“Our book is about being awake to the rich possibilities of life after retirement,” said Betty Siegel, president emeritus of Kennesaw State University and the first female president in the University of Georgia System. The east Cobb resident is married to Joel. They have two grown sons and five grandchildren.
“We felt like there were a lot of books out there on how to invest your money or move to a new location but there’s not much on just how to keep your life alive,” said Bill Dyke, who met Siegel while attending a seminar with his wife, Jan, who is a former adjunct professor at KSU in the nursing school. They have a grown son and daughter and two granddaughters.
Following the seminar presented by the Siegel Institute, a nonprofit at KSU designed to prepare students for ethical leadership, Siegel and Dykes agreed they should write a book together.
While collaborating on possible ideas, Siegel shared a speech with Dykes she gave titled “The Decathlon Leader.”
“It was a great speech. It was about leadership, but it didn’t talk about the decathlon,” said Dykes, who attended college on a track scholarship.
The east Cobb resident worked in engineering and manufacturing plant management with Proctor and Gamble, sales and sales management with IBM, and founded a nationally known marketing consulting firm.
In their book, Siegel and Dykes developed life lessons from the 10 events of the decathlon.
The decathlon is a combined athletic event that began in ancient Greece, consisting of 10 track and field events.
“We use these events as metaphors for living a fulfilling retirement life,” Dykes said. He said an example would be the shot put, which is a metaphor for figuring out personal strengths that can be used in retirement.
Though geared toward retirees, the book presents information pertinent to every stage of life.
“The very core of the book is that we want to be involved in continued quest for how to live a life of meaning — how to live a life of purpose and a life of service. That’s a full life. That’s an abundant life. That’s a life that matters,” Siegel said.
The book has already been well-received. The forward is written by Billy Payne, chairman of 1996 Atlanta Olympics, whom the Siegels served as chairman’s ambassadors. Truett Cathy, Johnny Isakson and Andrew Young endorse the book.
“We want to think big and about new possibilities, not your past. Retirement is not the end of your productive life. It’s the beginning of something that could be brand new,” Siegel said.
The book is available on Amazon.com.