Many famous boomers have been, and still are, key contributors of their generation. Contributor is the key word, which lets out some of the infamous boomers like Ted Bundy, Squeaky Fromme, Jeffrey Dahmer, O.J. Simpson, Jessica Hahn and Patty Hearst, and celebrity boomers in the world of sports- entertainment-politics-royalty, who are simply famous for being famous.
As part of the “give-back revolution” (a phrase coined by Nicholas Kristof, columnist for the New York Times), boomers are making career changes that foster a sense of personal and social renewal. Many in the boomer generation who were out to change the world in the ‘60s, are now looking for ways to improve it.
Some “give-back revolutionaries” who’ve left their mark and changed our lives are software geniuses and entrepreneurs Paul Allen (1/21/53) and Bill Gates (10/28/55) co-founders of Microsoft that changed the world of technology. Allen and Gates have since used their great fortunes to do well by doing good. Both are major players in the world of “venture philanthropy” taking concepts and techniques from VC finance and high-tech business management and applying them to achieving philanthropic goals. Allen contributes to organizations related to health and human services, and advancement of science and technology through the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation. Gates and his wife, Melinda, through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (largest private foundation in the world) fund initiatives focused on global health, agriculture, education and poverty. By applying business techniques to giving, Allen and Gates are among the leaders in the “philanthrocapitalism” revolution of global philanthropy.
Steve Jobs (02/24/55) is another famous boomer who, along with boomer-buddy Steve “Woz” Wozniak (11/8/50), co-founded Apple. Both are credited with contributing significantly to the personal computer revolution of the 70s. They saw the commercial potential of the mouse-driven graphical user interface which led to the creation of the Macintosh. Both are emblematic images of the idiosyncratic, individualistic Silicon Valley entrepreneur. With emphasis on design and aesthetics, they revolutionized products that are both functional and elegant. Jobs is either primary inventor or co-inventor of over 230 computer-related patents. Wozniak’s philanthropic efforts support innovative efforts in technology, education, business, art and music. Both Jobs and Wozniak remain active at the heart of technology.
Other major boomer-contributors include Steve Case (08/21/58) best known as the co-founder and former CEO of America Online (AOL), and was instrumental in AOL’s merger with Time Warner in 2000. Jeff Bezos (01/12/64) is founder/CEO of Amazon.com, the multinational online e-tailer. Starting as an online bookstore, it has since morphed into peddling DVDs, CDs, MP3 downloads, computer software, video games, electronics, apparel, furniture, food, and toys. Astronaut Sally Ride, Ph.D. (05/26/51), an American physicist, became the first and then-youngest American to enter space in1983, and continues to contribute at the Stanford University Center for International Security and Arms Control. Nicholas Kristof (4/27/59) is a card-carrying member of the “give-back revolution.” Previously mentioned, he is a journalist, author and winner of two Pulitzer Prizes who is widely known for revealing human rights abuses in Asia and Africa, such as human trafficking and the Darfur conflict. He has lived on four continents, reported on six, traveled to 150 countries and all 50 states, and has emerged as the moral conscience of the boomer generation of journalists.
A short list of notable American Nobel Prize-boomers includes: John C. Mather (b1946) Physics–2006; H. Robert Horvitz (b1947) Physiology or Medicine-2002; Albert “Al” Gore (b1948) Peace–2007; Steven Chu (b1948) Physics-1997; Jody Williams (b1950) Peace–1997; Roger Y. Tsien (b1952) Chemistry-2008; Paul Robin Krugman (b1953) Economic Sciences–2008; Carol Greider (b1961) Medicine or Physiology–2009; and, Barack Hussein Obama II (b1961) Peace-2009.
As mentioned in the first Blog, many boomers are reinventing themselves. Few grasp the idea of “retirement.” According to Robert Butler, M.D., President/CEO of The International Longevity Center–USA and considered the “father of geriatrics,” a MetLife-Civic Ventures survey in 2005 found “half of all Americans between 50 and 70 are interested in finding jobs to help improve the quality of life in their communities, most often in education and social services.” Famous innovators for our generation don’t stand alone as representatives of the ageless and productive boomers who will continue to enjoy the rest of their longevity road.
Bette encourages you to live well – because living well never gets old!