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John Leland

John Leland is an author and has been a journalist for The New York Times since 2000. He began covering retirement and religion in January 2004. During a stint in 1994, he was editor in chief of Details magazine and was also a senior editor at Newsweek, an editor and columnist at Spin magazine, and a reviewer for Trouser Press.
Recent episodes featuring John Leland
Happiness Is A Choice with John Leland
In this episode we speak with John Leland, award-winning reporter at the New York Times and author of “Happiness Is a Choice You Make: Lessons from a Year among the Oldest Old”. We talk about the possibility of truly choosing happiness and if so how; how to face the hardships of life and much more. Twitter: @johnleland1
003: Choosing Happiness with John Leland
Retire With Purpose
For almost 20 years, three-time author John Leland has been writing about the many different sides of retirement for The New York Times. Right now, more people are living past the age of 85 than any other time in history - and John set out to write a year-long series about them. He wanted to tell stories of people who fell in love in nursing homes, those who never remarried after losing their spouse or partner, people who were still together in old age, living with disabilities, facing illness, and more. John expected this to be a series about loss. What ultimately came out of this series, however, is a book entitled Happiness is a Choice You Make: Lessons From a Year Among the Oldest Old. Today, he joins the podcast from the heart of the Times newsroom to share takeaways, stories, and lessons that I found invaluable as a husband, a financial advisor, and a human being. Get Access to Today's Show Notes To get access to today's show notes, including transcript, audio, and links to resources mentioned, visit
'Lessons From The Oldest Old'
Fresh Air
'New York Times' reporter John Leland followed six people above the age of 85 for one year. That series changed his understanding of old age — and inspired his book, 'Happiness is a Choice You Make.' Also, we remember feminist sci-fi and fantasy writer Ursula Le Guin. She died this week at 88. Le Guin spoke with Terry Gross in 1989 about the challenges of being a mother and a writer.
Episode 253 - John Leland
The Virtual Memories Show
New York Times reporter John Leland joins the show to talk about his new book, Happiness Is a Choice You Make: Lessons from a Year Among the Oldest Old. We get into his year-long project of profiling 6 people aged 85+, how it blew up his preconceptions about old age and became an elderly version of The Real World, and what it taught him about living in the here and now. We also get into his history in journalism, his interest in The Beats, what it was like to arrive in NYC in 1977, the time he trained at a pro wrestling school, his decision to write a book treating On The Road as if it was a self-help book, which New York Times building he prefers, our shared love of David Gates' fiction, and more! • More info at our site • Support The Virtual Memories Show via Patreon or Paypal
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Episode Count
Podcast Count
Total Airtime
3 hours, 43 minutes