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This Chair Rocks

A Manifesto Against Ageism

Ashton Applewhite

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  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.00" x 9.00"
  • ISBN: 9780996934701
  • Publication Date: 2016-03-15
  • Networked Books

Availability: In stock

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This Chair Rocks

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On 9 August, 2017, TED will post Ashton's talk from this year's main stage — the speech that was widely regarded as this year's best.

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 in our own age denial and how it divides and debases, 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 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. 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!

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From the Back Cover:

"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

"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

"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 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 Ambassador

Ashton Applewhite

I didn't set out to become a writer. I went into publishing because I loved to read and didn't have any better ideas. I had a weakness for the kind of jokes that make you cringe and guffaw at the same time. My boss insisted I write them down, which turned into the 1982 best-selling book, Truly Tasteless Jokes, writing as "Blanche Knott." As Blanche, I made publishing history by occupying four of the 15 spots on the New York Times bestseller list.

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." It landed me on Phyllis Schlafly's Eagle Forum enemies list and an invite to join the board of the nascent Council on Contemporary Families, a group of distinguished family scholars.

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. Since that time, I have been recognized by the New York Times, National Public Radio, and the American Society on Aging as an expert on ageism.

Currently, I blog at This Chair Rocks, speak widely and am the voice of Yo, Is This Ageist?. I've written for Harper's, Playboy, and many other publications. I have also been on staff at the American Museum of Natural History since 2000, where I write about everything under the sun. In 2015, I was honored to be included in Salt Magazine's list of the world's 100 most inspiring women--along with Angelina Jolie, Elizabeth Warren, Amal Clooney, Aung San Suu Kyi, Naomi Klein, and other remarkable activists--committed to social change.