Earth’s Elders: The Wisdom of the World’s Oldest People is an unprecedented look at the hearts, minds, and spirits of fifty of our planet’s “supercentenarians”—those who have lived to be 110 years old and older. This landmark project is the result of author Jerry Friedman’s three-year effort to document, in photographs and words, the human stories that have, surprisingly, never been told before now.
Friedman, an award-winning photographer in the field of television and print advertising, embarked on a personal journey of discovery that took him around the globe. From the steppes of Mongolia to Manchester-by-the-Sea in Massachusetts, he encountered members of the “hidden tribe” of supercentenarians—ordinary people who have achieved extraordinary ages. In his remarkable portraits, Friedman celebrates their lives, illuminating the rarely glimpsed worlds of men and women who have lived in three different centuries. Their rich and colorful stories touch the heart, and provide us with intriguing clues into the mysteries of longevity.
Contributing personal reflections to this book are four of today’s most distinguished thinkers: Dr. Robert Coles, professor of psychiatry at Harvard, researcher, and Pulitzer Prize-winning author; Dr. M. Joycelyn Elders, former Surgeon General of the United States and committed advocate for health care and education; Chief Arvol Looking Horse, spiritual leader of the Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota Nation and 19th Generation Keeper of the Sacred White Buffalo Calf Pipe; and Lama Surya Das, colleague of the Dalai Lama, bestselling author, and the most highly trained American lama of the Tibetan tradition of Buddhism.
Jerry Friedman is the first person to ever interview so many of the men and women who are on the outer edge of the human life span. Each of the book’s “extreme elders”—from the cotton picker in rural Georgia to the member of the royal family in England—is an eyewitness to history and holds a piece of the puzzle that yields special insights into health and the aging process.
As Friedman notes, “It is more important than ever for us to learn from those who have come before us, to understand what they can teach us, and what we can teach our children about them.”
Earth’s Elders is a touching, inspiring, beautifully illustrated tribute to the lives of these supercentenarians who have something vital to teach us all about the essential dignity and indomitability of the human spirit.
All author proceeds from the sale of this book will go to the Earth's Elders Foundation Inc., a non-profit organization created to foster positive and profound change in America's consciousness of the elderly.