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How to Live

A Search for Wisdom from Old People (While They Are Still on This Earth)

Regular Price $13.99

Regular Price $16.99 CAD

Regular Price $13.99

Regular Price $16.99 CAD

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On Sale

Jan 5, 2010

Page Count

288 Pages




In this witty guide for seekers of all ages, author Henry Alford seeks instant enlightenment through conversations with those who have lived long and lived well.

Armed with recent medical evidence that supports the cliche that older people are, indeed, wiser, Alford sets off to interview people over 70–some famous (Phyllis Diller, Harold Bloom, Edward Albee), some accomplished (the world’s most-quoted author, a woman who walked across the country at age 89 in support of campaign finance reform), some unusual (a pastor who thinks napping is a form of prayer, a retired aerospace engineer who eats food out of the garbage.) Early on in the process, Alford interviews his 79 year-old mother and step-father, and inadvertently changes the course of their 36 year-long union. Part family memoir, part Studs Terkel, How To Live considers some unusual sources–deathbed confessions, late-in-life journals–to deliver a highly optimistic look at our dying days. By showing that life after 70 is the fulfillment of, not the end to, life’s questions and trials, How to Live delivers that most unexpected punch: it makes you actually want to get older.

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Time spent reading How to Live will not be regretted by those of any age. The book succeeds both as an accessible survey of wisdom and the personal journey of a midlife man who, like many of us, is trying to see the road ahead with the assistance of the rearview mirror of those who precede him.—LA Times
Alford has a powerful, personal story to tell.—NYT
Genial, self-deprecating, consistently witty and entertaining . . . The author artfully threads his personal story through the narrative.—Denver Post
Henry Alford, with his quirky sensibility in full flower, details what he discovered in his odyssey among America's elders in an engaging and illuminating new memoir.—Seattle Post Intelligencer
While Alford's intellectual nimbleness puts him on par with Wilde and Benchley, his personal investment infuses HOW TO LIVE with an emotional expansiveness uniquely his own.—Vanity Fair
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