How to Live: a Search for Wisdom From Old People (While They are Still on This Earth)

Henry Alford
Star Rating
Reviewer's Rating
Jun 24, 2009

Alford’s exploration of what constitutes wisdom and where it comes from read a little more lightly than I would have expected. While Alford has done his research and shares many of the gems he has gleaned from his reading, I didn’t feel enlightened. His experiences during his mother’s divorce and his interviews with the elderly are entertaining, but they impart no wisdom in the end. I would be more impressed with How to Live had I not recently read The Geography of Bliss, in which Eric Weiner visits places deemed happiest by the Institute of World Happiness. The research provided a consistent thread for Weiner to base his plan of action upon. Alford’s use of his mother’s relationship, in contrast, felt a little forced. Overall, this is a nice read for a quiet weekend, but not one that carries the weight implied by the title.

Reviewed by Helen H.
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