The New Retirementality
The 100 Year Life: Working and Living in an Age of Longevity

Refire! Don’t Retire Our Review

Refire! Don’t Retire

Make the Rest of Your Life the Best of Your Life

By Ken Blanchard and
Morton Shaevitz

 In Short

Retirement books are ubiquitous. But if you only read one book on transitioning to retirement, I’d urge you to read this one. 

This is an exceptionally insightful and inspiring book. It’s fun, easy to read and full of practical wisdom.
Ken Blanchard and Morton Shavevitz encourage us to rethink retirement. In their view,  it all starts with our attitude and beliefs. Sometimes we don’t realize that our own beliefs may be rooted in outdated views of aging and retirement. Instead, they advocate
thinking differently. They define Refiring as: Adopting an attitude of embracing the years ahead with enthusiasm rather than apathy
It’s presented as an engaging story, but it’s based on solid research – although they don’t make you plow through the research to get the useful nuggets. Each chapter ends with a shortlist of action steps to consider. Using Blanchard’s entertaining ‘One Minute Manager’ format, the authors share the story of Larry and Janice, who have been married nearly 40 years. Attending Larry’s 45th high school reunion, they are struck by the contrast between two groups of Larry’s classmates, who are now in their sixties. One group is clearly active and engaged while another group seems to have “little joy or sense of the future…”.

Serendipitously, Larry runs into his former teacher, Dr. Jeffrey, at the reunion, who has spent the last decade studying aging and retirement. He then shares what he’s learned with them over a series of meetings and encourages Janice and Larry to put the lessons into action in ways that work for them.

Food for Thought

Blanchard and Shavevitz see planning for retirement as purely a financial task as a limiting approach. They argue that the transition to the retirement phase of life is a much broader adventure encompassing four areas of life:
  • Emotional  engaging with key people in your life to revitalize meaningful relationships
  • Intellectual – staying sharp mentally by pursuing learning and trying new things
  • Physical  keeping active, healthy and fit 
  • Spiritual  connecting to something greater than yourself, not necessarily  through religion, but through service to others


This book makes an interesting point about aligning with your spouse or partner. Keep in mind that you may not both want the same things in the next phase of life. One partner, after an exhausting career, may be ready to relax and recharge – or travel the world. But the other partner, perhaps after an exhausting period of taking the primary responsibility of raising children, may be more energized about achieving  returning to work, school or assuming a leadership role in a volunteer organization. Their point is don’t assume. Have conversations on the future early and often. It sounds obvious, but it often doesn’t happen.


They pose powerful questions to consider:
  • Are you going to embrace – or endure –  the rest of your life?
  • What are you going to do with the rest of your life to make it healthy and meaningful?
This book makes a compelling case that the next chapters of your life can be a period of active engagement and growth. Despite the very real challenges retirees face, with the right attitude and tools, the rest of your life can be intellectually, emotionally, physically and spiritually rich indeed. Scrap the traditional views of retirement. Instead, the authors urge us to Refire:
 Approach life with gusto. It’s to see each day as an opportunity for adventure and learning.

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