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You're Looking Very Well: The Surprising Nature of Getting Old [Hardcover]

Lewis Wolpert
3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 April 2011

We now live longer today than at any time in history. In the UK, more people are aged over sixty-five than under sixteen and by 2050, over a third of the developed world will be over sixty. How should we deal with this phenomenon? What are the scientific reasons for ageing? And can - or should - we prevent it?

Lewis Wolpert, distinguished biologist and octogenarian, explores the scientific background and the implications of our ageing population. In this engaging investigation, he tackles every aspect of the subject from ageism to euthanasia to anti-ageing cream and, through it all, tries to better understand his own ageing. Witty, frank and often inspiring, Lewis Wolpert is the perfect guide to 'looking very well'.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; First Edition edition (1 April 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571250645
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571250646
  • Product Dimensions: 13.4 x 2.4 x 20.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 383,185 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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'Essential reading.' -- Daily Mail Book of the Week
'One of the many virtues of Lewis Wolpert's excellent investigation of 'the surprising nature of getting old' is that he does not treat the elderly as an undifferentiated blob ... Wolpert treats us to a sprightly tour that encompasses the diseases and neurological conditions that may await us en route to extinction ... You may not look any better after reading Wolpert but you will know how to feel better.' --Raymond Tallis, Daily Telegraph

'(Wolpert's) book is very informative and stimulating, provided you are prepared to look the demands of ageing in the face.' --Peter Lewis, The Oldie

'Informative, clear-eyed take on ageing.' -- Sunday Telegraph
'For Wolpert, aged 82, the acumen and drive exhibited in this book are mightily encouraging.' -- Sunday Times
'His overview of the scientific evidence is compelling, readable, and ultimately stark.' --Guardian

'This is not a miserable book. It's actually rather inspiring.' --Evening Standard

'Informative, clear-eyed take on ageing.' -- Sunday Telegraph
'For Wolpert, aged 82, the acumen and drive exhibited in this book are mightily encouraging.' -- Sunday Times
'His overview of the scientific evidence is compelling, readable, and ultimately stark.' --Guardian --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

The essential book on ageing from acclaimed scientist and broadcaster Lewis Wolpert

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A survey of old age 16 May 2012
By Junius
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The title I admit is misleading suggesting a much more informal, gossipy book than we get. It is the work of an academic and in essence his detailed research is surveying the present state of knowledge of the ageing process. It is probably strongest in the middle chapters on biology which is Wolpert's own field, suggesting developing research in the cellular field might reduce the effects of cell damage or improve the body's ability of restoring damage to body cells and so reduce the harmful effects of ageing. Wolpert also considers the social and political effects of increased longevity, particularly in the Western world, far less so in China, where there could be a massive problem in the near future due to a rapidly ageing population outstripping the younger generation, and also longer term effects in the developing world. Wolpert has researched widely and offers a range of data, which is not common knowledge. He has his own personal views; he is particularly disgruntled at being forced to retire from his university because of age in Britain where he wouldn't have been in America, and he is in favour of euthanasia. Whilst diligent and intelligent he is not rigorously analysing or arguing a case. Critics might object that he is using a scattergun approach to data. The book is clearly and lucidly written. The topic could be of general interest but I suspect it would be of more immediate relevance to someone directly concerned with ageing and who is interested in looking at evidence instead of merely amusing anecdote and opinion. I found it personally an engaging and interesting work and I would not hesitate to recommend it.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing 15 May 2011
I have to say I found this book disappointing. I (mistakenly perhaps) expected a look at the more personal, psychological aspects of ageing. What I got was a lot of facts and figures on biological and financial aspects of ageing which made for rather dull, depressing reading. If you are a person who reads the broadsheets and is informed, this book won't tell you anything you don't already know.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Things oldies need to know 19 Jun 2011
By daibach
Very enjoyable. A bit worrying at times but on the whole, quite encouraging that things may not be as bad as one thinks as one gets older. Illnesses and ailments are explained in, at times,an amusing way, but very informative. I like the very last paragraph in the book : a list of do's and don'ts by Jonathan Swift, some 300 years ago, on how to cope with advancing years. I'll try to follow as many as I can !
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Too Detailed 9 Jun 2011
By reynard
Parts of the book are interesting but the bulk is much too detailed and boring. I skipped pages as points were repeated and laboured. There is nothing surprising about getting old, just enjoy the process whilst you still can.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thought-provoking and entertaining 3 April 2012
Written by a scientist, the book is a fact-filled look at the nature of growing old, and manages to be both informative and entertaining. As well as being a scientist and an author, Lewis Wolpert is an octogenarian, so brings his own personal slant to the various chapters. Those chapters cover all aspects of ageing, including -

There are times when the relentless stream of facts can be overwhelming (and I must admit that there were bits I "skimmed"), but on the whole this is an informative book which is also entertaining because it is so well written. It was indeed surprising at times, as I learned many things I hadn't previously known, and there were some issues raised in the book that I've found interesting enough to follow-up on.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A good read 28 Aug 2013
By Paul
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I really enjoy this book. I note some reviewers found the book too dry being merely a collection of facts and data. But as I am a sucker for facts and data........
Everything is presented in a very readable manner. I read the book almost in one go.
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