Book Review: Recommended Reading – “Old Age: A Beginner’s Guide”

Book Review: Recommended Reading

“Old Age: A Beginner’s Guide”

By Michael Kinsley

Reviewed by Carol Cioe Klyman, Esq.

This collection of essays, some of which appeared in The New Yorker Magazine, is a deeply personal book by a gifted and entertaining writer faced with a potentially monstrous old age. Despite his diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease 2 decades ago, Michael Kinsley is surprisingly update and optimistic. Now in his 60s, he approaches living with a progressive illness as an adventure and growing old as the ultimate competition, given that death is inevitable. The chapters in this book are loosely organized around what he calls the “Boomer Olympics.” Does the oldest person win? Or is it the manner in which one has lived and the purpose of one’s life that separates the winners from the losers? His take at this point: Success is rare in more than one of the three categories of competition – longevity, cognition, and reputation – and success in two of the three is due more to luck than to effort.