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Book Review: What Should I Do With the Rest of My Life ~ Bruce Frankel

It was a rainy dreary day and I just could not motivate myself to get into the tasks at hand.  With no real demands until dinner time, I grabbed this book from the Online Book Tours group, started a fire in the fireplace and curled up in my favorite chair.

What Should I Do With the Rest of My Life turned out to be a breath of fresh air and I read the whole book, cover to cover that very day.   Now the subtitle of the book is:  True Stories of Finding success, Passion, and New Meaning in the Second Half of Life and it fit the bill to a tee.  True Stories I enjoy very much and finding success and meaning in life, this book was a wonder full read.

The book is about 14, if you include the author 15, people who lived fairly ordinary lives and did the right thing and what was expected of them.  Then they turned 60 and along their journey they bumped into their passion and lived out their hopes and fulfilled the dream.  All of the stories are about people who are ahead of the baby boom generation and will provide inspiration for those who come along after.   I include the author because the idea for this book just bumped into him.


Here is a list of the passions discovered:  becoming a documentary film maker ( I start here because the first film she made was about Granny D who at 89 walked across the USA to highlight the need for campaign finance reform – Granny D died at age 100 March 10,2010),  became a Psychologist, adopted a New England village for her home and assisted the woman in a village in Ghana with micro loans and education, published a bestselling novel at age 94 and the sequel at age 98, started running in marathons, 86 year old park ranger-community activist, recycled furniture to those in need, became a 2nd grade teacher, developed into a renown stone carver, became an art expert/collector and started her own museum, opened a diner where people could re-connect and renew the community spirit after 9/11, and a civil servant who became a professional dancer.  Is that not an amazing list?

It started me thinking about the folks, I know like my friend Carol Ann who at 73 does triathlons and gets up every morning at 5:30am to train and keep fit.  I am going to share this book with her.

Bruce Frankel was between projects when he and a friend over coffee started focusing in on ideas of things they could write.  His friend took another direction and Frankel continued on with this book idea.

Frankel has a website if you would wish to know more, and a blog.

I was inspired by this book as I feel like I have not missed out on realizing my passion and I have been thinking about this book ever since completing it.  Where do I want to put my energies now that I am over 60 and the children are launched and my partner is busy with his passion (bike riding and drawing)  I feel excited about the possibilities.

I am going  to share the quote I found most inspiring with you and I think one will find it on each book review you read about this book.  This is what the folks have in common:

“As unique as each is, as a group the individuals in What Should I do with the rest of my Life?  Have done what the scientists tell us we should do:  they maintain healthy diets, exercise regularly, challenge themselves, fill their lives with novel experiences and varied social connections.  They, are for the most part, thin.  They like to dance and to exercise.  They tend to be more spiritual than religious.  Even those who are of a more solitary nature interact and communicate daily with extensive networks of people.  And despite occasional complaint about minor forgetfulness, they have exquisite memories.  Listening closely to their own desires, and not to prescriptions for aging well, they have followed their own curiosity on paths of learning and discovery.  And in doing so, they have fed their passions and given themselves permission to achieve success.”

Others who are reviewing this book for TLC Book Tour:
March 8: Silver and Grace
March 9: Journey and Ohh… Books!
March 11th: A Garden Carried in My Pocket
March 17th:  Truth 2 Being Fit
March 18th: Patricia’s Wisdom
March 22: Erasing the bored
March 23: Jane Be Nimble
March 24th:  Luxury Reading
March 25th: Happy Lotus

What Should I Do With the Rest of My Life is available for purchase through Amazon by clicking on the icon on this post or on the recommended reading column of Patricia’s Wisdom.

What passion do you think you will pursue in the later part of your life?

Feel free to share this review on Twitter, Facebook  or other spots by clicking on the green Share button

26 Responses to “Book Review: What Should I Do With the Rest of My Life ~ Bruce Frankel”

  1. Hilary Says:

    Hi Patricia .. sounds just exactly like the book you needed – showing us what we can do .. and certainly I loved your review – an excellent book to read. I shall definitely add it to my list and will look forward to reading it in due course. I love your quoted passage .. fits me to a T!! Thank you .. Hilary
    .-= Hilary´s last blog ..Steak, Kidney and Oyster Pudding with a Stout Porter? =-.

  2. Tony Single Says:

    Patricia, in answer to your question, I’m afraid my potential passion would be a tad unrealistic. Later in my life I wouldn’t mind being a folk singer.

    Thing is, I can’t sing worth a damn. Rats. 😛
    .-= Tony Single´s last blog ..Empty Balloons =-.

  3. Adrenalynn Says:

    I categorically avoid reading books like this because I know I’m not living the life I want. And I’m afraid to face that fact. Stupid, right?
    .-= Adrenalynn´s last blog ..The Gallery: True Colors =-.

  4. Meggin Says:

    Loved your post!
    Lucky ME..I am doing and living what I want to do for the rest of my life!
    I went to college to become a nurse and after 8 years of working in the hospital, I took a break and never went back.
    Now I feed people and celebrate LIFE with them, sing for them and if they get sick, I just go visit them and listen to their stories.
    What a beautiful gift I am blessed with to be able to live the life I love. Everyday is an adventure! Everyday I wake up smiling! And almost everyday, I learn a new recipe and a song!
    And the icing on the cake….many many friends like YOU!
    I highly recommend living the life you love!

  5. Mama Zen Says:

    This sounds really inspiring!

  6. Talon Says:

    That sounds like a truly inspiring read, Patricia.

    I’ve been lucky to live my passions…so varied, but all important…and I hope to continue and maybe find a few new ones on my journey. It’s the unknown of life that always intrigues me – all the fabulous experiences yet to reveal themselves.
    .-= Talon´s last blog ..Good things… =-.

  7. Patricia Says:

    This is a very fun read and through the sharing of their stories, one can find how they prepared themselves for their passionate journey and then it just magically bumped into them – I think you would enjoy this read very much

    You would be amazed. The fellow who ended up being the dancer was a government worker doing the “right” thing to care for his family for years and years…and then…his children are a bit upset because he is not staying at home caring for his wife 24/7….he is in demand and on tour so much of the year…You never know?

    This book gave me hope that I might bump into my passion, because I went many years doing the “right” thing and the responsible thing – I just know it is training for being ready to bump into my passion and it will all be worthwhile….now I am just worried that I might no live long enough. I so want to make a difference in the world to more than just 6 people…sometimes we don’t every everything in the order that we would like it or when we would like it, but it is all building…building. You would be amazed when reading this book…

    Yes! I think you are living out your passion and doing it all. Cooking and singing and loving people….Yep, you will be in the next book – highlighted :)

    I think you too are a person who is living variations of your passions and joy….your curiosity will keep you discovering each new adventure along the way

  8. Patricia Says:

    Mama Zen,
    It was very inspiring for me….

  9. Bruce Says:

    Dear Patricia – Thank you for the generous review of my book today. I greatly appreciate it.
    In the end, writing the book was a bonus for me. The people I profiled were the true gift, not only because of what they did but because of who they became in the process.
    I sympathize with Adrenalynn’s aversion to books like mine. I had similar feelings not long before I began What Should I Do With The Rest of My Life? And for precisely the same reasons.
    But one of the great lessons in researching the book and spending time with its subjects was how incremental the process of doing something meaningful with one’s life can be. Some of the folks in the book had a vision they pursued. Others followed a new passion. There are those like runner Margie Stoll, of Nashville, or sculptor Ted Ludwiczak, of Haverstraw, NY, whose gift seemed instantly on display. But even they have to do the hard, repetitious learning, practicing, and work to make the most of their gifts. They, too, evolved. Though each of the subjects came to have a goal, I think they were all a little surprised by how far and how deep they traveled, and how much what they did came to serve so many and be embraced widely.
    I wish you all such journeys. And thank you again, Patricia, for your kind comments.
    ~ Bruce Frankel
    .-= Bruce´s last blog ..Thomas Dwyer and Dance Exchange Make “Language” in Sheboygan =-.

  10. Mark Says:

    This sounds like a great book! I am adding it to my reading list.
    .-= Mark´s last blog ..Asking Better Questions to Get Better Answers =-.

  11. Patricia Says:

    Many thanks for coming on by and commenting on this book review. I don’t very often inspire the real deal to drop on by and check out what I said :)

    I very much enjoyed this book and feel as though I am at a new starting point in my life so the stories inspired me – yep we all have to do the work and some of it involves practicing.

    When I was home with small children like Adrenalynn I often felt like I was wasting my time or not doing all that I could be doing, but I see now that I was filling up the reservoir with great lessons.

    I enjoyed reading your words very much – wished for a piece of pie – and thank you for coming on by and commenting. Let’s hope we sell a lot of books, because I think these are important stories.

  12. Patricia Says:

    Hey folks, I just clicked over to Bruce’s blog and he has a short video of Thomas Dancing – it adds so much to the book Head on over and take a look!

  13. Patricia Says:

    I think you will enjoy this one very much. Do click on over to see one of the folks in the book doing a dance program – on Bruce’s blog post…very interesting work

  14. Chris Edgar Says:

    Thanks for this — what occurs to me as I read it is that age and other characteristics of “me” like height and weight totally fade into the background when I’m doing something that really brings my creative energy out. I hope that’s still true in six decades or so when I’m in my 90s. :)

  15. Davina Says:

    Hi Patricia.
    Your opening paragraph is just DREAMY 😀 Aren’t those the perfect days for reading? Love em! And to carry that through the reading of this entire book… you’ve bonded with that book in a deeper way I bet. Okay, so I sound like a flake right now. So what? The later part of my life? I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it… but it will involve me… only better…
    .-= Davina´s last blog ..Not Impressed with Online Dating =-.

  16. Patricia Says:

    I think this is a good read at any age about when you discover something you wish to do and pursue it – the whole you can soar and make a difference. I went over to the authors blog and watched a 2 minute segment of the 75+ dancers performance – amazing.

  17. Patricia Says:

    Rainy Lazy Days are just perfect read days and this was a great read. Yes, I felt hopeful for myself reading this book- good folks who made it over the mountain pass and found a joy later in life.
    It does involve a better you…

  18. jannie Funster Says:

    Oh!! I know I’d just LOVE that one!!!! Felt so great and inspired reading your review.

    It does not surprise me — the list of what the folks have in common.

    THANK YOU — I can’t wait to read it!


  19. Patricia Says:

    A very fun book and just what I needed to read right now. Hope you enjoy it :)

  20. suzen Says:

    Hi Patricia! Late to the party as always – haha! I was part of the tour and see that you did a much better job of this than I did – oopps – I totally didn’t link up the way I should have! Call me the rookie at this that I am – sorry Bruce! I’ve read so many books like this (many biographies) that I guess I was not as inspired as some from this one. Oh welllllll……..

  21. Patricia Says:

    I think I am inspired by this book and all these books because I am hoping someone will be inspired by what I accomplish now that I am 60…
    Not all the book tour books have been a joy for me to read…but this particular tour group have been right in line for me and my friends at the gym :)

    I will come over and take a look too

  22. Lisa Munley Says:

    Hi Patricia! I’m so glad you found the book inspiring! Thanks so much for all the time you spent reading/reviewing What Should I Do with the Rest of My Life. We greatly appreciate it! Love the conversation it sparked too!
    .-= Lisa Munley´s last blog ..TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS for March 22nd – 26th =-.

  23. Patricia Says:

    I enjoyed the book very much. Yes! I thought the conversation was delightful. You are welcome

  24. Bruce Frankel Says:

    Patricia — Thought you might enjoy seeing how much The Boston Globe’s Caroline Leavitt agreed with your review in the Sunday Book Review today: http://bit.ly/a2rkqN

    All the best,


  25. Patricia Says:

    Thank you – that was a good review and springs up more hope on the forefront!

  26. Bruce Frankel, author of What Should I Do With the Rest of My Life, on tour March 2010 | TLC Book Tours Says:

    […] Thursday, March 18th: Patricia’s Wisdom […]