As one of the few other real estate broker/writers on the scene, I’ve consumed much of what Barbara Corcoran has written since I laid eyes on the mere title of her first book, "If You Don’t Have Big Breasts, Put Ribbons on Your Pigtails" (Portfolio Trade, 2003), full of the homespun wisdom she used to create one of the country’s most profitable real estate firms (located, counterintuitively perhaps, in New York City).

Years before she became the "Today" show’s resident real estate guru, Corcoran grew to believe that the "real measure of (her) success

Book Review
Title: ‘Nextville: Amazing Places to Live Your Life’
Author: Barbara Corcoran
Publisher: Springboard Press, 2008; 272 pages; $24.95 list ($18.24 on Amazon.com)

As one of the few other real estate broker/writers on the scene, I’ve consumed much of what Barbara Corcoran has written since I laid eyes on the mere title of her first book, "If You Don’t Have Big Breasts, Put Ribbons on Your Pigtails" (Portfolio Trade, 2003), full of the homespun wisdom she used to create one of the country’s most profitable real estate firms (located, counterintuitively perhaps, in New York City).

Years before she became the "Today" show’s resident real estate guru, Corcoran grew to believe that the "real measure of (her) success … was (her) innate ability to match up the right person with the right place based on his or her unique needs and personality."

While I can think of a dozen other matrices on which she’s batting 1000, if Corcoran sees her people-with-place matchmaking skills as her true "raison d’etre" (French for "reason for existence"), she has outdone herself with her latest book, "Nextville: Amazing Places to Live Your Life."

"Nextville" is truly a next-generation guide for what we used to call "retirees" — the folks Corcoran recasts, by contrast, as people graduating to the next phase and place of their lives — to figure out how they want to live going forward and, then, how to find the city or town that provides the perfect backdrop for that desired lifestyle.

What stands out instantly about this book, as opposed to other real estate materials for boomers and beyond, is the lack of "cheeseballishness," for lack of a better term, and the respect for the Internet skills, investment savvy and diverse lifestyles that "graduates" possess.

Corcoran’s premise is that because a down market, like the current market, is the best time to buy real estate, this is the perfect time for those looking to retire or otherwise change their lifestyles to prepare by cultivating clarity on their life vision going forward and then taking advantage of great real estate prices now, even if the plan is to move in a number of years.

As such, Corcoran goes on to offer a lifestyle quiz to help readers figure out their lifestyle priorities, relevant to selecting a place to live "happily ever after" — the queries ferret out whether the reader’s next life step will focus on pursuing passions, living green, living young, reinvention ("losing yourself"), finding your purpose, or several other values that resonate with the dreams voiced by my 50-and-older clients, friends, relatives and colleagues. Refreshingly, Corcoran does not at all assume that the singular purpose of all retirees-to-be is to take it easy; rather, the opposite, she advises readers to "think outside the hammock."

Then, Corcoran goes on to provide real estate and investment advice for her "graduate readers" that are likely to make for both sound investment and sound lifestyle design decision-making, with nuggets like "don’t buy in an area filled with old people."

In the remainder of the book, Corcoran details her research on various cities (and even foreign countries) that she argues provide an affordable backdrop for various lifestyles. And I mean details.

From "A Great Place to Open A Bed-and-Breakfast (But They Won’t Let You Open A McDonald’s)" — Saugatuck, Mich. — to great communities for 50-and-older gays and lesbians (Santa Fe, N.M.), to great green communities and places to live young, nationwide by region, I found it amazing that Corcoran could cover such a broad range of places and interests in such a relatively quick and fun read.

And, FYI, the back of the book is complete with tables and appendices that organize the cities and countries by region, and include vital statistics such as weather and home-price data.

Finally and helpfully, Corcoran concludes "Nextville" with characteristically witty and thought-provoking questions and rules to launch the action-ready reader into the quest for their own personal "Nextville."

Though it is designed primarily for mature people ready to find the geography and real estate environs for their retirement, I found "Nextville" to be an entertaining, energetic and energy-inspiring entrée for anyone of any age who is looking to realize lifestyle transformation in their next phase of life.

Tara-Nicholle Nelson is author of "The Savvy Woman’s Homebuying Handbook" and "Trillion Dollar Women: Use Your Power to Make Buying and Remodeling Decisions." Ask her a real estate question online or visit her Web site, www.rethinkrealestate.com.

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