The Big 100: The New World of Super-Aging

Diversion. Oct. 2023. 304p. ISBN 9781635768565. $28.99. SOC SCI
In his debut book, award-winning journalist Kole, a former foreign correspondent, points to this historical era, in which more and more people are reaching the age of l00 and beyond. Kole is known for telling the world about the longest-living person, France’s Jeanne Calment, who died in 1997 after living 122 years and 164 days. In this book, he expertly examines the concept of what he calls “super-aging” and how it impacts people, including children and grandchildren, as his statistics show that the United States’ population of people older than 65 will soon outnumber people who are 17 and younger. Kole doesn’t just focus on age; he delves into such topics as loneliness too. For example, his research reveals that most older people think loneliness is just a part of aging or something they are forced into by social and workplace discrimination. But the book acknowledges that loneliness can lead to isolation and feelings of uselessness, which can cause one’s mental and physical health to deteriorate. The conditions of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia can also be contributing factors. Kole also doesn’t shy away from discussing why it’s white people who appear to be living the longest.
VERDICT A brilliant study on aging that’s destined to become a classic.
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