The 20th century bequeathed us a fabulous gift: thirty more years of life on average. Supersized life spans will radically alter society, and present an unprecedented opportunity to change our approach not only to old age but to all of life’s stages. The ramifications are just beginning to dawn on us. But in the meantime, we keep thinking about, and planning for, life as it used to be lived.

In A Long Bright Future, longevity and aging expert Laura Carstensen guides us into the new possibilities offered by a longer life. She debunks the myths and misconceptions about aging that stop us from adequately preparing for the future both as individuals and as a society: that growing older is associated with loneliness and unhappiness, and that only the genetically blessed live well and long. She then focuses on other important components of a long life—including finances, health, social relationships, Medicare, and Social Security—challenging our preconceived notions of “old age” every step of the way.

“among the most praised psychological research in recent years is….Laura Carstensen’s work on happiness and aging.” —Los Angeles Times

“everyone should read and relish this empowering book. Carstensen’s conviction that it’s up to us to build a world in which we can live long, productive, and happy lives is revelatory…. In a world full of anxiety about aging, hers is a new and positive viewpoint.” —Library Journal