Encore: Finding Work That Matters in the Second Half of Life

Marc Freedman

PublicAffairs,  June 2007

Beverly Ryder left a corporate career to work on revitalizing the Los Angeles public schools. Robert Chambers left his job as a used car salesman to create a better way for poor people in New Hampshire to buy fuel-efficient cars. Ed Speedling left thirty years as a hospital executive and academic to help solve the problem of homelessness in Philadelphia.

In one of the most significant social trends of the new century, and the biggest transformation of the American workforce since the women's movement, members of the baby boom generation are inventing a new phase of work. If the old golden years dream was the freedom from work, the dream of this new wave is the freedom to work -- in new ways, on new terms, to new and even more important ends.

Encore tells the stories of Ryder, Speedling, Chambers, and other encore career pioneers who are not content, or affluent enough, to spend their next thirty years on a golf course. These men and women are moving beyond midlife careers yet refusing to phase out or fade away. They are searching for a calling in the second half of life, crafting a new phase of work that offers not only continued income but the promise of more meaning -- and the chance to do work that means something beyond themselves.

As their numbers swell, these individuals stand to transform the nature of work in America. They also hold the potential to create a society that balances the joys and responsibilities of contribution across the generations -- in other words, one that works better for all of us.

hardcover | ISBN: 9781586484835 | Publication Date: June 2007

"In this timely and important book, Marc Freedman overturns the conventional wisdom about work, retirement, and even the American Dream. If you're a boomer -- especially if you're a boomer running for president -- put Encore at the top of your reading pile. This is the rare book that can change the national conversation."
--Daniel H. Pink, author of A Whole New Mind and Free Agent Nation

"Many millions of maturing baby boomers will thank Marc Freedman for this warm, wise, compelling, and hopeful book. Encore contains both eye-opening stories and important guidance for policymakers, to ensure that people can continue to make meaningful contributions throughout their longer lifetimes."
--Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Harvard Business School, best-selling author of Confidence: How Winning Streaks & Losing Streaks Begin & End

"Sixty-four million baby boomers -- 40 percent of the current American workforce -- will begin to hit retirement age by 2010. They will be the largest, healthiest, longest-living, and best educated generation in American history -- to do what? Golf? Soldier on in old jobs? Or, adopting Freedman's inspirational idea, use their gifts and experience to build a better world through an 'encore career?' Featuring a series of moving life stories, Freedman makes a convincing case for a brilliant idea whose time has come."
--Arlie Hochschild, University of California, Berkeley, author of The Time Bind: When Work Is Home and Home Is Work, and The Commercialization of Intimate Life

"Marc Freedman is a plausible candidate for secular sainthood. For more than a decade this gifted social activist has worked toward an America in which aging boomers help themselves and their communities through community service -- what he calls 'the encore society.' This well-crafted book spells out the latest development of his thesis and illustrates it with compelling personal stories."
--Robert D. Putnam, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, and author of Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community

"Every movement needs a visionary, and baby boomers eager for meaningful second acts are lucky to have Marc Freedman. This remarkable book is as inspiring as it is important, as compelling for individuals as it is for society."
--Sherry Lansing, CEO, Sherry Lansing Foundation