Author Henry Alford spent a year interviewing seniors, which included his mother, for a book that is equal parts travel story, family memoir, and anecdotal character profiles.
How to Live: A Search for Wisdom from Old People (While They Are Still on This Earth) is Alford's quest to define wisdom and his attempt in trying to capture it in a mosaic of American lives around the country.
One of Alford's interviewees was New Hampshire resident 97-year-old Doris Haddock, known as Granny D.
When she was 89 years old, she walked across the country in support of campaign-finance reform.
In a recent interview with Reuters, Alford said another element of the book looked at the accomplishments of older people and that part of wisdom came from people re-engaging with their surroundings.
"The third part of one's life is potentially as important a time for self-discovery as childhood or middle age, though not everybody takes advantage of it. I was amazed when I found all these examples of stuff people had done after the age of 70," Alford said.