomore year, I had probably set something approaching an intercollegiate record for incomplete classes. I’d racked up nine by that point—impressive, if I do say so myself, considering that I’d only taken twelve courses and that four of them had been pass-fail.

As it turns out, there was a silver lining in all this failure. I desperately needed more time to finish assignments, and the school, in its wisdom, required only three steps to get an incomplete approved. The first was asking for one, the second was getting the professor to say yes, but the third required institutional approval, in the form of sign-off from the school’s associate provost, an office held by a silver-haired, scraggly-bearded sixty-three-year-old named Gilmore Stott.

Gil Stott had himself come from modest means, something that likely contributed to his abundant empathy for struggling students like me. A kid from Indiana, he’d gone to the University of Cincinnati in the 1930s, excelling academically and earning a Rhodes Scholarship in part for completing a trans-Canadian canoe and bicycle trip with sausages tied to his back for sustenance.

During World War II, Stott served as an intelligence officer to General George Patton and fought in the Battle of the Bulge, winning the Bronze Star. This part is hard for me to imagine, given Stott’s soft-spoken, utterly gentle demeanor, the opposite of Patton’s blustering bravado. At Oxford’s Balliol College, he studied philosophy, which led to a PhD from Princeton. After graduate school, Stott held positions in the Rhodes Scholarship organization and became the right-hand man to Frank Aydelotte, head of Princeton’s famed Institute for Advanced Study during its heyday.

On the side, Gil served as Einstein’s personal driver and confidant.

When Aydelotte became Swarthmore’s president, Stott accompanied him, serving as an ethics professor and later as dean of admissions. He was a source of calm and a trusted bridge between groups during the turbulent times of the 1960s, when the college’s charismatic president, Courtney Smith, died of a heart attack during a student takeover of the administration building. Gil chaired the Upward Bound program at the school, helping bring low-income students from nearby Chester to campus, where young people became acquainted with college life and received guidance to help prepare them for higher education.

A lifetime long-distance runner with a shockingly slow gait (it was almost like he was running in place), Stott was a thin, handsome man with smile lines at the corners of his eyes. I remember him clad in the tweed jacket you’d expect from a liberal arts college dean, along with an unexpected bolo tie, as if to say, “I’m not quite as buttoned down as you might think.”

After my nine formal visits to his office to request incompletes, plus informal ones to request extensions of incompletes and more just to see the man, he took me under his wing, as did his grandmotherly administrative assistant, Etta Zwell. Together Stott and Zwell had a kind of Batman-and-Robin operation going, focused on bringing young people like me into the fold.

Whenever Gil could make out my slumped, dejected figure shuffling down the long corridor to his office with another request to buy some time on one course or another, he got a bemused smile on his face. He would grant me the extension, then invite me over for dinner—as would Etta. They became my family away from home, like surrogate grandparents.

As part of the extended Stott family, I was exposed to a whole new world for someone who had grown up in a Levittown-like housing development and gone to a vast, homogeneous high school. One summer, I traveled with Gary White, an African American student from Philadelphia and the center on the school’s football team (the Little Quakers), to spend a week with the Stotts and other guests at their rustic retreat on Parry Island, several hours north of Toronto. For Gary and me, this was our first camping trip. On the way up, he taught me how to drive a stick shift.

Parry Island in the late summer was a shimmering vision of harmony, literally. Gil, a devoted cellist, and his violist wife, Mary, played in string quartets on the porch most evenings, accompanied by their violin-playing children—or one of the loose collection of students like me who were constantly coming and going. Back home, Gil and Mary age-integrated the college orchestra by joining it. According to his obituary, Gil added violin to his repertoire and took his last violin lesson the day before he died in 2005, at ninety-one.

For all his official roles at the college, Gil’s truest title might have been tender of wayward students and their souls. The formal role he held mattered less than his eye for young people who were stumbling. And his main tools weren’t advice and a wagging finger. He was a quiet man, so quiet that even if he was inclined to give advice, it might have been inaudible. What came across clearly was a blend of acceptance and love. Each of us felt that Gil was completely in our corner. And he was.

When I graduated, thanks in no small measure to Gil’s support, I was elected to give the commencement address with my friend and former roommate Charlie McGovern. We dedicated the address to Gil, in part out of affection and also out of a sense that he wasn’t fully given his due. We saw that despite Gil’s importance in so many lives, he didn’t have a fancy office or a lofty title.

In that concern, I think we were mistaken. Our dedication at graduation produced, to our surprise, a spontaneous, sustained, and thunderous standing ovation. A measure of the man’s life. It was likewise a credit to the college’s leaders that they recognized the value of such a role and provided the perch for Stott to carry it out while an employee and for two decades further after he “retired” in 1985. Today, a portrait of Gil Stott playing his beloved cello hangs in the entry of the main building of the college, in guardian angel–like fashion.

Still, even brilliant mentors can only do so much; I made a grammatical error in the first line of my speech.


Now I’m just about the age Gil was at the time we first met, which is remarkable to me. Then again, the idea that he would live thirty more years beyond his sixtieth birthday, twenty of them after formally retiring from the college, is testimony to the possibilities of extending life spans. Today, thanks to gains in longevity and the aging of the baby boom generation, ten thousand people turn sixty-five every day. By 2060, a quarter of the US population will be over sixty-five.

Perhaps even more significant, for the first time in our history, we now have more older people than younger ones. In 2016, for example, there were 110 million adults over fifty and only 74 million young people under eighteen, a trend that is here to stay.

The graying of America is understandably worrying for a country that has always prided itself on its youthful spirit and makeup. Academics and pundits alike predict that this demographic shift will have adverse effects on the prospects of young people, ushering in cross-generational conflict, zero-sum wrangling over scarce resources between “kids and canes,” and a vast generation gap. Many worry about the so-called gray/brown divide, a gulf between a largely white older population and a much more diverse younger group.

Christopher Buckley provides a satirical solution to all these problems in his novel Boomsday—mass euthanasia for the gray-haired set, sending baby boomers off to the great beyond at seventy, to the betterment of all who remain. But even in the realm of satire, there’s a glitch. A New Yorker cartoon depicts a pair of native Alaskans shaking their heads over a consequence of climate change—insufficient ice floes for dispatching the boomers.

The increase in the number of older people in America is paralleled by an increase in the needs of our kids. Today half of all public school students come from low-income families—and 80 percent of low-income kids aren’t reading proficiently by the end of third grade. We’re not making much of a dent in the child poverty rate or the educational achievement gap based on race and ethnicity. More children of color are getting to college, but not nearly enough are finishing. And social mobility is increasingly limited—42 percent of children born to parents in the lowest income bracket stay there as adults.

And yet we move forward as if our future weren’t at stake. Those in power cut programs that feed, care for, and educate children; degrade the planet these young people will inherit; and saddle future generations with record debt. How can we find the will to realign priorities in a nation where children don’t vote and older people do? Where are we going to find the resources, both human and financial, to cover the costs of an aging America and invest more in young people at the same time? If we don’t, will we knowingly continue to sacrifice our children?

In 2014, two distinguished sixty-something boomers sounded the alarm. Stanley Druckenmiller and Geoffrey Canada embarked on a college tour not to figure out where to send their children but to alert young people that their futures were being compromised. The goal: to be modern-day Paul Reveres, waking up the next generation to the transgressions of their own.

The two crusaders were both students at Maine’s Bowdoin College in the 1970s, although they didn’t know each other at the time. Druckenmiller went on to generate a sizable fortune working with George Soros and then with his own firm, Duquesne Capital Management. Canada made his mark creating the Harlem Children’s Zone, one of the most successful and significant efforts to improve the lives of children (Druckenmiller served as the Children Zone’s board chair). In 2009 the Chronicle of Philanthropy selected Druckenmiller as the most charitable man in the country.

Canada and Druckenmiller’s 2014 Wall Street Journal op-ed setting out their argument, cowritten with Kevin Warsh, has a distinctly uncharitable title: “Generational Theft Needs to Be Arrested.” In it, Canada and Druckenmiller indict the nation’s growing debt burden, which “threatens to crush the next generation,” along with entitlement programs that are “profoundly unfair to those who are taking their first steps in search of opportunity.” The status quo, they write, is “tantamount to saddling school-age children with more debt, weaker economic growth, and fewer opportunities for jobs and advancement.”

Thomas Friedman applauded the Druckenmiller-Canada tour in a New York Times column with an equally provocative title, “Sorry, Kids. We Ate It All.” When the invariable senior citizen showed up at one of the duo’s campus talks to protest that they were fomenting generational war, Friedman writes, Druckenmiller “has a standard reply. ‘No, that war already happened, and the kids lost. We’re just trying to recover some scraps for them.’”

Listening to Druckenmiller and Canada, and many other prominent figures heralding coming (or current) generational conflict, it’s hard not to worry about how we’ll ever survive the projected “gray dawn.” Older voters dramatically outnumber younger ones at the polls today—and the two groups’ interests can seem increasingly at odds. Indeed, it’s possible to interpret developments like Brexit and the 2016 US presidential election as early indicators of the indifference of the old to the prospects of the young.

Demography is supposed to be destiny, and many believe the coming years will be full of animosity between generations. The perils are real, the fears and concerns legitimate. But I believe there’s another way—and the possibility of a far better outcome, one that could help us avoid conflict, solve problems from literacy to loneliness, reweave the social fabric in communities, and reconnect us to our fundamental humanity.


The route to this more uplifting prospect is neither obscure nor abstract. It’s right in front of us, in everyday lived experience and common sense. Shift the currency from fiscal woes to emotional truths, and the result reveals something profoundly different—the needs and assets of the generations fit together like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.

Let’s start with families. There’s probably no relationship more revered in modern life than the bond between grandparents and grandchildren. Indeed, a new book on the subject, Jane Isay’s Unconditional Love: A Guide to Navigating the Joys and Challenges of Being a Grandparent Today, just arrived in my mailbox. I put it next to Lesley Stahl’s Becoming Grandma: The Joys and Science of the New Grandparenting and several other recent volumes plumbing the depths of this bond. Stahl reports that “in various surveys, nearly three-quarters of grandparents say that being a grandparent is the single most important and satisfying thing in their life. Most say being with their grandkids is more important to them than traveling or having financial security.”

Indeed, the presence and enthusiasm of grandparents often enriches the lives of older and younger people while making life easier and better for the generation in the middle, too. The Economist magazine, chronicling the wave of grandparents helping to support their grandchildren—in many cases, actually raising them—calls this fit between older and younger “the Silver-Haired Safety Net.”

My wife, Leslie, and I have three sons, ages eight, ten, and twelve. (Yes, we got a very late start—sometimes I think we had our own grandchildren.) My own father, a doting grandparent, passed away this year, and my mother is both frail and twenty-five hundred miles away in Philadelphia. Leslie’s mother, a healthy seventy, lives an eight-hour drive away and has eight grandchildren spread along the West Coast. It’s a joyous occasion when she shows up to visit and help take care of the kids. But that happens two or three times a year at best, given the geographic distance and equitable distribution of grandparental love and assistance.

Still we’ve been fortunate. Our silver-haired safety net is located two doors down. Our quirky, engaging eighty-something neighbors, Jake and Joyce Anderson, have become quasi grandparents for our children, what anthropologists call “fictive kin.” Their own grandchildren live in Idaho and the Sierras, hours away. So they get to ply their grandparenting impulses on a day-to-day basis with our kids, and everybody is the better for it, especially our middle son, Levi, the maker in the family. He and Jake, a former aviation mechanic at the Alameda Naval Air Station, disappear on projects in Jake’s toolroom, while our youngest son, Micah, a budding numismatist, spends time with Joyce going over her foreign coins.

When emergencies arise, we know we can count on Joyce and Jake to fill the void, offering the kids an occasional safe haven after school or coming by to help when there’s a crisis. This all happens by virtue of proximity, but I suspect Jake and Joyce are a connection to a time when our block was a more communal one. They are also a connection to something deeper and more fundamental than the history of our neighborhood.

There is significant evidence from evolutionary anthropology and developmental psychology that old and young are built for each other. The old, as they move into the latter phases of life, are driven by a deep desire to be needed by and to nurture the next generation; the young have a need to be nurtured. It’s a fit that goes back to the beginning of human history.

For many decades, evolutionary anthropologists tried to understand why women typically lived so long beyond reproductive age in the harsh world of the selfish gene. Men could continue reproducing late in life. But from a narrow evolutionary standpoint, postmenopausal women seemed superfluous—until an anthropologist from the University of Utah, Kristen Hawkes, developed the grandmother hypothesis, based on her research studying hunter-gatherer tribes in Tanzania and Paraguay. She found that older women played a critical role gathering food and caring for their daughters’ children, thus enabling the longer gestational period that separates humans from most other species. In short, the role of grandmothers served as a critical missing link. If not for them, we likely wouldn’t have evolved in the way we did or ended up living so long.

Alison Gopnik, a child psychologist at the University of California, Berkeley, argues that the evolutionary role of grandmothers in caring for children “may actually be the key to human nature.” Meanwhile, Stanford psychologist Laura Carstensen, a preeminent scholar of later-life development, comes to similar conclusions about the grandmother hypothesis, arguing that older people are essential to future generations and the well-being of the species.

The echoes in the work of these two giants of developmental psychology who focus on opposite ends of the age spectrum are striking. After years of research, they came to similar conclusions about the essential connection between generations. So I asked Carstensen, a good friend, about the fit. She immediately raised an important question: Can the critical role of grandmothers and the benefits to children extend beyond the African savanna—and beyond older and younger people who are blood relations?

I wanted to know her take. “After so many decades of research on development across the life course,” I asked her, “what do you think?” Carstensen’s answer was immediate and affirmative. She described older people as a potential “cavalry coming over the hill” when it comes to meeting the needs of young people today. And she added that proximity is a key to realizing this promise. In other words, it helps to have a Joyce and Jake two doors down.

I know what she means. Older people—I should say “we”—often have the time and numbers. We have an impulse toward meaningful relationships that grows as we realize fewer days are ahead than behind. We have a deeply rooted instinct to connect in ways that flow down the generational chain. And we have a set of skills—patience, persistence, and emotional regulation, among others—that, study upon study shows, blossom with age. When it comes to cavalries coming over the hill, Carstensen points out, it’s older people you want on those horses.

But, again, what does all this mean for us today, when gathering roots for grandchildren may not be the best and highest use of grandparent time? How can we tap the vast and largely underused talent of the older population (of men and women) to support the next generation in ways that fit contemporary realities? How can we do so within families but likewise across them and into the broader community?

In short, how can we adapt the grandmother hypothesis to the modern-family world?


There’s evidence that the modern-family world may be ready. Despite all the negative headlines and kids versus canes rhetoric, polling shows remarkable warmth between the generations. Surveys reveal an extraordinary degree of mutual respect, most especially between boomers and millennials. And an overwhelming majority of older people say that the opportunity for future generations to prosper is important or very important to achieving America’s promise, putting it on par with individual freedom, the work ethic, and free enterprise as priorities.

Attitudes are changing, but more importantly, behaviors are, too. We’re witnessing an incipient movement today of older people who are connecting with younger ones, standing up and showing up for the next generation, and resisting the mandate to go off in pursuit of their own second childhood.

Instead of trying to be young, they’re focused on being there for those who actually are.

I’ll offer Stanley Druckenmiller as Exhibit A. The sixty-five-year-old investor has not only become a public voice for the next generation; he’s helped spearhead a billion-dollar philanthropic fund, Blue Meridian Partners, to invest large sums in education and social programs for young people living in poverty.

And Druckenmiller is hardly alone. For more than thirty years, I’ve crisscrossed the country, meeting older people without Druckenmiller-sized bank accounts who are acting on the same desire, to leave the world better than they found it. And I’ve spent years—no doubt influenced by my experience with Gil Stott and a string of older mentors who followed—trying both to encourage this behavior and to create new ways for those in the second half of life to support younger people.

One of my inspirations is Cherry Hendrix, a woman I first met in 1986 in a Northeast Portland, Oregon, elementary school, in a rough-and-tumble neighborhood known for its high concentration of former inmates. Hendrix had moved to Portland from her native Alabama during World War II, part of the large migration of southern African American women to the ports and factories in the West and North. They came to support the war effort, and Cherry was, essentially, Rosie the Riveter.

After the war ended, Hendrix remained in Portland, managing a modest living until she retired at sixty and launched a second act in the Foster Grandparents program—a national vehicle for bringing more people over sixty into the lives of children from low-income backgrounds. When I met her, she’d been a foster grandparent for more than a decade, tutoring elementary school students for twenty hours a week in return for a small stipend.

The constraints of the tutoring relationship had gotten Hendrix thinking: How could she better connect with the children and gain their trust? An avid bowler, Cherry decided to start a bowling league for the kids. She talked to the management at Interstate Lanes in Portland, where she participated in a Jacks and Jills league. They agreed to provide shoes, gratis. Then the seventy-year-old woman handwrote forty-three permission slips for the children to bring home. Soon a thriving league was under way.

Hendrix, known as Grandma Cherry to the kids, would go on to become an inaugural member of Portland’s Experience Corps—part of a national program I helped start (now run by AARP) that provides tutors and mentors who are over fifty to about thirty-one thousand children a year in 279 schools. Cherry “retired” from Experience Corps at the age of ninety-four and lived to ninety-nine, leaving five grandchildren, ten great-grandchildren, three great-great-grandchildren, and hundreds of other kids, now adults, whose lives she touched.

Women and men like Cherry Hendrix are doing a lot more than saving a few scraps from the table. They are deeply engaged in the lives of children, showing up day in and day out to provide caring, connection, and support. And they’re getting an enormous amount out of these relationships themselves.

I know it’s easy to dismiss Cherry Hendrix and others like her as marvelous outliers, heartwarming exceptions. But I’m convinced that these individuals are far from exceptions. They are the protagonists of another story, a tale of resilience that contrasts sharply with the zero-sum, old-versus-young, demography-as-despair narrative. It’s a tale that is of growing significance today.


This book is the chronicle of a nascent movement that has the potential to make the more-old-than-young world work, both for society and for individuals of all ages, not only right now but into the future. It’s the story of Cherry Hendrix and so many others who are showing us the way forward, bringing into focus the power of older people investing in the next generation—and finding purpose, health, happiness, and even income while doing so. This book is an account of why their efforts matter, why they haven’t yet realized their full potential as a movement, and what we can do to turn that around.

The stakes couldn’t be higher as we choose between two paths forward, prompted by the new demographics and the arrival of our profoundly multigenerational future—one characterized by scarcity, conflict, and loneliness; the other by abundance, interdependence, and connection.

As you may have guessed, this account—this quest—is as personal as it is professional for me. Earlier this year, I turned sixty myself. If becoming a nation of more older people than younger ones is a shock to our national self-identity, I can say that crossing this Rubicon is a shock to my own self-conception. I was always the young person who admired and advocated for older people—at least that’s how I saw myself.

This journey has been a surprise for me in more ways than one. I came to my vocation focused on kids, not older people. But I quickly discovered that the only resource big enough to help solve the problems facing the next generation is the older one. Back then, a world with more old than young seemed like a distant prospect. And I was a young person myself.

For the past three decades, I’ve worked to engage older people’s untapped talents in helping to alleviate young people’s unmet needs. This is an account of the lessons I’ve learned along the way, the older mentors who have supported me throughout, and my transformation from a younger person to one of them. Or, I should say, again, one of us.

In many ways the ensuing chapters are a sequel to The Big Shift,


  • #1 on the Wall Street Journal's list of "best books in 2018 on aging well"
  • "A book that grabs us by the shoulders, turns us toward an important issue, and grips us until we truly see and understand."—Kirkus Reviews
  • "'The old and young are built for each other.' On this simple but profound statement, Marc Freedman builds an inspiring and timely manifesto for a better future. As heartwarming as Tuesdays with Morrie, yet deeply researched and enlivened by enough real-life examples to persuade the toughest skeptic, How to Live Forever is both an intergenerational love letter and a practical manual for change. The era of age apartheid is ending, and Marc Freedman's beacon lights the way ahead."—Jonathan Rauch, author,The Happiness Curve, and ContributingEditor, The Atlantic
  • "To be happy, what do we need? Strong bonds with others and a sense of meaning. In How to Live Forever, Marc Freedman brilliantly explores how we can foster happier, healthier, more productive lives by connecting the older and younger generations. Freedman illuminates why and how the generations are tremendous untapped resources for each other-and why, as we face a more-old-than-young world, creating this connection matters more than ever."—Gretchen Rubin,author of New York Times bestseller The Happiness Project
  • "In this powerful and persuasive work, Marc Freedman shows that the generation gap is far from inevitable. In its place, he offers a compelling vision for the future of intergenerational relations: an alliance of talents that brings joy, empowerment, and abundance to both youth and old age. How to Live Forever is a heartfelt and heartwarming book that will spark purpose in the young and hope in their elders."—DanielH. Pink, author of When and Drive
  • "Beautifully written and enormously inspiring, How to Live Forever profoundly changes the conversation about long life and rewrites the generational compact. Read it and be changed."—LauraCarstensen, Professor of Psychology, StanfordUniversity, and author, A Long BrightFuture
  • "Marc Freedman's How To Live Forever is a wise and joyful gift to readers of every age."—Gloria Steinem
  • "Marc Freedman is one of the wisest thought leaders in the aging and longevity world. With this book, he has crafted a masterpiece, written with deep humanity and insight. This is a soulful rallying cry for intergenerational collaboration like we've never seen before. I finished this book brimming with optimism about our future."—Chip Conley, author of Wisdom@Workand Strategic Advisor, Airbnb
  • "In How to Live Forever, Marc Freedman draws upon his lifetime of knowledge and experience as one of the nation's foremost social entrepreneurs and his skill as a masterful storyteller to demonstrate that the only way to live forever is to live together. Arguing that our role as older people is not to try to be young, but to be there for those who actually are, he makes a compelling case that inspires us to connect people of different generations."—Jo Ann Jenkins, CEO of AARP and author of Disrupt Aging
  • "Twenty years ago I read Marc Freedman's groundbreaking book Prime Time and it changed my life...inspiring and guiding me as I embarked on my encore career. With How to Live Forever, Freedman has done it again. This extraordinary, insightful, and deeply moving book will touch your heart and remain on your mind long after you put it down. It might even change your life!"—Sherry Lansing, former Chairman andCEO, Paramount Pictures, and Founder and CEO, The Sherry Lansing Foundation
  • "Marc Freedman knows that we owe our kids more - more caring adults, more support, more hope, more love. And he knows that we have the human beings - tens of millions of us over 50 -- who can deliver. If you care about kids, read this beautiful, hopeful book, get swept away by the power of its argument and its stories, and step up to the challenge. Surely, our generation can do more to change the odds."—Arne Duncan, former U.S. Secretary of Education and author of HowSchools Work
  • "Marc Freedman has written a warm, personal and inspiring alternative to the sorry national narrative of generational conflict. This is an important bookend to Atul Gawande's "Being Mortal" and a humane guide to true immortality."—Ellen Goodman, Pulitzer-prizewinning columnist, author, and founder of The Conversation Project
  • "Marc Freedman's How to Live Forever not only makes a compelling case for why it is imperative that we unite people of all ages across a shared vision, but it lays out specifically how older Americans can find purpose and happiness later in life. This is a must-read for anyone interested in creating a more inclusive and unified society for future generations."—Michael D. Eisner, former CEO of TheWalt Disney Company and founder of The Eisner Foundation
  • "How To Live Forever is a beautiful guide for helping all of us embrace the journey of life, and contribute all we can at each stage. I'm so grateful to Marc Freedman for sharing this vision of a society that values and maximizes everyone, young and old."—Wendy Kopp, Founder of Teach For America & CEO of TeachFor All
  • "'Live mortal,' Marc Freedman advises: accept aging, build meaningful relationships with people of all ages, age-integrate everything-and get cracking. That's how to build the multigenerational world we all hope to live long enough to inhabit and, in the process, create legacies that outlive us. This deeply optimistic book is Freedman's legacy, and what a gift."—Ashton Applewhite, authorof This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism
  • "Marc Freedman is today's most insightful thinker about thriving in the second half of life. With personal stories and robust science, How To Live Forever argues that finding meaning is the surest way to happiness, and that investing in the young--rather than competing with them--is the best route of all. Anyone over 40 will love this witty, humble, compelling, and most of all, hopeful, book."—Barbara BradleyHagerty, New York Timesbestselling author of Life Reimagined
  • "Forget skin creams and fad diets. As Marc Freedman reminds us, there is only one way to live forever: be useful to others - especially to those coming up behind you. In this wise, inspiring, and practical book he offers us all a clear path to a purposeful life."—Eric Liu, CEO, Citizen University and author, You're MorePowerful Than You Think
  • "A beautifully written, often funny, and deeply moving guide to finding purpose and joy in the second half of life, How to Live Forever is a blueprint for making the most of our multigenerational future. I loved this book and you will, too."—Henry Timms, co-founder #GivingTuesdayand co-author New Power
  • "In this wonderful, insightful and above all inspiring book, Marc Freedman reminds us that longer lives aren't just about retirement income, keeping fit and the golf course but about engagement and connectivity--connecting together the different stages of your own life and connecting people at different stages of life. With humanity and wisdom Freedman offers a positive view of ageing and life's journey and how as an individual and as a society we should relish the opportunity"—Andrew Scott,Professor of Economics, London Business School and co-author, The Hundred Year Life
  • "Longevity is humanity's new frontier, and Marc Freedman is one of its greatest explorers. In How to Live Forever, he charts a path to improved relationships between young and old while providing a cornucopia of ideas for personal reinvention. This is the book we've all been waiting for."—Ken Dychtwald, Ph.D., author of AgeWave and A New Purpose: Redefining Money, Family, Work, Retirement andSuccess
  • "This moving, thoughtful book is perfect for all of us who crave more meaning and connection as we age. Highly recommended!"—Dan Heath, co-author (with ChipHeath) of Switch and The Power of Moments
  • "Part surprising history, part fascinating sociology, part inspiring manifesto--you close Freedman's book feeling determined to end age segregation, and better yet, crystal clear on how to do just that."—Courtney E. Martin, author of The New Better Off: Reinventing theAmerican Dream
  • "One of the best books by a social observer or social entrepreneur I've ever read! Filled with wonderful writing, smart observations, humor, humility and humanity, How to Live Forever will make you hopeful about our individual and collective futures."—John Gomperts,CEO, America's Promise Alliance
  • "How to Live Forever isn't just the best-ever title for a book. Marc Freedman has given us an entirely new way to think about our common future, along with tips we can all use to leave an enduring legacy."—Sree Sreenivasan, former chief digital officer of New York City, theMetropolitan Museum of Art, and Columbia University
  • "What happens when people from different generations work and play and think together? Fresh ideas for tackling big societal problems, to start. But perhaps more importantly, Marc Freedman shows that intergenerational mixing can produce uniquely satisfying relationships for both the millennial and boomer alike. This book presents an inspiring vision for how we should each endeavor to reach up, across, and down the age bracket to form intergenerational friendships. They will enrich our lives and may even save the world."—Ben Casnocha, co-author (with Reid Hoffman) of the #1 New York Times bestseller, TheStartup of You: Adapt to the Future, Invest in Yourself, and Transform YourCareer
  • "Lace up your hiking boots and embark on a path of discovery with Marc Freedman as he traverses the movement of older people connecting with younger ones. His message will motivate you to find "purpose by investing in the next generation, forging a legacy that endures, and leaving the world better than we found it," as he writes in this influential book. How to Live Forever is about possibilities and hope and dreams and, yes, stark reality, clearly voiced by someone I trust and admire, and you will too."—Kerry Hannon, New York Times columnist and author of Great Jobs for Everyone 50+
  • "Age is not just a number. It's a beckoning. In Marc Freedman's wonderful book, we meet scores of people who've discovered a passion and purpose in the second half of their lives by helping the young thrive. They needn't be marvelous outliers or heartwarming exceptions. They can be all of us."—Paul Taylor, author of The Next America: Boomers, Millennials and the LoomingGenerational Showdown
  • "In a time of escalating social divides, it's not surprising that some forecast a future of intergenerational strife, an inevitable battle for resources and primacy. Marc Freedman sees it differently. In his latest and most compelling book, How to Live Forever, Freedman makes the case for generational interdependence-for the essential bond between old and young. For those in my generation, How to Live Forever is a call to action, offering powerful evidence that we can live more meaningful lives through connection with younger people and contribution to their health, education, and welfare."—Paul Irving, chairman of the Milken Institute Center for theFuture of Aging

On Sale
Nov 20, 2018
Page Count
224 pages

Marc Freedman

About the Author

Marc Freedman is CEO and president of, an organization he founded in 1998. Freedman is a member of the Wall Street Journal‘s “Experts” group, a frequent commentator in the national media, and the author of four previous books.

Originator of the encore career idea linking second acts to the greater good, Freedman cofounded Experience Corps to mobilize people over fifty to improve the school performance and prospects of low-income elementary school students in twenty-two US cities. He also spearheaded the creation of the Encore Fellowships program, a one-year fellowship helping individuals translate their midlife skills into second acts focused on social impact, and the Purpose Prize, an annual $100,000 prize for social entrepreneurs in the second half of life. (AARP now runs both Experience Corps and the Purpose Prize.)

Freedman was named Social Entrepreneur of the Year by the World Economic Forum and the Schwab Foundation, was recognized as one of the nation’s leading social entrepreneurs by Fast Company magazine three years in a row, and has been honored with the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship. He has been a visiting fellow at Stanford University, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, and King’s College, University of London. Freedman serves or has served on the boards and advisory councils of numerous groups, including the George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis, the Stanford University Distinguished Careers Institute, the Milken Institute’s Center for the Future of Aging, and the EnCorps STEM Teachers Program.

A high honors graduate of Swarthmore College, with an MBA from the Yale School of Management, Freedman lives in the San Francisco Bay area with his wife, Leslie Gray, and their three sons.

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