How To Books 2013

ISBN: 978-1-8452-8512-8 (paperback)
ISBN: 978-1-4721-1002-2 (ebook)

Reviewed by Ian Mowll


We are growing older these days. The late 70’s is the life expectancy for men in the UK and added to this, the rapid culture changes we are facing, 50 can be seen as a new beginning rather than the start of a slow decline.

I think it is fair to say – as a very broad generalisation for which there are many exceptions – that men can struggle more with change than women. Retreating more easily into addictive or avoidance patterns, men may need more help in having the courage and support to face change. So, Alan covers all of the bases in taking stock of life beyond 50: relationships, work, money, health, family dynamics, sex, addictions, inspiration, friendships, eldership and more are all covered.

What I like about this book is that it is beautifully honest, Alan has ‘been there and done it’. And I feel there is a genuine commitment to self development and sincere appraisal by the author. For instance, the author talks about shipwrecks in life (times when life goes horribly wrong), blind dates and coping with anxiety. I’ve been there too so the book feels like a heart-warming companion, navigating through the ever-changing seas of our later years. And more than this, the book has a lot of grounded practical advice with suggestions of books, groups and websites to help the traveller on his journey.

The book also has its inspirational and spiritual side which will appeal particularly to GreenSpirit readers. On page 131 we read, “I believe the basic crisis of life beyond fifty is a spiritual one: the need for meaning and purpose as death comes over the horizon”.

Towards the end of the book there are suggestions on how to connect with nature and get involved in making the world a better place. Alan particularly talks about ‘Hazel Hill Wood’ – a conservation woodland retreat centre in Wiltshire which he has developed. I can vouch for the healing aspect of these woods and retreat centre having done a formative Vision Quest there in the 1990’s.

For any man who is 50 and beyond, this book is a useful guide and companion through the unchartered waters of later years. And for any woman wanting to understand the challenges that men face, this book is also warmly recommended.