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This Chair Rocks
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About the Author

My first serious book, Cutting Loose: Why Women Who End Their Marriages Do So Well, was published by HarperCollins in 1997. Ms. magazine called it "rocket fuel for launching new lives," and it landed me on Phyllis Schlafly's Eagle Forum enemies list. It also got me invited to join the board of the nascent Council on Contemporary Families, a group of distinguished family scholars. I belonged to the Artist's Network of Refuse & Resist group that originated the anti-Iraq-invasion slogan and performance pieces titled "Our Grief is Not a Cry for War." As a contributing editor of IEEE Spectrum magazine, I went to Laos to cover a village getting internet access via a bicycle-powered computer. Since 2000 I've been on staff at the American Museum of Natural History, where I write about everything under the Sun. The catalyst for Cutting Loose was puzzlement: why was our notion of women's lives after divorce (visualize depressed dame on barstool) so different from the happy and energized reality? A similar question gave rise to This Chair Rocks: why is our view of late life so unrelievedly grim when the lived reality is so different? I began blogging about aging and ageism in 2007 and started speaking on the subject in July, 2012, which is also when I started the Yo, Is This Ageist? blog. During that time I've become a Knight Fellow, a New York Times Fellow, and a fellow at Yale Law School; I've written for Harper's, Playboy, and many other publications; and I've been recognized by the New York Times, National Public Radio, and the American Society on Aging as an expert on ageism. In 2015 I was included in a list of 100 inspiring women-along with Arundhati Roy, Aung Sang Suu Kyi, Germaine Greer, Naomi Klein, Pussy Riot, and other remarkable activists-who are committed to social change.

Reviews

"Wow. This book totally rocks. It arrived on a day when I was in deep confusion and sadness about my age-62. Everything about it, from my invisibility to my neck. Within four or five wise, passionate pages, I had found insight, illumination and inspiration. I never use the word empower, but this book has empowered me." - Anne Lamott, New York Times best-selling author "Vibrant, energetic, fact-filled and funny, This Chair Rocks is a call to arms not just for older people but for our whole society." - Katha Pollitt, poet, essayist and Nation columnist "Sometimes a writer does us all a great favor and switches on a light. Snap! The darkness vanishes and, in its place we find an electric vision of new ways of living. I want to live in a world where ageism is just a memory, and This Chair Rocks illuminates the path." - Dr. Bill Thomas, founder of Changing Aging "This Chair Rocks is radical, exuberant and full of all sorts of facts that erase many of the myths and beliefs about late life. As Applewhite defines and describes ageism, new ways of seeing and being in the world emerge, empowering everyone to see things as they really are." - Laurie Anderson, artist "A knowledgeable, straight-talking, and witty book that briskly explains to anyone how-wrong-we-are-about-aging. There's radical news here to enlighten the most "done" starlet, and tart turns of phrase to captivate the most expert age critic: 'All aging is "successful"-not just the sporty version-otherwise you're dead.' This pithy primer ought ideally to be given to every American adolescent-to inoculate them against the lies and stereotypes that can spoil the long life course they will all want." - Margaret Morganroth Gullette, author of Aged by Culture and the prize-winning Agewise and Declining to Decline "Ashton Applewhite is a visionary whose time has come, tackling one of the most persistent biases of our day with originality, verve, and humor. Her magic formula of naming and shaming may just shake all of us out of complacency and it into action. Whether you relate through being older now or recognize that aging is in your future, this is one of the most important books you'll ever read." -Marc Freedman, CEO of Encore.org and author of The Big Shift: Navigating the New Life Stage Before Midlife "A smart and stirring call to add ageism to the list of 'isms' that divide us, and to mobilize against it. Applewhite shows how ageism distorts our view of old age, and urges us to challenge age- based prejudices in ourselves and in society. An important wake-up call for any baby boomer who's apprehensive about growing old." -Pepper Schwartz, Professor of Sociology, University of Washington and AARP's Official Love & Relationship Ambassador "An eloquent and well-researched expose of the prejudice that feeds age bias, and a passionate argument to mobilize against it. This must-read book is also a fun-read for every age. -Stephanie Coontz, author, The Way We Never Were: American families and the Nostalgia Trap." "Wow. This book totally rocks. It arrived on a day when I was in deep confusion and sadness about my age-62. Everything about it, from my invisibility to my neck. Within four or five wise, passionate pages, I had found insight, illumination and inspiration. I never use the word empower, but this book has empowered me." - Anne Lamott, New York Times best-selling author "Vibrant, energetic, fact-filled and funny, This Chair Rocks is a call to arms not just for older people but for our whole society." - Katha Pollitt, poet, essayist and Nation columnist "Sometimes a writer does us all a great favor and switches on a light. Snap! The darkness vanishes and, in its place we find an electric vision of new ways of living. I want to live in a world where ageism is just a memory, and This Chair Rocks illuminates the path." - Dr. Bill Thomas, founder of Changing Aging "This Chair Rocks is radical, exuberant and full of all sorts of facts that erase many of the myths and beliefs about late life. As Applewhite defines and describes ageism, new ways of seeing and being in the world emerge, empowering everyone to see things as they really are." - Laurie Anderson, artist "A knowledgeable, straight-talking, and witty book that briskly explains to anyone how-wrong-we-are-about-aging. There's radical news here to enlighten the most "done" starlet, and tart turns of phrase to captivate the most expert age critic: 'All aging is "successful"-not just the sporty version-otherwise you're dead.' This pithy primer ought ideally to be given to every American adolescent-to inoculate them against the lies and stereotypes that can spoil the long life course they will all want." - Margaret Morganroth Gullette, author of Aged by Culture and the prize-winning Agewise and Declining to Decline "Ashton Applewhite is a visionary whose time has come, tackling one of the most persistent biases of our day with originality, verve, and humor. Her magic formula of naming and shaming may just shake all of us out of complacency and it into action. Whether you relate through being older now or recognize that aging is in your future, this is one of the most important books you'll ever read." -Marc Freedman, CEO of Encore.org and author of The Big Shift: Navigating the New Life Stage Before Midlife "A smart and stirring call to add ageism to the list of 'isms' that divide us, and to mobilize against it. Applewhite shows how ageism distorts our view of old age, and urges us to challenge age- based prejudices in ourselves and in society. An important wake-up call for any baby boomer who's apprehensive about growing old." -Pepper Schwartz, Professor of Sociology, University of Washington and AARP's Official Love & Relationship Ambassador "An eloquent and well-researched expose of the prejudice that feeds age bias, and a passionate argument to mobilize against it. This must-read book is also a fun-read for every age. -Stephanie Coontz, author, The Way We Never Were: American families and the Nostalgia Trap.

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