Carl Honoré (Simon & Schuster, £16.99)

Good news, everyone! It’s a better time to be old than at any previous point in history. We can stay fit and active for much longer than most of us suppose, especially when a healthy lifestyle is supplemented by simply not thinking of oneself as old. The downside is that there is still prejudice to be overcome, but one of the lessons of Carl Honoré’s informative book is that ageism is steadily being rolled back, even if much of it is going on under the radar. “Chronological age is losing its power to define and constrain us,” he writes. “The push to embrace ageing as a privilege rather than a punishment is starting to feel like a movement.”

For Honoré, contemporary prejudice against the old was summed up by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s statement that “younger people are just smarter”. But preconceptions about ageing lurk behind the best of intentions too, as he found at an event in Shoreditch where young technology entrepreneurs showed off innovations aimed at improving the lives of the elderly. The assumption underlying all their apps and devices was that old age is synonymous with dependency, ill health and loneliness.

To dispel these notions, he travelled the world, meeting such people as a 65-year-old beauty queen, an 84-year-old Skyrim whiz and a group of Spanish graffiti grannies. He watched silver-haired seniors rock a Warsaw moshpit and talked to the 81-year-old activist spearheading a campaign against the rubbish piling up in Lebanon. Photographers, model agencies and film festivals are trying to spread more positive images of older people, and appear to be succeeding. The average age of Oscar-winning actors is increasing. A 62-year-old woman in Sao Paulo says that “people have begun looking at me again”, 20 years after they stopped noticing her.

That older people are having active sex lives isn’t particularly revelatory. Nor is the fact that they took to the Internet a lot more easily than anyone predicted. Honoré’s most interesting chapter, and the one that thoroughly skewers Zuckerberg’s opinion, concerns work. Despite widespread workplace discrimination, studies show that older people get better results, drawing on life experience and superior social skills. BMW, McDonalds and Deutsche Bank are just three companies which have found that mixing young and old employees has a marked effect on performance and customer satisfaction.

The most positive steps Honoré has seen are in places where generations are mixed together, like the Netherlands nursing home where students spend 30 hours a month with residents in exchange for lodging. To Honoré, who has been promoting a slower pace of life for a decade now, this exchange of perspectives is a great advance in “adopting a more favourable view of ageing”. He also contends that, in a world ever more dominated by spin, online echo chambers and Twitter mobs, older people, with their general tendency to be more community-minded and more comfortable with themselves, could become one of the most valuable constituencies of the digital realm. In dark times, Bolder is a book that really does look to the future with optimism.