The pandemic has given us all time to reflect on our lives and what's important. For Roy Moëd, the 67-year-old who founded LifeBook, a company that creates personal, professional-caliber autobiographies, that meant documenting great stories. And now, after doubling in size since the pandemic began, the company is launching as LifeTime Memoirs in the U.S.
Roy's father's story became the first autobiography when the entrepreneur sought to bring back his appetite for life. The process stimulated his father's mind and provided a legacy for the family. This experience so inspired him that he wanted to find a way to help other older adults to do the same.
So, he launched the company in 2012. Since then, thousands of people around the world, in 40 different countries, have created their own books. When COVID hit, more people became interested in the offer allowing Roy to expand the business to the U.S.
"COVID was the trigger for everyone being constrained from travel, and many of our clients who typically would have gone on holidays, flights, and cruises were locked down and isolated," Roy told Departures. "On top of that, it forced many people to consider their own mortality and legacy, and being remote from one's children and grandchildren made many feel the need to record their story for their loved ones."
How does it work exactly? There are six people—a project manager, interviewer, ghostwriter, editor, typesetter, and proof-reader—who go through a process with the participant that includes 12 90-minute interviews, photo selection, revisions, and publishing. Typically the interviews happen in person, but the company was able to shift the process for clients, who were used to face-to-face interviews, to zoom interviews, and in many cases, train them on the use of the technology. The whole process takes around six months, depending on the client and author's health and availability.
The final result is beautifully printed books on archive paper, section sewn and in gorgeous gift boxes, along with a one-hour recording of favorite stories by the author.
Clients, while mostly in their golden years, range from 42 years old to 106. Many people do it upon retirement to record the first part of their life—the working part, before getting on with their retirement. Some people use it to journal their story to date, and the company has one client who updates theirs every five years since the age of 50. They've also had several younger terminally ill clients who want to record their story or wish to do a tribute to a loved one.
Roy added, "I truly believe that the final result is a family, and future generations, having the priceless legacy of their loved one, finding self-worth and satisfaction in the telling of stories, and as my father quoted when he completed his, 'I'm remembering things I didn't even know I'd forgotten.'"
The cost for a lasting legacy? The price starts at $12,000 for 10 copies that are not for publication or sale.