Pros: Humorous and quirky accounting of a personal search for wisdom.
Cons: Book takes a nap in the middle.
It wouldn't hurt to ask an older person a question now and again. You just might learn ... something.
With How to Live - A Search for Wisdom from Old People (While They are Still On This Earth), author Henry Alford set out to find that which many people don't have: wisdom. Be it experience or something else, or the ability to recognize patterns of behavior and situations as they happen, older people (above 70) have something to offer ... if we take the time to listen to them.
Though his search for wisdom becomes something else midstream and runs out of gas here and there (Alford's family matters intrude on his quest and change story's focus a bit), How to Live (2009, Twelve Books, 272 pages) is a pretty good snapshot of the personal philosophies that make old people tick (search for ideas and meaning, frugality, exploration, politics, research, activism, eccentricity, spirituality, and f-u-n) and what they've learned along the way.
Alford handles the personal aspects of his tale with humor and honesty. Not all his journeys wind up how he thought they would but the book is an enjoyable and quirky diversion nonetheless. (three stars)