Book Review: The Longevity Project

longevity projectAs part of my 16 in 2016 I made it a goal to read 5 nonfiction books this year.  I can happily say I’ve already finished one!  I picked up The Longevity Project by Howard S. Friedman and Leslie R. Martin because the blurb on the front cover caught my eye–“Surprising Discoveries for Health and Long Life from the Landmark Eight-Decade Study.” How fascinating!

Basically, this guy named Dr. Terman asked teachers in a region of California to give him the names of students who appeared to be gifted.  The kids were around 8, I believe, and Dr. Terman ended up surveying the parents and children over time to discover what traits led to a long healthy life.  There were about 1500 participants and Dr. Terman died during the course of the study, but luckily some other researchers kept it going!

Each chapter basically goes through different concepts to see what traits lead to a long, healthy life.  For example, starting school early, skipping a grade, having a conscientious or more carefree attitude, getting married, getting divorced, having a high income job, etc.  I found all the results and reasoning behind them SO interesting! Overall, it seems that having a conscientious and prudent attitude helps you live longer because you are more inclined to pay attention to your health and wellbeing throughout life.

The book also goes into details about how divorce affects you both if your parents get divorced and if you get divorced yourself.  At the end of each chapter, the authors give advice on how you can improve your own situation, which I really appreciated.  For example, he explains that having a stressful job or experience does not necessarily shorten your life if you are able to move on.  He gave an example of someone who worked on the Manhattan Project who didn’t have a shortened life, but someone who served in military combat and suffered from PTSD and never received treatment who did have a shortened life.  Treating and overcoming a stressful situation can work wonders!

I’d highly recommend this book! I was very interested in the results of the study throughout each chapter and I really appreciated the real world application at the end of each chapter.  It was so informative and also had some surprising results.

Any nonfiction book recommendations?

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