To retire, or not to retire? A journalist goes on quest to figure out what's next


This is FRESH AIR. I am Dave Davies, in for Terry Gross. My guest, Steve Lopez, is someone I've known casually for many years because when I was a political reporter in Philadelphia in the '80s and '90s, Lopez was the star columnist for The Philadelphia Inquirer. He was known for crafting compelling human interest stories, shining a light on unfairness and inequality, and skewering politicians with clever nicknames that stuck to them for years.

In 2001, he took his talents to Los Angeles, where he became a local institution writing columns for the LA Times. He's won a host of awards and written several books including "The Soloist" about his relationship with a sometimes-homeless, Julliard-trained musician afflicted with schizophrenia. It was made into a film with Robert Downey Jr. playing Lopez.

Lopez's latest book is about whether he should give all that up and just quit, retire. It's a big decision and a tough one, so Lopez decided to make it a reporting project. He interviewed a host of experts and lots of people who have retired — some love it, some don't — as well as some who never will because they love and are energized by their work — and because it's Los Angeles. Some of them are famous such as Mel Brooks and Norman Lear. Lopez takes us on the journey and shares his decision in the book titled "Independence Day: What I Learned About Retirement From Some Who've Done It And Some Who Never Will."

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