STARRED REVIEW
December 03, 2020

The New Long Life

By Andrew J. Scott & Lynda Gratton

London Business School economist Andrew J. Scott and his colleague, psychologist Lynda Gratton, offer a lively, thought-provoking survey of a world in which life and work will be fundamentally altered by increasing longevity and rapidly changing technology.

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In The New Long Life: A Framework for Flourishing in a Changing World, London Business School economist Andrew J. Scott and his colleague, psychologist Lynda Gratton, offer a lively, thought-provoking survey of a world in which life and work will be fundamentally altered by increasing longevity and rapidly changing technology.

Building their discussion around composite characters they call “everybodies”—like Tom, a 40-year-old truck driver from Texas who ponders the impact of autonomous vehicles on his employment, or Radhika, a single college graduate in her late 20s working as a professional freelancer in Mumbai—Scott and Gratton focus on the transition from a traditional “three-stage life” (education, work, retirement) to a multistage one that will present both individuals and institutions with new opportunities and challenges.

As they explain, relying on examples drawn principally from developed societies around the world, individuals will be living longer as the future progresses and having relatively good health for more of those added years. This will require them to become “social pioneers,” “looking forward, building insight, facing truths, and unflinchingly looking at what is and what could be” in both their personal and working lives. In concrete terms, Gratton and Scott explain how the careers of the future won’t simply involve ascending a corporate ladder with experience and seniority, or perhaps shifting to a different company within an established industry. Instead, workers will likely find themselves alternating periods of employment with time out of the workforce, with some of that hiatus used to acquire skills that will enable them to cope with evolving technologies.

Pointing to the “malleability of age” in this world of expanding longevity, Scott and Gratton are ardent critics of biases that consign workers to obsolescence based solely on chronological age. They also offer thoughtful proposals for how corporations and governments might respond to these new realities. With the world confronting an economic crisis brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, it’s refreshing to encounter two original thinkers who can envision a brighter future, albeit one with its own daunting problems.

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The New Long Life

The New Long Life

By Andrew J. Scott & Lynda Gratton
Bloomsbury
ISBN 9781635577143

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