Summary of The Big Shift

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Social entrepreneur Marc Freedman argues against the cultural perception that people pass directly from middle age into old age. Perhaps overoptimistically, he sees great hope for baby boomers during an “Encore Stage” when they make a broad societal contribution after the typical retirement age. The extension of healthy, productive years after age 60, he explains, has created a new type of midlife crisis. Coping with these years requires a “big shift” in thinking from baby boomers and society, not to mention the sociology experts who study such movements. Freedman’s reasoned, expert analysis of the encore stage leads getAbstract to recommend his insights to boomers who face the challenge of changing themselves and the world...again.

About the Author

Marc Freedman, CEO of Civic Ventures, also wrote Encore, Prime Time and The Kindness of Strangers.



“A New Map of Life”

Conventional thinking about typical life span no longer applies. In 1900, the life expectancy of an average American was 47 years. Today, Americans can expect to live almost into their 80s, and life expectancy may eventually approach 100. Yet even though people live longer and work past the “traditional retirement age,” no new definitions for the period between middle and old age have emerged.

People entering this phase of their lives experience a “gulf in identity.” No longer young or even middling, millions of baby boomers are considering new possibilities as they realize they’re not ready to retire. The challenge is generational and ongoing. Creating this new “Encore Stage” requires a shift in thinking and in societal perceptions.

Gathering No Moss

Cindy Moeller earned undergraduate degrees in sociology and education and worked for four years in public schools in Minnesota before getting a graduate degree in business management. She spent the next two decades in human resource jobs at high-tech companies. When Cindy was in her early 50s, her mother died, causing Cindy to question the purpose of her life. She had always planned to...

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