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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 9 January 2015
The study - following from and based on the longitudinal research of Dr. Terman - has a relatively unique dataset of around 1500 participants who were meticulously followed for around 80 years, thereby allowing unprecedented analysis of the influence of lifestyle choices on longevity. Lots of the research going into the study has previously been published in scientific articles and the current book is an attempt to summarize the findings for a wider audience, so as to disseminate the most important information more broadly.

Dr. Terman started his research of bright or gifted children from California in the early 1920s, with candidates on average being around 10 years old. These were then followed until the death of Dr. Terman until the 1950s by the original research team and then by several subsequent groups of researchers well past the year 2000.

Longitudinal research is relatively rare, as it is both expensive and as it requires a very long term perspective to produce results - not something particularly popular in the current 'publish or perish' academic environment. In order to make the most of it, Dr. Terman tested the participants on the widest possible spectrum of questions, so as to enable the future generations to test this unique database for a variety of effects of lifestyle choices on longevity.

The book is significant in that it allows several common sense myths about longevity to be finally laid to rest. Examples being that married people live longer, that one should exercise as vigorously as possible, avoid stress and moderate work, etc.

While the content of the research is certainly of impeccable quality, the presentation - here geared towards the broadest possible audience - is less of a success. The authors try to bring the subject closer by presenting results via individual study participants and their experiences. This is certainly easier to read and picture than endless tables of statistical significance of the findings (or the general style of peer reviewed scientific publications) but often creates the impression that their findings are based on a handful of single person cases and thereby not really generally applicable (as pointed out by several reviewers).

While this is not the case (and going through some of the sources mentioned at the end of the book will convince you of it) it can be vexing at times and I would personally also have enjoyed more numerical data supporting the findings. The authors also admit that their research primarily accounts for the nurture end of the spectrum, meaning that they are researching behavioural / environmental and not genetic influencers of longevity. This is not a detriment, as we can hardly alter our genetic make-up but certainly are capable of changing our behaviour or environmental effects on us.

Be that as it may, the book is certainly good enough to allow you to ask yourself questions about your lifestyle and to make changes which are easier to successfully maintain than the standard short term bouts of dieting and occasional exercising that many do as a result of well intentioned but seldom kept resolutions on a healthier life. As such I can definitely recommend it, even if the readers interested in more detail will be better served by the sources at the back for satisfying their further curiosity.
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on 17 March 2013
The factors that make us age can be rather surprising, and this book covers a whole host of things, not necessarily those habits of life that we might expect. Whilst we can't go back and change our childhood experiences, there is sufficient information to encourage one to look at one's current habits (especially sociability) and see how they can be improved, in order to improve life expectancy and quality. A good read, anyway.
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on 17 January 2015
Simply the biggest, most rigorously-collected statistical study of longevity I've ever seen. Collating and analysing the data for this must have been a huge task, but what Friedman has ended up with is something truly amazing. A lot of the conclusions the study reveals are not unexpected, but some really are, and I defy anyone to read this book and not be in some way improved by it.
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on 18 November 2015
I found this book rather tedious and drawn out. As if a 5,000 word piece had been stretched to make it into a book. The authors have done their best to try and make the material appealing but more is definitely less in the case of this particular story.
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on 7 November 2014
Excellent book, it challenges many of the ideas we have about what helps in living a long, healthy life. I think everyone should read it. The book I received was in excellent condition, thank yoy.
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on 4 September 2011
Very good book with pretty surprising insights. Who lives longer the 'Sociable' or less 'Sociable'? The answer will surprise you.

All in all a great book and the kind I look for: one that cuts beneath conventional wisdom in which health 'facts' change daily.
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on 2 May 2011
Very disapointing. after a lot of publicity in the media i thought I would learn a lot more.This is ancedotal research at its worst.
sure they find that some optimists do badly - but dont really mention the 50+ studies showing the opposite effect or discuss why
No real scientific content and no discussions of the major biases of the study.
Best avoided.
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on 2 October 2011
Very disapointing. Was expecting some novelty or original research. Most of this is re-hashed optimism research plus a few un- scientific anecdotes of selected individuals they studied. Could have been much better. Not recomended.
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