Ryan Amacher of Lake Shore published his first book, "A Baby Boomer's Guide to Their Second Sixties."
Given his background as an economist, one might expect a book written by Ryan Custer Amacher to be a bit stuffy.
The Lake Shore resident's first book, "A Baby Boomer's Guide to Their Second Sixties," is anything but stuffy. Anyone who's ever had even a brief conversation with Ryan can hear his voice in their head as they read the book, where the frankness, humor and sarcasm ring loud and clear.
"Turning 60 is not for the faint hearted," the back of the book reads. "There are issues ahead. The first thing we all face is taking care of aging parents or what the author refers to as helping your parents check out.
"Then there are our own Boomer health issues including cataracts and prostate cancer. You likely think there is nothing funny about these topics but the quirky economist author finds humor in all of our aging experiences."
In fact, it was Ryan's experience with prostate cancer that motivated him to write the book.
"Men don't talk about health issues. Women do," Ryan said. "I thought, 'This is ridiculous. Men could help each other out.'"
So he started writing. And he bluntly and directly relates his experience with prostate cancer, including minute details about surgery and recovery. And he started writing about the history of Baby Boomers, growing up in the 1950s and how the educational structure changed in the 1960s to provide great opportunities for students.
"It's a narrative about being a Baby Boomer and the good luck we had in being born when we were because of improvements in education," Ryan said.
Ryan and his twin sister were born Nov. 9, 1945, which actually was 52 days too early to be "official" Baby Boomers. He grew up in Medford, Wisconsin, and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Ripon College in Wisconsin. That's where he met his wife, Susan, a Lake Shore City Council member. He intended to major in theater in college, until he took an economics course from a professor.
"His lectures made more sense to me than anything I had ever listened to," Ryan wrote in his book.
He switched his major to economics and followed his professor's advice to obtain his PhD in economics at the University of Virginia.
"I did what he told me and never regretted it," Ryan wrote.
Ryan and Susan were married in 1967, and after obtaining his PhD at the University of Virginia, Ryan was a professor at the University of Oklahoma, Economics Department chair at Arizona State University, business dean at Clemson University and president of and economics professor at the University of Texas at Arlington.
"Academics are vagabonds. We advance a lot and move," he said.
He also was an infantry officer in the Army, a consultant at the Pentagon where he wrote a market plan for the All-Volunteer Army, a consultant for the Federal Trade Commission and worked on the Law of the Sea Negotiations with the U.S. Treasury.
Now "retired," Ryan, 66, is a permanent Lake Shore resident who plans to write a sequel to his book. He also enjoys speaking at conventions.
"I look at the world like an economist so I see costs and benefits," he said, noting he then applies that to poke fun at people and circumstances. He strives to get non-economists to look at costs and benefits, and to realize that there's no such thing as a win-win situation and that nothing is free.
His book does include references to Lake Shore, or "the village," as Ryan calls the community in his book.
Susan grew up visiting relatives every summer in Lake Shore, which is how the Amachers came to live here. They bought property eight or nine years ago and built a house with a boating theme. They own a wood boat that they take to the Gull Lake Classic Boat Show each August.
"We've lived in a lot of places. Once a Midwesterner, you're always comfortable around other Midwesterners," Ryan said, noting they're also used to the cold, though he doesn't like winter's dark mornings and evenings.
He is eager to continue work on a second book, tackling Boomer issues with a sense of fun and humor.
"This book is a practical guide to aging Baby Boomers, to help you see the humor and irony in our wonderful Boomer ride," Ryan writes in the preface of his first book. "It will not make you younger, but I hope it can help you navigate some stormy seas."
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