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