Review – The Sustainability Mindset

tsm-cvrReviewed by Don Tebbe

I pre-ordered this book as soon as I heard about it. I was expecting a sequel to Zimmerman and Bell’s earlier book, Nonprofit Sustainability. But The Sustainability Mindset is actually a successor to that important, earlier work. Available from Amazon.com.

My first impression is awe at the authors’ ability to pack so many rich ideas and useful tools into just 200 pages. Beyond the sage advice, I counted no less than 43 figures, 7 tables, 4 sample exhibits, 3 case studies and 23 templates.

The book walks you through a six-step sustainability planning process. As in their earlier work, the central tool of this book is the “matrix map,” a 2-axis, 4-quadrant table that plots the dual bottom-line of a nonprofit: mission impact and financial viability. The idea is that the leadership team assesses the organization’s programs and determines each program’s “profitability” and mission impact. The results are plotted on the matrix map, using circles that are scaled according to each program’s expenses. The composite map provides a comprehensive picture of the organization’s business model. See the example below.

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Review – Live Smart

Live Smart After 50!, by Natalie Eldridge

Two heads are better than one. So how about 33? Live Smart After 50! compiles advice from 33 retirement advice experts from the Life Planning Network. Live Smart After 50! offers a holistic perspective for retirement planning, covering a wide spectrum of issues central to your life during retirement.

Live Smart After 50! doesn’t shy away from topics that might make the reader uncomfortable. The section entitled, “Sex: Are Older People Doing It?” dispels some commonly-held myths about sexuality among older adults.  In the “Your Wishes Matter” section, the author covers “things you would rather not think about,” with some common-sense advice for estate-planning, and items so obvious you might have missed them. Do you know who the beneficiaries are for your IRA? Have you reviewed that information in the past 10 years? The author of this section points out that a will alone is no longer considered sufficient estate-planning.

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Review – Second Acts

Second Acts: Creating the Life You Really Want, Building the Career You Truly Desire, by Stephen M. Pollan

In Second Acts, life coach Stephen Pollan counsels his readers through the complicated process of beginning a new career. Pollan directs the reader to get a notebook and begin writing down the practical and emotional obstacles they need to overcome in pursuit of their goals. Second Acts makes a convincing case for planning instead of wishing. The author suggests that the reader may balk at the idea of “taking what should be a romantic adventure and turning it into a prosaic project.” But if you follow his thorough guide for planning your second act, you’ll have an invaluable resource for keeping yourself on task.

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Review – Encore Handbook

The Encore Career Handbook: How to Make a Living and a Difference in the Second Half of Life, by Marci Alboher

You don’t have to feel alone as you plan your retirement. Author Marci Alboher wrote The Encore Handbook to encourage readers to make their personal journey a topic of conversation. If you look around, you’ll find many colleagues planning to find “purpose, passion, and a paycheck” after they retire. Each section of the handbook includes discussion points for group meetings. Appendix E offers complete meeting plans. Ideally, you should read this book as part of a retirement book club. You can use the Encore website (Encore.org) to find an Encore group in your area, if you can’t, create one out of your immediate network of friends and co-workers.

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Review – Encore

Encore: Finding Work that Matters in the Second Half of Lifeby Marc Freedman

In Encore, author Marc Freedman describes the unsustainable nature of the retirement culture today. Evaluating the size of the Baby Boomer generation, Freedman concludes that the current crop of retirees needs to carve out a new niche in the workforce to ensure both economic prosperity and the appropriate delegation of existing talent. Encore encourages the reader to consider what passions they could invest in a second career. To this end, Freedman quotes developmental psychologist Erick Erickson: “I am what survives of me.” Encore targets readers who want encouragement to make use of their talents for an impactful third act.

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Review – How to Retire Happy, Wild and Free

How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free: Retirement Wisdom That You Won’t Get from Your Financial Advisor
By Ernie J. Zelinski

Zelinski encourages readers to embrace the notion that a happy, fulfilling life doesn’t require a job. In fact, your job might just be getting in the way. To illustrate his points, he includes a healthy selection of correspondence from readers who have followed his advice, ditched their 9-to-5 jobs, and found creative ways to live out their dreams.

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Review – How to Retire Happy

How to Retire Happy: The 12 Most Important Decisions You Must Make Before You Retire
by Stan Hinden

Stan Hinden, a retired financial writer and popular retirement columnist for the Washington Post, offers the inside scoop on retirement in his book, How to Retire Happy: The 12 Most Important Decisions You Must Make Before You Retire. He bases his advice largely on his own ups and downs after leaving the workforce. He breaks his advice down into 12 major decisions most retirees will face. At the end of each section, he includes a list of all the useful websites mentioned, as well as other suggested readings.

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Review – Portfolio Life: The New Path to Work, Purpose, and Passion After 50

Portfolio LifePortfolio Life: The New Path to Work, Purpose, and Passion After 50
by David Corbett (Jossey-Bass, 2006. Available in hardcover and Kindle editions from Amazon.com.)

Portfolio Life offers a refreshing, positive view and an action-oriented framework for creating a meaningful life in what we typically think of (or perhaps used to think of) as the “retirement years.” David Corbett is founder of New Directions Inc. in Boston, which offers “planning in career and post-career fulfillment to accomplished individuals.”

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