Book Review – Life Shift

Life Shift: the idea of 3 stages of life is now out-of-date

Star Rating: ★★★★★

    This book, “Life Shift” is a Japanese version of “The 100-Year Life – Living and Working in an Age of Longevity” by Lynda Gratton and Andrew Scott. It was translated by Chiaki Ikemura and published in 2016 by TOYO KEIZAI INC. The writers are professors at London Business School and they expound the necessity of changing the idea of living and working in this age of longevity. Especially, Lynda was ranked in Thinkers50 every time since 2003. Thinkers50 is the most prestigious ranking of management thinkers in the world. If you are interested in the most advanced idea of the way to live in the present and the future, this book is worth reading.


    At the beginning, this book presents a possibility of how people could live in the future. According to the theory, half of those who were born in developed countries in 2007 can live over 100 years old. Most people living today plan to live as their parents’ or grandparents’ generation have done. However, their life model is not for a 100-year life but for a much shorter life. If you retire at the age of 60 or 70 as most people do now, how can you manage your life for more than 30 years without earning money? Furthermore, if the problem of an aging society gets more radical , you cannot expect enough pension or social security for your life after your retirement. Then, how should we plan to live? This book proposes some answers to this question.

    It book compares the standard idea of living and working ‘a 3-stage life’ with the new idea of living and working ‘a multi-stage life’. By understanding the difference between the two different ways of living, you can get some tips to make the most of your 100-year life.

The 3-Stage life

    This is the way of living that most people consider very common. In a 3-stage life, people go to school and attain some intangible assets such as skills and knowledge for working in the future, friends, or mental health through their school lives with their friends. Once they graduate, most people keep working to pursue tangible assets such as money, a house or a car until their retirement. While they keep working, most of them forget to make an effort to manage their intangible assets. As a result, their knowledge or ability gradually becomes out-of–date, their friendship networks become smaller, and some of them get depressed because of their hard works. However, most of them have managed to keep working until their retirement. After they store their tangible assets as much as possible, they retire and they enjoy their lives until they die.

    The 3-stage life is very common for people living now. They have never suspected this life style. However, it has worked very well because most people could live only until 70 or 80 years old. In the present time of longevity, people can live much longer, which means they need to work much longer. As the development of technology has significantly changed the world for these few decades, the world will keep changing even more rapidly and dramatically. In this kind of world, people need to keep acquiring new knowledge or ability even while they are working. To adapt to these new tendency of the world, the writers propose a ‘multi-stage life’.

The Multi-Stage Life

    In a multi-stage life, people do not only pursue tangible assets, but also restore intangible assets even in a working stage. They create some periods to prepare for their next career when they work. For example, they leave their position and participate in a seminar to restore knowledge and ability, make new friends to get connections for their next job, or travel all over the world to refresh their mind. After that, they seek their new jobs by using these intangible assets. Because of these periods, they can adapt to the rapid change of the world and keep working for a long time with fresh and healthy mind. 

The Problem

    Today only few governments or societies accept the idea of a multi-stage life. Most people regard those who do not keep working after graduating schools as lazy. As a result, once you leave your position, it is very difficult to find a new position where you can make the most of your intangible assets you restore. This book will help many people to notice the necessity to change the current value of working.

     This book is absolutely worth five stars and I can strongly recommend reading it. It is very certain that the idea of the 3-stage life will not work someday. Do you want to notice the importance of the idea of the multi-stage life earlier than others? Let’s read Life Shift or The 100-Year Life and succeed in an age of longevity.

Reviewed by Sota Otsu

Picture: Sota


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