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Shock of Gray

Shock of Gray Cover

Shock of Gray

The Aging of the World's Population and How It Pits Young Against Old, Child Against Parent, Worker Against Boss, Comp

By Ted C. Fishman

Scribner Book Company, Hardcover, 9781416551027, 401pp.

Publication Date: October 19, 2010

The New York Times bestselling author of China, Inc. reports on the astounding economic and political ramifications of an aging world.

The world's population is rapidly aging--by the year 2030, one billion people will be sixty-five or older. As the ratio of the old to the young grows ever larger, global aging has gone critical: For the first time in history, the number of people over age fifty will be greater than those under age seventeen. Few of us under-stand the resulting massive effects on economies, jobs, and families. Everyone is touched by this issue--parents and children, rich and poor, retirees and workers--and now veteran jour-nalist Ted C. Fishman masterfully and movingly explains how our world is being altered in ways no one ever expected.

What happens when too few young people must support older people? How do shrinking families cope with aging loved ones?

What happens when countries need millions of young workers but lack them? How do compa-nies compete for young workers? Why, exactly, do they shed old workers?

How are entire industries being both created and destroyed by demographic change? How do communities and countries remake themselves for ever-growing populations of older citizens? Who will suffer? Who will benefit?

With vivid and witty reporting from American cities and around the world, and through compelling interviews with families, employers, workers, economists, gerontologists, government officials, health-care professionals, corporate executives, and small business owners, Fishman reveals the astonishing and interconnected effects of global aging, and why nations, cultures, and crucial human relationships are changing in this timely, brilliant, and important read.

Praise For Shock of Gray

"Far-reaching and highly relevant...[with] a fast pace, global scope and jaw-dropping facts...Fishman has a keen ear...and he motors enjoyably through a huge quantity of date and anecdotes, sending out provocative flares along the way." -New York Times Book Review

"Readers should consider its messages and economic implications. What do we really want for ourselves, as individuals and a nation, as we age....The true mission of "Shock of Gray" is to confront the demographic drama now unfolding in many middle- and high-income countries, not to proffer solutions." -Los Angeles Times

“Who would’ve thought that America’s aging population has spurred globalization? Ted Fishman’s exciting book–a series of stories really–knocked me off balance as I learned what’s in store for us as the world’s populace grows older and older. The observations in Shock of Gray are not just revelatory but profound.” -Alex Kotlowitz

"In 20 years, there will be 1 billion people over the age of 65, and China Inc.'s Ted Fishman has found the current examples that, along with an inexhaustible supply of demographic trends, illustrate the knotty-and at times terrifying-issues of global aging that await us. A must-read for young and old alike." - Fast Company

"The Chicago journalist behind China, Inc. is back with an investigation that’s both timely and terrifying. The subtitle—“The Aging of the World’s Population and How it Pits Young Against Old, Child Against Parent, Worker Against Boss, Company Against Rival, and Nation Against Nation”—says it all. (Though with his characteristic smarts, Fishman says it with a lot more nuance.)"

Sunday, Oct 17, 2010

By the year 2030, one billion people on the planet will be over the age of 65. Plus, for the first time in history, the number of those who are older than 50 will be greater than those under 17. Ted Fishman has traveled around the world to find out what effects this aging trend will have on families and communities, nations and economies. Host Liane Hansen speaks with Fishman about his new book Shock of Gray. More at

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