Are you …
-- Disenchanted with your current job?
-- Contemplating a career change?
-- Considering a "dream" gig?
-- Experiencing mid-life frustrations?
-- Planning to continue working in your later years -- whether you "want to" or "have to"?
"Follow Your Enthusiasm: How 12 Ordinary Men Discovered Extraordinary Encore Careers," by Larry Portzline, features a dozen fascinating men of varying ages and backgrounds who launched satisfying second careers, some of them much later in life.
Each of the book's 12 chapters is a first-person narrative of the guys' own heartfelt stories, exploring their life experiences and challenges, and why these factors -- for good or bad -- led them to pursue successful "encores."
Their quests contain themes that most men will have no trouble relating to:
-- job frustrations,
-- forgotten dreams,
-- family pressures,
-- societal expectations,
-- educational struggles,
-- middle-age angst,
-- twists of fate,
-- and an unending desire for personal fulfillment.
Through the example of these 12 intrepid gentlemen, the book encourages readers to take action and seek their own encore success stories.
Here are the guys you’ll meet in "Follow Your Enthusiasm":
-- Will Allen, a former pro basketball player and marketing rep who became an "urban farmer" in his 50s and started a non-profit to provide healthy foods to underserved populations in the Midwest. (Since then he was named one of Time's 100 Most Influential People, appeared in the documentary "Fresh," and has twice been a guest at the White House.)
-- Lee Attix, a salesman who took a "gap year" in his 40s and wound up as a wildlife researcher and loon expert in Maine.
-- Warren Brown, a federal attorney who started the CakeLove bakery in Washington, DC and hosted the program "Sugar Rush" on the Food Network.
-- Ernie Bjorkman, a popular Denver anchorman who lost his job to downsizing in his 50s and fulfilled a lifelong dream of becoming a veterinary technician. (His story landed him on "Oprah" and "Ellen" and in the New York Times.)
-- Thornton Dial, a sharecropper and welder from Alabama who became a world-renowned folk artist in his 60s.
-- Mark Goldsmith, a New York City marketing exec who came out of retirement to start a non-profit to help young men plan for life after prison.
-- Michael Greene, a former banking officer who became a nurse practitioner in his 50s and now works with HIV/AIDS patients in Palm Springs.
-- Ambrose Jones, a successful auditor who burned out at work, earned a PhD in his 50s and now teaches at a large southern university.
-- Mark Peffers, a frozen foods manager and homebrew enthusiast who risked everything at 39 to become a professional brewmaster.
-- Gid Pool, a former real estate agent who became a standup comedian in his 60s.
-- Todd Shea, a 40-something musician and recovering addict who was a front-line volunteer after 9/11, Hurricane Katrina and the Sri Lanka tsunami, and now runs a hospital he helped to open after the 2005 Pakistan earthquake.
-- Scott Taylor, a former convenience store owner who returned to his love of flying in his 40s and became an airline pilot.
Encore careers are a hot topic these days as more people pursue them and as the media continues to cover this encouraging trend.
"Follow Your Enthusiasm" is an informative, inspirational, easy-to-read and highly relatable account of 12 men, from all walks of life, who discovered brand new beginnings -- no matter how old they were.
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