The Legacy Project


Hello!  I’m Karl Pillemer,  a professor of human development in the College of Human Ecology at Cornell University, and Professor of Gerontology in Medicine at the Weill Cornell Medical College.

The Legacy Project began in 2004, when I started collecting the practical advice for living of America’s elders. Using a number of different methods, my research team has systematically gathered nearly 1500 responses to the question: “What are the most important lessons you have learned over the course of your life?”

People from across the country in their 70s and beyond shared their wisdom for living. Their advice ranges from how to be happy on a day-to-day basis, the secrets to a successful marriage, tips on raising children, ways to have a fulfilling career, strategies fordealing with illness and loss, and how to grow old fearlessly and well.

The book on the project, 30 Lessons for Living: Tried and True Advice from the Wisest Americans, was recently published. It was named to the list of “Best Self-Help Books of 2011″ by Library Journal.

To read more about the project and hear and read interviews with the elders, visit:

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