Jewish Book Festival: A key to retirement fulfillment

Alan Spector is the author of five books and is working on books six and seven. His latest is “Body Not Recovered: A Vietnam War/Protest Movement Novel.” Spector also writes the blog “Retirement According to … Alan Spector.”

By Alan Spector

When I was preparing to retire, I asked former colleagues who had previously made the leap, “What has surprised you in retirement?”

There were a number of common themes in their responses, and among these was a sentiment echoed by many.  In one way or another, they said, “I have found it difficult to replace the intellectual stimulation that I naturally had just by showing up at work every day.”

As a result, when Keith Lawrence and I coauthored Your Retirement Quest, we included in what we identified as the “10 key elements of a fulfilling retirement” the element we call “Growth.”  Finding ways to challenge your brain has many benefits, most which each of us can cite, from just plain having fun to helping stave off signs of dementia and everything in between. 

Well, here’s some good news.  Every year about this time, the Jewish Community Center presents the St. Louis Jewish Book Festival, a multitude of authors who have researched and written about a wide range of thought-provoking topics.  Over the course of two weeks every November, the authors speak and answer questions about what they have learned, about their books, about their writing process, and so much more. 

Put the Book Festival on your agenda for 2017 and beyond.  It can be among the best things you can do to complement what you are already doing to increase your intellectual stimulation, your “Growth.”


The Festival has consistently delivered exciting programming year after year and promises to continue to do so this year as well.  Here are but a few examples from the 2017 lineup.  California Senator Barbara Boxer will discuss her book, The Art of Tough: Fearlessly Facing Life Politics and Life.  Ron Kaplan tells a sports story that is so much more than that, Hank Greenberg in 1938: Hatred and Home Runs in the Shadow of War.  Sidney Blumenthal, a senior political advisor, brings his book, Wrestling with His Angel, a fresh angle on the early political life of Abraham Lincoln. 

I think you get the idea—interesting authors and topics.  And those three merely scratch the surface.  I know this sounds like a commercial, but here goes.  Want to be both entertained and intellectually stimulated?  Think St. Louis Jewish Book Festival; or for those of you outside St. Louis, find author programs near you.

Alan Spector is an author, business consultant, baseball player, traveler, and grandfather.  He has authored five published books, including, with coauthor Keith Lawrence, Your Retirement Quest: 10 Secrets for Creating and Living a Fulfilling Retirement (  Alan and Keith conduct workshops across the country helping prospective and current retirees plan the non-financial aspects of their retirement—to make the rest of their lives the best of their lives.  Alan’s latest book, Body Not Recovered, is a work of historical fiction from the Vietnam War/Protest Movement era, and it has deep St. Louis roots.