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THIS CHAIR ROCKS: A Manifesto Against Ageism
A provocative manifesto against ageism, which offers a new way of looking beyond age bias and a compelling argument to join forces against it.
From childhood on, we’re barraged by messages that it’s sad to be old. That wrinkles are embarrassing, and old people useless. Author and activist Ashton Applewhite believed them too, until she realized where this prejudice comes from and the damage it does.
Lively, funny, and deeply researched, This Chair Rocks, traces Applewhite’s journey from apprehensive boomer to pro-aging radical, and in the process debunks myth after myth about late life. The book explains the roots of ageism in history and how it divides and debases. It examines how ageist myths and stereotypes cripple the way our brains and bodies function, looks at ageism in the workplace and the bedroom, exposes the cost of the all-American myth of our independence, critiques the portrayal of olders as burdens to society, describes what an all-age-friendly world would look like, and concludes with a rousing call to action.
It’s time to create a world of age equality by making discrimination on the basis of age as unacceptable as any other kind of bias. Whether you’re older or hoping to get there, this book will shake you by the shoulders, cheer you up, make you mad, and change the way you see the rest of your life. Age pride!
Ashton Applewhite is an author and activist and has been recognized by the New York Times, The New Yorker, National Public Radio, and the American Society on Aging as an expert on ageism. She blogs at This Chair Rocks, speaks widely around the world, has written for Harper’s and Playboy, and is the voice of Yo, Is This Ageist? In 2015, she was included in Salt Magazine’s list of the world’s 100 inspiring women who are committed to social change. At the beginning of her career, she was an Editorial Assistant at St. Martin’s Press. https://thischairrocks.com
Her TED Talk has over 1 million views and she has already sold 15,000 copies of her book through self-publishing!
Praise for the Self-Published Edition of This Chair Rocks:
*2016 Foreword INDIES Winner in Adult Nonfiction*
Publisher’s Weekly Starred Review:
“In this lively, entertaining book, Applewhite mixes her personal experiences and opinions about growing old with an exploration of society’s attitudes about age, debunking myths and exposing ageism. Author (Cutting Loose) and blogger (Yo, Is This Ageist?) Applewhite uses an enormous number of sources, including books, interviews with experts, and research studies, to examine aging in America. She uncovers quite a few problems—“I see ageism everywhere”—and tempers them with recommendations for changing the conversation and inciting social change, suggesting ways to “push back” against, for example, antiaging rhetoric. She covers topics of all kinds, such as isolation (a fertile environment for disease), sex and intimacy, and the role of work and how companies can better accommodate older workers. She works hard to discuss and correct common misperceptions about aging. Her humor, high-energy writing, and emphasis on positive ways to view and experience age contribute to making this a valuable resource, an agent for social change, and an enjoyable read.”
“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
“Along comes Ashton Applewhite with a book we have been waiting for. Anti-ageism now boasts a popular champion, activist, and epigrammatist in the lineage of Martial and Dorothy Parker. Until This Chair Rocks we haven’t had a single compact book that blows up myths seven to a page like fireworks.” —Los Angeles Review of Books
“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
“Smart, sassy and oh so wise.” —AARP
“Finally, a take-down of the last acceptable prejudice. Applewhite eloquently and expertly exposes the structural discrimination that makes growing older so much harder than it should be—not just for the white, affluent, healthy, and able-bodied, but for women, people of color, people with disabilities, and poor people. Full of treasures, This Chair Rocksshould be required reading for everyone in aging services, to help us confront ageism in our personal and professional lives and join forces against it. As Applewhite writes, ‘It’s time for Age Pride.’” — Donna Corrado, Commissioner, NYC Department for the Aging
“An eloquent and well-researched exposé 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
“To live agefully – what a wonderful word! With warmth, wit and clarity, Ashton Applewhite explains what it means, while never falling into age-denial or age-shame. This is a book packed with provocative and liberating ideas, to make you leap into the air with pleasure – even if your knees, like mine, are a little dodgy” —Anne Karpf, author of How to Age
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