Synopses & Reviews
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.
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
In this witty guide, Alford seeks instant enlightenment through those who have lived long and lived well. Armed with recent medical evidence that supports the clich that older people are, indeed, wiser, he sets off to interview people over 70 to glean from their knowledge.
About the Author
Henry Alford is the author of two acclaimed works of investigative humor--Big Kiss: One Actor's Desperate Attempt to Claw His Way to the Top and Municipal Bondage: One Man's Anxiety-Producing Adventures in the Big City. He has been a regular contributor to the New York Times and Vanity Fair, and a staff writer at Spy. He has also written for The New Yorker, GQ, New York, Details, Harper's Bazaar, Travel and Leisure, the Villiage Voice, and Paris Review.