Pearls of Wisdom: Seniors share advice for living
By MARY JACOBS
Karl Pillemer is a little embarrassed he didn’t dream up the idea sooner.
As a gerontologist at Cornell University, he spends a good bit of his time talking with elders; as a self-confessed advice junkie, he devours lots of self-help books. But it wasn’t until he turned 50 that he connected the dots: Why not harvest the wisdom of older people for advice on living well?
“We have a generation of people who lived through the Depression and World War II,” he says. “Why wouldn’t we ask them about how to live through hard times? It’s astonishing to me that we don’t.”
Pillemer and his team have interviewed or surveyed more than 1,500 people, ages 70 and up — including 50 or so from the Dallas-Fort Worth area — about life lessons they’ve learned.
The result is Pillemer’s 2011 book, 30 Lessons for Living: Tried and True Advice From the Wisest Americans, which condenses the gathered wisdom into chapters on marriage, children, aging well and other topics.
What he’s doing, Pillemer says, isn’t new.
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