I was thrilled that my book, This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism, was just nominated by the Washington Post Book World’s staff as one of the “100 Best Books to Read at Any Age.” I got queasy when I saw the list was divided into decades—never, just never, a good idea. And I was sickened to see the book recommended for readers age . . . wait for it . . . ninety-four.
Don’t get me wrong: I’d be delighted to have boatloads more readers in their nineties, and it’s not too shabby to be sandwiched between Yuval Harari and Elena Ferrante. But the book’s central message is that ageism affects all of us, and the earlier we become aware of the cultural and economic forces that benefit from age bias, the better off we are. Ninety-four is damn late to get the memo. Overcoming unconscious bias is the work of a lifetime, changing the culture is a task for all ages, and the sooner we embark on it—especially in a world of longer lives—the better.