The best books to take your retirement to a new level

Why am I passionate about this?

Some retirement choices start out as great adventures but stall. The RV loses its sheen or the cruises begin to look alike. Some retirees actually finish the infamous to-do list or tire of golf. Some people avoid retiring because they’ve heard of those failures! My goal is to help people find meaning and purpose in the activities they undertake in retirement and avoid any pitfalls. The books I’ve chosen here have helped give me a great platform to work from. I’ve discovered that if you can be curious, reach out in empathy, and be determined to keep at the search for joy and meaning, you’ll find that retirement adventure of play and purpose.

I wrote...

Retire to Play and Purpose: How to have an amazing time going forward

By Ed Zinkiewicz,

Book cover of Retire to Play and Purpose: How to have an amazing time going forward

What is my book about?

Where will your retirement adventure take you? How will you fill the hours, deal with losses you will experience, and find a sense of purpose and significance?

Ed takes an honest look at things they don’t tell you at the retirement party: what to expect in retirement; questions to ask before you retire; where (and how) to find meaningful “work” to replace what was lost by leaving the job behind; managing the different stages of retirement; and ways to build joy and fulfillment into your life after work. You retire from work, but not from life. Your new life can become energizing, positive, healthful, and joyful—a great place to retire to!

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Happiness Is a Choice You Make: Lessons from a Year Among the Oldest Old

Ed Zinkiewicz Why did I love this book?

I am approaching my 80th birthday. Finding a reason to get up in the morning is challenged by loss. I don’t have the strength or endurance I once had. Friends and family are dying too soon and too fast. Some favorite activities have moved out of reach.

John Leland spent a year visiting six octogenarians. Each had their own challenges, comforts, successes, and losses. But, at the end of the day, they were happy. Reading this book is like a glimpse into a future. What will I have at the end of my day? What will you?

The book gives me hope and six ways to look at life’s twists and turns. As the years stack up, I want my likelihood of happiness to stack up as well.

By John Leland,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Happiness Is a Choice You Make as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A New York Times Bestseller!

An extraordinary look at what it means to grow old and a heartening guide to well-being, Happiness Is a Choice You Make weaves together the stories and wisdom of six New Yorkers who number among the “oldest old”―those eighty-five and up.

In 2015, when the award-winning journalist John Leland set out on behalf of The New York Times to meet members of America’s fastest-growing age group, he anticipated learning of challenges, of loneliness, and of the deterioration of body, mind, and quality of life. But the elders he met took him in an entirely different…

Book cover of Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work

Ed Zinkiewicz Why did I love this book?

My wife and I just moved into a retirement community. Wow! Big decision.

Luckily, we had Dan and Chip in our corner as we moved into this decision and felt out the options. The authors help guide you through the process with four major considerations: 

What are your options? The broader your options the better. What are your assumptions? Figure out why you shouldn’t do something instead of just why it looks good. Attain some distance. What will the paths you might take look like in years to come? Prepare to be wrong. Set a tripwire or two to test the correctness of your decision and plan remedies.

You may not have a lot of time to make a decision. Continual practice with these steps can smooth the path. Get started practicing.

By Chip Heath, Dan Heath,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Decisive as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Just making a decision can be hard enough, but how do you begin to judge whether it's the right one? Chip and Dan Heath, authors of #1 New York Times best-seller Switch, show you how to overcome your brain's natural shortcomings.

In Decisive, Chip and Dan Heath draw on decades of psychological research to explain why we so often get it very badly wrong - why our supposedly rational brains are frequently tripped up by powerful biases and wishful thinking. At the same time they demonstrate how relatively easy it is to avoid the pitfalls and find the best answers,…

Book cover of Younger Next Year: Live Strong, Fit, and Sexy Until You're 80 and Beyond

Ed Zinkiewicz Why did I love this book?

I was a professional couch-potato. I grew up with a clear choice: Use my head or use my feet. I ignored activity in my pursuit of more cerebral choices.

Despite the urgings of my loving family, the advice of others, and by-pass surgery, I continued my sedentary ways. It was only when I held my new grandson that I began to assess who I wanted to be as a role model.

Chris Crowley and Henry Lodge got me up off the couch and into activity. I have a better life because of their encouragement and detailed plans. 

You don’t have to be sedentary like me to appreciate this book. Turns out that you should do more as you run pel-mell into your senior years. Chris and Henry show you how you can step up your game.

By Christopher Crowley, Henry S. Lodge,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Younger Next Year as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Announcing the paperback edition of Younger Next Year, the New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, and Publishers Weekly bestseller, co-written by one of the country’s most prominent internists, Dr. Henry "Harry" Lodge, and his star patient, the 73-year-old Chris Crowley. These are the books that show us how to turn back our biological clocks—how to put off 70% of the normal problems of aging (weakness, sore joints, bad balance) and eliminate 50% of serious illness and injury.

The key to the program is found in Harry's Rules: Exercise six days a week. Don't eat crap. Connect and commit…

Book cover of Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones

Ed Zinkiewicz Why did I love this book?

Has life hit you in the face like a baseball bat? That literally happened to James Clear. From the steps he took to make his successful emergence as a thought leader and motivator, he guides us to understand four “laws” that will help build new habits and eliminate practices that hold us back.

Set your environment to succeed, e.g. Hide potato chips and display that apple instead. The habit you want needs to be irresistible. Polish that apple. Take the work out of doing the right thing.  Make sure doing your chosen activity feels good.

Dr. Clear has devised practical things that I can do to set my days in a good direction: eating better, writing more, exercising frequently. Discover the value of these laws yourself.

By James Clear,

Why should I read it?

23 authors picked Atomic Habits as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The #1 New York Times bestseller. Over 4 million copies sold!

Tiny Changes, Remarkable Results

No matter your goals, Atomic Habits offers a proven framework for improving--every day. James Clear, one of the world's leading experts on habit formation, reveals practical strategies that will teach you exactly how to form good habits, break bad ones, and master the tiny behaviors that lead to remarkable results.

If you're having trouble changing your habits, the problem isn't you. The problem is your system. Bad habits repeat themselves again and again not because you don't want to change, but because you have the…

Book cover of Mind Over Money: Overcoming the Money Disorders That Threaten Our Financial Health

Ed Zinkiewicz Why did I love this book?

Ted Klontz is a personal friend and sometime mentor. I’ve found the words of wisdom he and his son have put in this book very helpful for identifying some common money-spending pitfalls. Do you avoid risk or take too many, underspend, or overspend? 

Many of these behaviors have their roots in our lives at a very early age. What kinds of toys did we play with? How did they compare to the toys our friends had? How did our parents describe the poor in our neighborhood or treat the more well-off?

Uncover some of the causes that molded your treatment of money and earn a new freedom to make better decisions based on more balanced views.

By Brad Klontz, Ted Klontz,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Mind Over Money as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Do you overspend? Undersave? Keep secrets about money from a spouse or family member? Are you anxious about dealing with your finances? If so, you are not alone. Let's face it–just about all of have complicated, if not downright dysfunctional, relationships with money.

As Drs. Brad and Ted Klontz, a father and son team of pioneers in the emerging field of financial psychology explain, our disordered relationships with money aren’t our fault. They don’t stem from a lack of knowledge or a failure of will. Instead, they are a product of subconscious beliefs and thought patterns, rooted in our childhoods,…

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Book cover of The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever

Michael Bungay Stanier Author Of The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Coaching is a wonderful technology that can help people be a force for change… and is often wrapped up in mystic and woo-woo and privilege that makes it inaccessible and/or unattractive to too many. I want being more coach-like—by which I mean staying curious a little longer, and rushing to action and advice-giving—to be an everyday way of being with one another. Driven by this, I’ve written the best-selling book on coaching this century (The Coaching Habit) and have created training that’s been used around the world by more than a quarter of a million people. I’m on a mission to unweird coaching.

Michael's book list on unexpectedly useful books about coaching

What is my book about?

The coaching book that's for all of us, not just coaches.

It's the best-selling book on coaching this century, with 15k+ online reviews. Brené Brown calls it "a classic". Dan Pink said it was "essential".

It is practical, funny, and short, and "unweirds" coaching. Whether you're a parent, a teacher, a leader, or even a coach, you can stay curious longer.

By Michael Bungay Stanier,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Coaching Habit as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Look for Michael's new book, The Advice Trap, which focuses on taming your Advice Monster so you can stay curious a little longer and change the way you lead forever.

In Michael Bungay Stanier's The Coaching Habit, coaching becomes a regular, informal part of your day so managers and their teams can work less hard and have more impact.

Drawing on years of experience training more than 10,000 busy managers from around the globe in practical, everyday coaching skills, Bungay Stanier reveals how to unlock your peoples' potential. He unpacks seven essential coaching questions to demonstrate how-by saying less and…

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