The Book

Lighter As We Go

The fears of aging have been one long cascading domino effect through the years: twenty year-olds dread thirty; forty year-olds fear fifty; sixty fears seventy, and so it goes. And there is something to worry about, though it isn’t what you’d expect: research shows that having a bad attitude toward aging when we’re young is associated with poorer health when we’re older.

These worries tend to peak in midlife; but in Lighter as We Go, Mindy Greenstein and Jimmie Holland show us that, contrary to common wisdom, our sense of well-being actually increases with our age–often even in the presence of illness or disability. For the first time, Greenstein and Holland–on a joint venture between an 85 year-old and a fifty year-old–explore positive psychology concepts of character strengths and virtues to unveil how and why, through the course of a lifetime, we learn who we are as we go. Drawing from the authors’ own personal, intergenerational friendship, as well as a broad array of research from many different areas–including social psychology, anthropology, neuroscience, humanities, psychiatry, and gerontology–Lighter as We Go introduces compassion, justice, community, and culture to help calm our cascading fears of aging.

Book Available now!


Selected by The Wall Street Journal as one of the best books of the year
about making the most of later life!

See the list


“In their book, Lighter as We Go, Jimmie Holland and Mindy Greenstein…argue that while older people lose memory they also learn that most setbacks are not the end of the world. Anxiety is the biggest waste in life. If you know that you’ll recover, you can save time and get on with it sooner.”
― David Brooks, The New York Times

“…Sociology and gerontology findings, historical facts, and views of physicians and philosophers from antiquity to the present time come alive as Drs. Greenstein and Holland, two master clinicians, weave them in the life stories of patients, people they knew, and their own autobiography.”
American Journal of Psychiatry

“This bold and liberating book should be on everyone’s reading list, regardless of age.”
The ASCO Post

Lighter as We Go is succinct, nontechnical, funny and wise – but especially wise. It clearly ranks as one of the best books on aging that even the most sophisticated student is likely ever to read.”
George E. Vaillant M.D., Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School

“I say go right now, no matter your age, and get Lighter As We Go because it is the last word on the subject of growing older and living well with it… This book will help you see the rewards you haven’t even thought about.”
― Liz Smith, Newspaper Columnist still working at 91