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Celebrate 100: Centenarian Secrets to Success in Business and Life

ISBN: 978-1-118-52564-7
228 pages
July 2013
Celebrate 100: Centenarian Secrets to Success in Business and Life (1118525647) cover image


A thoroughly enthralling book that proves the truth of the adage, "with age comes wisdom"

Based on video recorded interviews and extensive surveys of more than 500 Centenarians, this unforgettable book brings you into a world few human beings have ever known. What must it be like to have lived an entire century—and not just any century, but one of the most fertile, productive, cataclysmic, revolutionary hundred-year periods in the history of the human race?

Imagine having navigated all of life's personal milestones against the backdrop of the Jazz Age, the Great Depression, two World Wars, the Space Age, the Digital Age, and 9/11; what stories you would have to tell! In their own words, and with no small measure of good humor, these remarkable men and women tell their stories and share their insights on life, business, making it and losing it, great sorrow and joy—and having lived to tell the tale.

  • Distills the wisdom and wit of 500 centenarians into six sections covering the passage of time, career, money, time management, secrets of longevity, and capturing and sharing wisdom
  • Full of timeless advice, like "Money cannot make you, but it can break you," with anecdotes about savings, debt, and investing for the long-run—the really, really long run
  • Based on over 500 taped interviews and extensive questionnaire surveys developed and conducted by noted experts Steve Franklin and Lynn Peters Adler
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Table of Contents

Foreword xi

Introduction: Century-Old Questions . . . Century-Old Answers xiii

Acknowledgments xvii



The Celebrities of Aging: Centenarians in the Spotlight 4

The Age of Centenarians: A Million or More by 2050? 8

The Wisdom of Centenarians: Authentic—Experience, Not Theory 9

National Treasures: Unique—Individually and Collectively 11

Cameos of Today’s Centenarians 14

A Century of Progress: Th eir Century 23



On Being 100 32

Increasing Longevity 34

Lifestyle Improvements through Technology 40

Using Computers, Tablets, and Smartphones 41

Lifestyle Choices 42

The Big Three 42

Healthy Diet 43

The Benefits of Exercise 46

Socialization and Quality of Life 53

The Importance of Family 62

Interests and Avocations 67



How They Think We Are Doing 78

Simple Saving Wisdom: Battle of Needs versus Wants 81

Debt Is a Four-Letter Word 83

Time-ly Advice 85

Investing Today—After a Century of Perspective 90

Defining Rich 97



Take This Job and Love It 102

From Success to Significance 106

Teachers Extraordinaire 112

Keeping Up and Keeping On 118

Wise Work Advice 119



Secret 1: Attitude 134

Secret 2: Healthy Eating 137

Secret 3: Faith 139

Secret 4: Exercise and Activity 142

Secret 5: Clean Living 144

Secret 6: Family 147

Secret 7: Genetics 150

Advice to Centenarian Wannabes 151

Why 100? 155



The Centenarian Spirit 161

The Centenarian Spirit in Action 162

Renegotiating Life 167

Sparks of the Spirit 168

Centenarians on the Go 172

Keeping Life Interesting—Common Interests, Not Common Age 179

Contemporary Centenarians—Thinking and Feeling Young 183

Catch the Spirit: Forget Aging Gracefully—Age Excellently! 192

A Formula for Longevity 195

A Toast to Future Centenarians 195

Appendix: Sharing the Wisdom 197

100 Questions to Capture the Secrets to a Long and Fulfilling Life 198

Notes and Further Reading 203

About the Authors 207

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Author Information

Steve Franklin is an author, educator, speaker, businessman and centenarian wannabe. He is passionate about capturing the wisdom, wit, and advice of centenarians across America and energetically sharing it with the younger generation.  He co-authored two major business textbooks that were adopted in hundreds of colleges and universities across America, educating thousands of college students about principles of business success. His articles have been published in over 40 publications, and his research has been reported in numerous periodicals throughout the nation including The Christian Science Monitor, Los Angeles Times, Atlanta Journal Constitution, Dallas Morning News, Chicago Tribune and many more. He has appeared on dozens of radio and television programs, including the Gannett Broadcasting “Million Dollar Dreams” series aired throughout the country and watched by millions of viewers.

Dr. Franklin was a tenured professor and associate dean, and received the number one teaching evaluation by students three times at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School. He has consulted with and delivered hundreds of keynote speeches to major organizations throughout North America, Europe, South Africa, and Dubai including Coca-Cola, General Electric, Federal Express, Northwestern Mutual, UPS, AT&T, Johnson and Johnson, IBM, Chick-fil-A. While at Emory, he cofounded the Emory Center for Healthcare Leadership and now serves on the Board of Regents at Oxford University’s Harris Manchester College in England and is the Chairman of the Board of Governors for The American University in Dubai. For the past several years he has visited, videotaped, interviewed, dined, danced, laughed a lot, cried a little, and even exercised with centenarians all across America to capture and share their secrets and love for long and abundant life. Steve’s goal is to live 120 years healthy, wealthy, and wise with his incredible wife, Elaine. He is over halfway there!

Lynn Peters Adler is founder and director of the nonprofit National Centenarian Awareness Project, and is an expert on the lifestyles of active centenarians. For over 20 years she has been an advocate of positive aging. Lynn conducted the first nationwide survey of centenarian lifestyles and is the author of the award-winning book Centenarians: The Bonus Years. She co-produced the first centenarian documentary, Centenarians Tell It Like It Is, which aired regionally on PBS, and authored an inspirational calendar featuring active centenarians, Age with Grace: The Centenarian Spirit, published by Cedco Publishing.

Lynn has been featured in major media, including a CNN special, Newsweek and People magazines, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, and numerous local and regional media formats. She has appeared on all national television networks as well as various cable stations and radio programs. In 2008 she assisted the production and appeared in a Barbara Walters special, “Living to 150: Can You Do It?,” with four of her centenarian friends. She was a two-term member of the Governor’s Advisory Council on Aging in Arizona, past chairman of the Phoenix Mayor’s Aging Services Commission, and member of the Arizona Attorney General’s Task Force on Elder Abuse. She founded Arizona’s Centenarian Program in 1985–1986, and was instrumental in helping other states and entities establish similar programs. Lynn is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College and holds a law degree. She now lives in Fairfield County, Connecticut, and is a writer, speaker, and consultant on centenarians and aging excellently. Her web site, www.adlercentenarians.org, includes the blog Live to 100 and Beyond and is the home of the National Centenarian Awareness Project. All proceeds she receives from the sale of Celebrate 100 will go to furthering the work of NCAP.

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Press Release

July 08, 2013
Centenarian Secrets to Success in Business and Life

Many answers to the challenging questions of life today can be found in the wisdom of those who have traveled the road before us.  We seek answers to our troubling economy, answers to an uncertain future, and answers that will lead to financial security, emotional stability, meaningful relationships, enjoyable work, and living life longer, healthier, and "larger." What if the answers to many of these challenges about money, work and life could be found in the authentic wisdom and experiences from the past and present in America's centenarians? And what if we fail to capture that wisdom and experience -those secrets - and share them with the younger generation?

Based on video recorded interviews and extensive surveys of more than 500 centenarians, Celebrate 100 Centenarian Secrets to Success in Business and Life (WILEY: July 2013) by Steve Franklin and Lynn Peters Adler brings readers into a world few people have ever known. The authors share the wisdom, wit, insight and perspective of these contemporary centenarians who have lived their lives with determination, personal courage, and accomplishment.  The book was designed and written to entertain as well as to educate the reader.  Included are over 50 color pictures of active centenarians, who, along with many more of their peers, share quotes and illustrative stories from their lives.

The book distills the knowledge of these 500 centenarians into six chapters.  Beginning with an overview that will acquaint the reader with contemporary centenarians and their lifestyles, it goes on to discuss their opinions and wisdom on careers, money, life management, secrets of longevity, and concludes with an inspirational chapter of true life stories, which underpins it all. The book proves the truth of the adage, "with age, comes wisdom."

"The interviewees were asked questions about money, work, and many aspects of life that confront every one of us. We asked them to share their advice and secrets about these issues from two perspectives; what they actually did that worked, or what would they recommend for the younger generation after a century of trial and error, success and failures," says Franklin.

Centenarians have worked on farms and in factories, warehouses, offices and in their homes. They have been employees, bosses and entrepreneurs. They have lived through the roaring Twenties, the Great Depression, World Wars I and II, the Beatles, the Internet, cable news, space travel, and current economic, social, and political challenges. In their own words, and with no small measure of good humor, these remarkable men and women tell their stories and share their insights on life, business, making it and losing it, great sorrow and joy-and living to tell the tale.

"Much of what they demonstrate by their lifestyles and activities will surprise you," Adler says.  "For instance, many continue to live independently, some are driving, most exercise, and enjoy active social lives with family and friends. Some are married or  remarried in later years or have companions, a surprising number use and are learning the latest computer technology and social media, those with avocations - such as painting and classic car collecting - are continuing, and a few are active in their careers or business."  Adler points out that the book details what she calls "The Centenarian Spirit," five key traits that successful centenarians have in common.  “The vibrant centenarians in this book are role models for Boomers and others who are striving to create a good lifestyle in coming years."

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