Retirement Redesigned

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Saturday, June 22, 2024

Retirement Redesigned

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Music To My Years

Each One of Us Has a Story to Tell

Anyone can be a writer and publish a book themselves

A note from Johann

It is a secret wish that many people have. To write a book. And then to see it published and sold in bookshops. What stops us all is the fear that no one will want to read it and no publisher will want to publish it. In retirement, the urge to write and to give an account of your thoughts on life and on your own experience of it becomes even stronger for many older adults.

Our recent webinar guest, Steve Hall, gave sage advice on this matter. He has written and self-published his first book, Another Set Of Lenses. In it, he shows how our actions are influenced by our beliefs and the lenses through which we see the world. We can decide to change our behavior and what we do by changing the lenses with which we look at a situation. His book is packed with personal tales from inspiring personalities and interesting characters he has met along the way. All of his encounters have helped Steve build a personal philosophy which he expands on in this gem of a book.

When we asked Steve for advice on becoming a writer and on self-publishing, he said the important thing is just to start. To tell your story. Start writing. In his case, he combined many stories of his background experiences with the positive input gleaned from his experience at the Covey Leadership Foundation and in his year facilitating leadership experiences since.

For your own writing journey, you can refer to diaries and journals if you’re interested in writing a memoir or you can set about writing a work of fiction. Once you know what you would like to write about and you have the outline of a script, there are many online services which can facilitate the entire process of self-publishing. From designing a cover, to proofreading and even registering an ISBN number. There’s an entire menu of services available so we can even publish a book which we only intend to be read by our families.

Steve indicated he would be happy to answer questions our Reset audience may have about the writing and self-publishing process. You can contact him via his website which is

Click here to watch the webinar on our Facebook page

In preparation for retirement, there is a wealth of wisdom and information available to us in great works of literature. We explore a few titles we have found informative, entertaining, and relevant to the challenges faced by retirees making the transition from full-time work. Read along with us, tell us your thoughts on these works, and let us know if there are books you’d like us to review.

Our top 3 article picks this week:

Reviewed: The 100-Year Life by Lynda Gratton and Andrew Scott

Hand climbing up a staircase to the sky
Elephants in a field to symbolize living to 100 years

Our take:
In this book, Lynda Gratton and Andrew Scott give guidance to help society navigate the changing landscape we face with increased longevity. We think this is a great read for our Reset audience because we are the at the vanguard of this phenomenon.

Article excerpt:
The 100-Year Life: Living and Working in an Age of Longevity gives useful advice on how to adjust to these changes and how to manage the inevitable confusion that it will generate. It also shows how society is going to change and how this will affect institutions like marriage and family life based on new needs. There will be new jobs types and unique skills. People will work more easily from home and there will be greater originality in the way careers are to change. Companies will have to adjust and HR departments are in for many challenges.

Older age used to be something to lament, or even to curse. In our youth focused culture, a long life has not, until now, seemed all that attractive. But this is changing and with a longer time perspective ahead of them, people are now becoming creative and more willing to see the positive side of elderhood. There is no need to plan your life in lockstep with everyone else. A hundred year life is possible now for many people. Also, for our children and, in due course, their children. It is a gift and will probably become the expectation rather than the exception. One question we ask is how will this affect retirement? Already, retiring at around sixty-five seems to be an outdated corporate policy.

We perch on an interesting cusp where societal views on aging will need to change in order to accommodate the shifting demographics. Though we still face rampant agism and live in age segregation unlike any previous generation, we can adapt to changing circumstances and lead the charge in changing attitudes about aging.
Click here to read the full review on

How To Live Forever: Marc Freedman’s Book on Intergenerational Connection

A baby elephant and parent elephant walking through the field
A hand climbing a ladder to symbolize the climb of living forever

Our take:
Rather than being a book title about the search for the fountain of youth, March Freedman writes about living on through intergenerational connection. His book is rich with historical and cultural insights which illustrate how we came to live in a time of age separation which he believes robs us of opportunities for meaning. He uses a variety of inspiring stories to illustrate the benefit which we can find through intergenerational connection. This book is for anyone wanting a road map for greater meaning in the increasing years beyond our 50s.

Article excerpt:
Open this revolutionary book and you’ll be faced with some complex, but important, questions.

“With so many living so much longer, what is the meaning of the increasing years beyond 50? How can a society with more older people than younger ones thrive? How do we find happiness when we know life is long and time is short?”

How to Live Forever: The Enduring Power of Connecting the Generations offers vital answers to these questions. On issues that relate to ageing and society, author Marc Freedman advocates for more intergenerational connection to promote happiness and wellbeing for all.
Freedman shows how society tends to segregate the generations, by ‘placing’ older people in retirement communities and residential aged care. He goes on to show how and why this age segregation is so harmful. Institutional living can create and exacerbate isolation and loneliness among older people, but also robs younger generations of mentors that would provide vibrant support and wisdom.

Freedman’s book helps the reader see the opportunities that lie in our older years, offering an alternative to damaging, negative mainstream narratives about retirement and later life.

As you turn these engaging pages, Freedman develops his argument on how intergenerational collaboration can be the key to positive change in people’s lives. Through vivid personal accounts, he illustrates how older people can take on mentoring roles to benefit themselves and younger people alike. In these roles, older people share their experiences and life lessons with younger generations, contributing to a society that is better equipped to thrive.
Click here to read the full article on

Reviewed: Another Set of Lenses by Steve Hall

Sunglasses to symbolize the lenses mentioned in the book

Our take:
This is a book about stories and relationships. Our relationships with ourselves and others and how we see the world shapes our own story. This book is filled with gems observed by the keen observational eye of the author. While not specifically written for retirement, it can benefit us in times of transition and when we need our worldview adjusted.

Article excerpt:
Another set of lenses by Steve Hall is packed with insights gleaned from his keen observational eye . His many interests such as tracking in the bush, and years of experience in leadership facilitation have given him the ability to hone in on the kernel of a story.

In this, his first book, he weaves together many stories and characters he’s collected over the years. He uses them to illustrate six polarities, each of which has two opposing views on how we might experience the world.

As the title suggests, the stories he tells gives us the opportunity to view each opposing view through a different lens or perspective. But first, he explains his motivation for writing. He had one memorable and seminal meeting with Nelson Mandela as a young adult. He remembers something the statesman said to him that helped give him direction.

‘You did what you did with the information you had at the time. The question is what are you going to do from now on?’

He explains that human behaviour and motivation can be boiled down to three simple words. See. Do. Get.

How we see the world affects how we act – what we do – and our actions determine our outcome – what we get. And if we want to change our outcomes, we need to change our outlook.
Click here to read the full review on

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Hands of an elderly women next to her phone

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Other highlights for the week:

Most Popular Daily Thought

I kept always two books in my pocket, one to read, one to write in. – Robert Louis Stevenson
Robert Louis Stevenson said he was living with words. He was either reading them or writing them to try and fit appropriate words to his observations. Many avid readers read actively by making notes while reading. Some do this for better memory recall. Other to add their own thoughts to what they’re reading. In some cases this leads to publishing books of their own. I like the idea of having an active role in the process. Not only consuming works but producing as well – even if just my own thoughts to the process. Somehow I imagine the writers enjoy initiating this exchange.
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Quote by Robert Louis Stevenson – I kept always two books in my pocket, one to read, one to write in.

Weekly Question

Last week’s question:
Name a book that changed your life?
Some of the responses we received:
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
The Bible
Dark Clouds and Silver Linings Archibald D. Hart
A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry
Heal Your Back Pain by John Sarno
Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande
The hiding place by Corrie Ten Boom
I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai and Christina Lamb
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
Enchanted Summer by Adrienne Crow
The Gift by Dr Edith Eger
Your Money or Your Life by Joseph R. Dominguez and Vicki Robin
The Death and Life of Charlie St Cloud by Ben Sherwood
The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron
The Happiest Man on Earth by Eddie Jaku
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
The Road less Traveled by M. Scott Peck
Go Ask Alice by Beatrice Sparks
Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
The New Personality Self-Portrait: Why You Think, Work, Love and Act the Way You Do by John M. Oldham and Lois B. Morris
Who Moved My Cheese by Spencer Johnson

This week’s questions:
Tell us about a business you (want to get) started in retirement.
Click here to answer the question in our Facebook group


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Johann is the founding partner of Reset Retirement where we focus on assisting people with planning for the non-financial aspects of their lives after full-time work. He had a long career in executive search and leadership as the founding partner and chairman of Heidrick & Struggles in South Africa where he was the head of the company’s board practice.