Book excerpt: Kerry Hannon’s ‘What’s Next’ guide to purpose-driven second acts

There’s a brand-new paperback that’s just gone on sale today called What’s Next? Finding Your Passion and Your Dream Job in Your Forties, Fifties and Beyond. It’s written by Kerry Hannon, the go-to person on finding meaningful mid- and later-life work, and a clear, engaging writer. Several of us here at Encore.org have read an advance copy, and heartily recommend it.

The book tells the stories of several encore transitions, like that of Anne Nolan, who shifted from the corporate life to a career as an advocate for the homeless, and Encore.org’s Betsy Werley, a corporate lawyer who began mentoring young women and then found an encore as the Executive Director of the Transition Network, a national organization for women 50 and forward thinking about what’s next.

Both entertaining and practical, What’s Next? follows a quick-read format consisting of profiles of people who’ve found satisfying later-life work; a Q&A with each subject to get down to specifics; and a list of pointers on various topics including networking, non-profit work, volunteering, and where to find more advice.

The common thread, says Hannon, is people who are “doing something from the heart that is meaningful to them.” Many of those who’ve embarked on second (or third, or fourth) acts have told her “I’m working harder than I ever did, but it doesn’t feel like work.”

You can read an excerpt comprising the foreword written by Encore.org CEO and founder Marc Freedman and the book’s Introduction. But we encourage you to read the whole book, and pass it around to your friends and colleagues.