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A New Purpose

Redefining Money, Family, Work, Retirement, and Success

By Ken Dychtwald, Ph.D. and Daniel J. Kadlec (2009 – Harper)


In Short

This is an enjoyable and thought-provoking book on retirement covering what sometimes can feel like an elusive topic – finding Purpose in our lives. The authors help the reader connect with the concept of purpose by taking us through a journey of discovery, covering key topics including: what success really is, the importance of relationships, the power of giving, how we are using our lives to make a real difference.

They offer a refreshing view of philanthropy and ways to make this part of who we are in our lives. I particularly like the theme of service to others and how that can make a difference not only for others, but also for us.

Each chapter is complete with rich personal stories, research and useful tips/checklists with suggestions to help us get started today!

Food For Thought

There are many tasty morsels in this retirement book – here are a few of them:

  • In the chapter on Rethinking Success we see how happiness in ones life is not defined by how much money one has but rather by the relationships with family and friends.   Another key element of happiness is associated with helping others.   I loved the way the authors challenged the concept of modern success. Certainly a chapter to read a few times to let sink in.
  • In exploring how we find purpose in our lives, a key theme for someone who is of retirement age is:  serving others with a focus on creating a balance between leisure and legacy.   The chapter on Giving – It’s Also about What you Get, further emphasizes the rewards both physical and psychological that one can get from having a service and giving mindset, not to mention the good being done for the receiver!


  • Through stories and fresh ideas, the authors maintain that you don’t need to have a lot of money to pursue a passion that can provide real meaning in your life regardless of your age. Using your skills to help others is a point made over and over again. In the chapter about “Who You Would Like to Become” – we are reminded that simply using our learned or natural skills can make a huge difference and give us a sense of great accomplishment.
  • The authors help take the mystery out of connecting to a purpose by encouraging us to find it in our daily routines.   This made it very real and achievable when put in the context of eating, reading, traveling, decorating your home and setting examples for other by our actions. Something that you can do today!


Here are 3 things that you can do:

  • Read this retirement book! It’s worth it.
  • Incorporate purpose into your daily routines.
  • Examine something you always wanted to do that will give you satisfaction while helping others. No matter how small a step – take it today!


– Denis Wuestman


Related Book Reviews

The Second Mountain

Purposeful Retirement: How to Bring Happiness and Meaning to Your Retirement

A New Purpose: Redefining Money, Family, Work, Retirement, and Success


Related Retirement Podcast episodes

What Can We Learn from Blue Zones? – Richard Eisenberg


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