Los Angeles Business Journal

Wrinkle in Time

Friday, September 30, 2016

It seems clear enough: the secret to a long and productive life is to love what you do, eat wisely, and exercise regularly. At least that’s the gist of what the eight folks we profile in our latest 8 Over 80 special report said in this week’s issue.

Simple, common-sense advice via a group of people – from a broadcaster to a doctor, an architect to a nun – who into their 80s and beyond are still at the office every day, contributing to their enterprises.

Of course, nothing is as easy as a short bullet-point list of do’s and don’ts for longevity and happiness. When one gets to a certain age, friends and acquaintances start to fall, and the frequency only increases with time.

No, there’s got to be more to it. There are some clues in the answers these eight gave us, hints about what it takes to keep coming back, day in and day out. Sure, the body does not respond as well as it used to, but the mind is a muscle they all still use – and with a great deal of vigor.

As a group, these eight have stayed actively involved in their enterprises, embracing new technology (though not always adopting it), the ideas of younger compatriots, and engaging in day-to-day operations. Indeed, most said their work routine had not changed much over the years, other than cutting back on hours. Dion Neutra, the architect, even said technology had allowed him to become more productive than he had been in years past. For Dr. George Berci, the difference between then and now is simply the scope and nature of the projects he works on.

And yet, there is an inevitability, too. Most of those we spoke to did not seek to deny that they were in their final acts and, indeed, embrace it. (And with humor – see the response of Jose-Luis Saavedra, founder of Tapatio Foods when asked about what his future holds.) That kind of comfort, that assurance, surely makes the days at work easier, the sense of contribution greater, and fuels the satisfaction that comes when they leave the office each day.

Read the Los Angeles Business Journal Special Report: 8 Over 80