Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Longevity Project by Howard S. Friedman, Ph.D. and Leslie R. Martin, Ph.D.

In this illuminating addition to the burgeoning bookshelf on longevity, UC-Riverside health researchers Friedman and Martin draw on an eight-decade-long Stanford University study of 1,500 people to find surprising lessons about who lives a long, healthy life and why. The authors learned, for example, that people don't die simply from working long hours or from stress, that marriage is no golden ticket to old age, and the happy-all-the-time types may peter out before the serious plodders. If there's a secret to old age, the authors find, it's living conscientiously and bringing forethought, planning, and perseverance to one's professional and personal life. Individual life stories show how different people find the right balance in different ways, depending on their personalities and social situations. Lively despite the huge volume of material from 80 years of study, and packed with eye-opening self-assessment tests, this book says there's no magic pill, but does offer a generous dose of hope: even if life deals you a less than perfect hand, you're not doomed to an early demise if you live with purpose and make connections with the people around you.

This is an eight-year study on longevity.  What is fact, fiction, myth? You'd be surprised!

Here are just a few of the longevity myths busted in this book:

'You'll worry yourself sick': Worriers actually live longer; a healthy dose of concern about the future makes people more likely to be diligent about their translates into years.

'Look on the bright side' It turns out that overly-optimistic people tend to put themselves in harm's way -- they just don't see risks as clearly as people who are prone to caution/pessimism.

Do you resolve every year to exercise more? Vigorous exercise can be detrimental to longevity. If you're not a gym rat, don't sweat it -- partaking in physical activities that you enjoy like gardening or walking actually are more beneficial to your health than high-impact exercise.

'You'll work yourself to death': Hard workers actually live longer, even those with stressful jobs; being engaged and motivated keeps you alive.

Married people live longer: Those in happy marriages do often live longer, but those whose marriages end in divorce actually have shorter life spans.

Early education ensures higher level of achievement: Many children who are pushed into schooling before they're prepared actually do not excel academically. In fact, drop-out levels are often higher in children who are put into school too early.

This book is absolutely fascinating! It will make you think and it really does make sense. Social support, marriage, health, careers, how you think.  Written in an engaging way on a person-to-person level, The Longevity Project is very easy to read and understand.  It's not one of those self-help books, but it will change the way you think about a few things, and perhaps think about somethings before you do them.  Who lives longest? Read the book! There are also tests through-out the book for the reader as you go along so you can see where you rate.  Really terrific!


Howard S. Friedman, Ph.D., author of The Longevity Project: Surprising Discoveries for Health and Long Life from the Landmark Eight-Decade Study, graduated from Yale and was awarded the National Science Foundation graduate fellowship for his doctoral work at Harvard. He is currently Distinguished Professor of Psychology at the University of California, Riverside, and has been honored with major awards by the American Psychological Association and the Association for Psychological Science.

Dr. Friedman has edited and written a dozen books and 150 scientific articles and has been named a "most-cited psychologist" by the Institute of Scientific Information. His health and longevity research has been featured in publications worldwide. He lives near San Diego, California

Leslie R. Martin, Ph.D., co-author of The Longevity Project: Surprising Discoveries for Health and Long Life from the Landmark Eight-Decade Study, graduated summa cum laude from California State University, San Bernadino, and received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Riverside. Currently, she is a professor of psychology at La Sierra University, where she received the Distinguished Researcher Award and the Anderson Award for Excellence in Teaching. Dr. Martin is also a research psychologist at the University of California, Riverside, and a key associate in Professor Friedman's longevity studies.
An avid traveler, Dr. Martin climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro in 2005, and recently completed the 151-mile Marathon des Sables across the Moroccan Sahara. She lives in Riverside, California.

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1 comment:

  1. This sounds like a fascinating and infomative book! I might have to add it to my TBR list... thanks for sharing!


The old grey donkey, Eeyore stood by himself in a thistly corner of the Forest, his front feet well apart, his head on one side, and thought about things. Sometimes he thought sadly to himself, "Why?" and sometimes he thought, "Wherefore?" and sometimes he thought, "Inasmuch as which?" and sometimes he didn't quite know what he was thinking about.

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