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BookWatch: Summer reading: Get better at work, money and retirement

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It was a cold and rainy Memorial Day weekend for me. But I was able to spend it looking ahead to summer, which will hopefully include a break to relax and catch up on reading.

With that as a backdrop, here are a handful of fine work and money books for your summer reading list consideration. I have read each of these in recent months.

I interviewed Ken Dychtwald, 71, psychologist, gerontologist and founder and chief executive of Age Wave, a consulting and research company, about his memoir, “Radical Curiosity: One Man’s Search for Cosmic Magic and a Purposeful Life.”

His book is intimate, realistic, and sage. It’s a mishmash of human imperfections and glittery accomplishments. It’s about defeat and friendship and pride and the lessons we can learn from our lives that we carry along with us as we “just keep truckin’ on,” as the Grateful Dead sing.

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This one can push you to write your own narrative as you look back at where your journey has taken you and may help you discover and rediscover your life story, inspiring you to push off in new directions.

In March, I wrote about how adult education is a transforming trend in education these days. Whether it’s for Gen Xers and boomers tracking encore careers, crafting a business at midlife, or purely chasing the intellectual and spiritual engagement of learning, there are escalating opportunities.

Along those lines, this book caught my eye: Long Life Learning: Preparing for Jobs that Don’t Even Exist Yet by Michelle R. Weise. I interviewed Weise about her thoughtful book and am impressed by her deep dive thinking on preparing working adults of all ages for jobs now and in the future.

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Her approach is one of analysis, hope, and practical steps. She offers recommendations on how higher education, which has been wallowing in inertia, must be redesigned so we can all continue to invest in learning throughout our lives.

Her underlying premise: The days of packing education early in life are over. Long-life learning is about foreseeing that we will all need to steer a lengthier, more choppy working life filled with two dozen or more job transitions as our working lives extend to match longevity. To stay competitive in the workforce, we must embrace the world of working learners, ramping on and off the learning pathways to build skills and workplace agility — often managing both at the same time.

Time to do so, of course, is now and will be a challenge. One key will be businesses integrating learning opportunities into the workday, so workers of all ages can continue to earn a paycheck while weaving in new skills.

“Ageism goes across both genders, right? But women face this double whammy of both gender bias and ageism.” executive coach Bonnie Marcus, author of the new book, “Not Done Yet!: How Women over 50 Regain Their Confidence and Claim Workplace Power, ” told me when I spoke to her for my Next Avenue column.

“Not Done Yet! is a book for all working women over 50 who are dealing with aging and the bullshit ageist assumptions and stereotypes that keep us small,” Marcus writes.

And last week I had the pleasure of interviewing Washington Post syndicated personal finance columnist Michelle Singletary about her latest book, “What to Do With Your Money When Crisis Hits: A Survival Guide” and more. This terrific book is crammed with useful questions and answers gathered from her loyal readers on subjects ranging from paying down debt to how to get better at money management to the best option for medical coverage to how to invest if you’re close to retirement.

Finally, two books that fall in the work and jobs category for me.

Brandi Carlile, 40, the author of Broken Horses: A Memoir, is a singer-songwriter who knocks your socks off with her reflective and stirring songs such as “The Eye” and “The Story,” and her memoir is a page-turner.

I’m a fan. I’m also a sucker for memoirs. I love people’s stories and learning about their journey and life choices and career twists and turns. And Carlile does not disappoint. She lays it all out there.

You will be charmed and perhaps motivated by her work ethic and her tenacity. She pursued her musical ambitions and dreams from an early age, worked hard, and continues to work hard at honing her craft constantly.

She honestly examines navigating setbacks and failures. Underlying it all is her inner compass to give back to others, and her steady networking with fellow musicians, accompanied by the joy and challenges of being an LGBTQ parent and partner.

Anne Lamott, 67, has a hilarious and philosophical collection of essays, “Dusk, Night, Dawn: On Revival and Courage.” What can I say, she had me at “Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life,” her quintessential slim guide for writers, published in 1994. I have been on the Lamott train for years and this easy-to-read book is a lovely way to spend a summer day. It’s about work and life, love and faith and will leave you wanting more.

Here’s to a fun and safe summer.

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