GeroFuturist Karen Sands’ book, “Gray is the New Green: Rock Your Revenues in the Longevity Economy” (2016) is THE book you need to read if you are a middle-aged career women, business owner or marketer and are looking for lucrative opportunities. This small but mighty book covers topics such as ageism in society, business trends, marketing, careers and entrepreneurial opportunities in the field of aging, unretirement, reinvention, and visionaries. Sands intersperses loads of great data and statistics and references other thought leaders throughout the book, providing convincing evidence and support to her thoughts and ideas on “gray is the new green.” She encourages a narrative “re-storying” approach to positively changing the way we think about aging, careers and business.
She uses some familiar and unfamiliar terms such as:
– Longevity Economy
– Ageless Women
– Ageless Technology
– Conscious Aging
– Positive Aging
– Educational Gerontologist
– Age-Friendly Workplace
Hopefully these terms will be defined in Sands’ online glossary (not available at time of printing).
The book is sectioned into three chapters. The last chapter repeats most of what was in the first two. There were many topics that stood out for me as a 50-year-old woman. Sands talks about “The Change” (menopause) and embracing our “Inner Crone.” She empowers the reader when she tells us we can “radically reframe the stories we tell ourselves about aging.” It jolted me a bit when she proclaims 50 is universally “Over the Hill” according to Human Resource (HR) directors.
Sands challenges marketers to get beyond the rampant “malevolent ageism” in corporate marketing. She gives a few examples of how advertisers are inadvertently turning off women aged 50 and up who are the “highest increasing-spenders” in the fashion and beauty industries by creating offensive ads that portray older women in a negative way.
For businesses to succeed in this “Gray Tsunami” era, Sands recommends that diversity, gender equality and work-life balance initiatives must be welcomed and incorporated. She warns businesses that don’t adopt and welcome these changes will be left behind.
For those interested in working with or for the aging population, she states the “field of aging is evolving at warp speed.” She gives a listing of up-and-coming careers and opportunities in the aging field such as “cutting-edge age-friendly technology and devices, home design…and adult education.”
Sands sheds some light on the notion of retirement and how our extended middle-age is changing the way we view working in our later years. She says, “Aging does not mean retiring.” She discusses how people are reinventing themselves, or they are “unretiring.” Others are choosing not to retire. She predicts employees and leaders alike will be working until they die.
For those Boomer Women who want to reinvent themselves by starting up a new business, she provides lots of great advice and questions to think about in Chapter 2. She offers a great tip for a business idea, which is to offer a product or service that can help people save time. She tells women to “awaken their visionary voice” and states “it is never too late to be a visionary.” In Chapter 3 she states although some women may not be ready for this change yet, she encourages them to do the “prep work” now so that they can “leap with confidence” when they are ready.
Although there is not much new in Chapter 3, I love the advice she gives regarding aging. Sands writes, “Marketing, and society as a whole, need to understand that we no longer wish to be told that aging is something we need to be against. Agelessness is about embracing and enhancing who we are, not blindly following an outdated standard of who we should be.”
“Gray is the New Green” is an empowering book for women. It is a goldmine for those in business. It is a lifesaver for marketers and organizations.
The book is available at Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle versions.
Note: I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Angela G. Gentile, MSW, RSW