Jim Birren, the pioneer of guided autobiography, has developed a remarkable process that encourages people to take stock of their lives so that they can move forward, reinvigorated, into a vital, rewarding future.
"I want you to think of your life as an autobiographical story with a past, present, and a future yet to be plotted," Jim Birren writes, as he urges readers to appreciate all they've been through, survived, and accomplished; figure out what is missing; and decide how they want to spend the rest of their lives.
By contemplating our lives, or telling our stories in small groups where other people's memories prime our own, we can increase the chances of getting the most return from the years ahead. Cautioning that there is no magic carpet ride to a blissful elderhood, Jim Birren offers readers the ability to let go of the fears from the past, to understand and be themselves, and to see the future as a wonderful adventure. The result is living longer better.
About the Author
James E. Birren is currently Associate Director of the Center on Aging at the University of California, Los Angeles, and serves as an adjunct professor in medicine, psychiatry, and biobehavioral sciences. He is also professor emeritus of gerontology and psychology at the University of Southern California. Dr. Birren's previous postions include service as Chief of the section on aging of the National Institute of Mental Health, founding Executive Director and Dean of the Ethel Percy Andrus Gerontology Center of USC, founding Director of the Anna and Harry Borun Center for Gerontological Research at UCLA, and President of the Gerontological Society of America, the Western Gerontological Society, and the Division on Adult Development and Aging of the American Psychological Association. Dr. Birren's many awards include the Brookdale Foundation Award for Gerontological Research, the Sandoz prize for Gerontological Research, and the award for outstanding contribution to gerontology by the Canadian Association of Gerontology. Author of over 250 scholarly publications, Dr. Birren has research interests including how speed of behavior changes with age, the causes and consequences of slowed information processing in the older nervous system, the effect of age on decision-making processes, and the role of expertise in skilled occupations. He has served as a delegate to several White House Conferences on Aging and continues to have a strong interest in developing national priorities for research and education related to issues of aging.