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The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who've Lived the Longest

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3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  2,052 ratings  ·  360 reviews
With the right lifestyle, experts say, chances are that you may live up to a decade longer. What’s the prescription for success? National Geographic Explorer Dan Buettner has traveled the globe to uncover the best strategies for longevity found in the Blue Zones: places in the world where higher percentages of people enjoy remarkably long, full lives. And in this dynamic b ...more
ebook, 304 pages
Published August 1st 2008 by National Geographic (first published January 1st 2008)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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mark monday
i am ashamed to say that i am writing this review of a book that is all about healthier living and living longer with a cigarette in hand. well, it is an american spirit light. those are healthier, right? i firmly believe in Harm Reduction as a model for living.

this is not the sort of book i usually read, although it is actually published by National Geographic (which somehow automatically gives it credence in my mind. why is that?). and it probably would have remained on my desk for who-knows-h
...more
Lauren
Jul 29, 2009 Lauren rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone who wants to live a long and happy life
Recommended to Lauren by: National Geographic Adventure
Shelves: health, culture
Seriously one of the best (life-altering) books I have ever read. Much like "Omnivore's Dilemma" in the way that I think this book will have a serious effect on how I view things from this point on, and how I will live my life. It is nothing absolutely revolutionary, no, but the fact that it is all gathered in one place, and so accessible makes this book stand out for me. I have read many books like this, but this one seems one of the most palatable and the easiest to share... perhaps because of ...more
Janet
One of the most striking things in this book was how incredibly simple it is to have the type of lifestyle that favors longevity. The centenarians featured in the book are from simple, almost primitive, cultures with strong family ties and daily sense of purpose -- that is, they feel a sense of importance and purpose from the moment they wake up in the morning (usually at sunrise) till they go to bed at night, well in to their later years. They don't have elaborate rituals or search for obscure ...more
Patrick Boykin
One problem I have with the book is that, sorry for the offense, the author comes off as a science fan-boy, who really thinks that doing the legwork of data-analysis is just a formality, and really we could figure everything out just chatting with long-lived people.

I'd like to see at least a section on the data analysis to see what, if any, of the recommendations the book makes are supported by rigorous statistics.
Jo
Interesting book looking at populations from around the world with the most people living to be 100. Basics seem to be:
5. Diet - lower in animal products (though they are included) and higher in fruits and veggies and whole grains
4. Work that incorporates being physically active versus no exercise or over exercising which wears out the joints.
3. Feeling that you are still valubly contributing to society
2. Religon/spirituality - not any one in particular but rather a feeling that a higher power i
...more
Chip
Friend at work loaned this to me. We're both committed to improving our health by improving our diets, and so I was optimistic about what the authors found studying the "blue zones" (communities with the longest-lived inhabitants). Turns out, not much. It's the same old advice (good advice, I'm convinced) repackaged and re-branded: sensible (plant-based diet), exercise, good work, time for play, sleep, friendship, community, spiritual values and sex -- and everything in moderation. But the premi ...more
Go2therock
An excellent and easy read about four areas of the world where there is a significant percentage of the population that live to be centenarians+. You may be aware of Okinawa. I have read the Okinawa Diet book a time or two. The other four places were a mountainous area of Sardinia, a remote area in Costa Rica, and a Seventh Day Adventist population in Loma Linda, California, of all places. I was so grateful that we had the Costa Ricans in the mix - at least that added corn tortillas, rice, and b ...more
Georgina Ortiz
Mar 23, 2012 Georgina Ortiz rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Georgina by: Joyce Suficiencia
Growing up, I have always been wishy-washy about my dreams. At different points in my childhood/young adulthood/adulthood, I have wanted to become a scientist, an archeologist, a brain surgeon, a supermodel (haha), an ambassador, a museum curator...and so goes on the list. But I have recently realized that until now, I would give everything up to be a writer for the National Geographic Society/Magazine/Channel (well, not really everything, but you know what I mean).

Reading D. Buettner's Blue Zon
...more
Zakariah Johnson
BLUE ZONES contains four case studies of populations around the globe--Sardinia; Okinawa; Loma Linda, CA; and Nicoya, Costa Rica--where exceptional numbers of people live to be 100 or more and large numbers of other old people remain physically and mentally sharp until unexpected ages. The case studies were undertaken to test the hypothesis that something besides genetics (namely long-term behavior and habits) is responsible and that lifestyle commonalities can be found linking longevity across ...more
Amanda Nuchols
I picked this book up on a whim because I was intrigued with the concept of "Blue Zones" and the people and lifestyles explored in this book. The cover is deceptive. It looks like one of those many, many "self-help" "guru" books that have flooded the market for decades now. The inclusion of a quote from Dr. Oz on the cover almost kept me from buying the book at all.
Really, this book is more of one man's personal exploration into the cultural and sociological factors that create pockets in the w
...more
Steve
The book rekindles a feeling of disappointment from not having listened more carefully to my grandparents' stories during my younger, more naive, days. It motivates a feeling of desire to understand my roots and my purpose in life more clearly today. Nevertheless, this book wants to be a story, not a lesson book. This book contains stories, from the people who have lived the longest. The only unsatisfying moment is when it attempts to transform its story into a lesson.

The book quotes a line fro
...more
Lauren
Jul 29, 2009 Lauren rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lauren by: National Geographic Adventure
Shelves: culture, health
Seriously one of the best (life-altering) books I have ever read. Much like "Omnivore's Dilemma" in the way that I think this book will have a serious effect on how I view things from this point on, and how I will live my life. It is nothing absolutely revolutionary, no, but the fact that it is all gathered in one place, and so accessible makes this book stand out for me. I have read many books like this, but this one seems one of the most palatable... perhaps because of the focus on life-long h ...more
Hoan
What a fascinating read! Buettner does a fabulous job of reporting on Blue Zones and providing easily understandable conclusions regarding the lives of the centenarians the group had studied and their habits after years of research. I learned a lot from this book on not just potentially being able to live longer but to live better. The life styles and practices in this book should definitely be reenforced in more cultures today and if everyone were to read this book I think health care costs wou ...more
Lisa Rajna
I wrote about this book and my parents' 50th wedding anniversary for Women's Adventure Magazine.
http://www.womensadventuremagazine.co...

My article starts:
Living to one hundred years old in great health sounds like a scam. Why do some struggle through their years in poor health with little enjoyment, while others enjoy the adventure of life? Even more befuddling, certain people manage only a few days of marriage, while my parents, Frank and Judi Niver, are celebrating fifty years of wedded bliss
...more
Stacy
The author writes for National Geographic, and it shows. The book read like an extended version of a magazine article - nothing too deep, and with summary bullet-points at the end of each section.

Still, it was a light and interesting read detailing the author's travels to four Blue Zones with unusually high numbers of centenarians. The places he visits are: Sardinia, Italy; Okinawa, Japan; Loma Linda, CA; and Nicoya, Costa Rica. He talks about what the people he meets there do, how they live, wh
...more
Emily McCune
I seriously just read this entire book in one sitting. It's certainly not a book I would pick up based on the title alone - I only read it on my Sociology instructor/Sustainable Food Production program director's recommendation.

WOW. What a trip I've just taken! In one night this book has enabled me to travel from Sardinia, Italy, to the town of my birth (Loma Linda, California), to Okinawa, Japan, to Nicoya, Costa Rica, to uncover (along with the author/journalist Dan Buettner) how other people
...more
Rachael
This was absolutely fascinating! This book recounts a study conducted of people who had lived to (or past 100) and evaluated their diet, activity level, lifestyle, etc. to find common ground (big surprise: eat food. Mostly plants. Not too much. Thank you, Michael Pollan). Interestingly, however, the research showed that relationships were also very important to long life--cultures who care for aging parents in-house tend to have better longevity.

In any case, very very interesting. One thing I a
...more
Lisa
This was a very interesting read. I enjoyed hearing the authors experiences of visiting with centenarians. Rather than just plying the readers with data, he did a good job of bringing the individuals and their lifestyles to life. [return][return]One review of this book that I read gave it a poor rating, as there was no real new or astounding data. I think that was one of the best things about the book. People are always looking for a miracle cure, one magical thing that they can do to live forev ...more
Emilie
Jan 02, 2009 Emilie rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Overstressed urbanites, Boomers
Recommended to Emilie by: Mama Oprah
The most important thing a health book can do is inspire me to make positive changes, and Buettner has achieved that especially well with this study of four centarian communities throughout the world. He approaches it with the enthusiastic, adventurous spirit of a National Georgraphic journalist who once spent several months biking from Alaska to Argentina. The book is engaging and gives life to a list simple behaviors that could translate into a much healthier and more emotionally fulfilling li ...more
Francis Bandettini
There was something that struck me--hard when this author described what these awesome centurians revealed what their very common regret was!!! I won't tell!!!
Rachael
Nothing terribly new here -- eat right, exercise, have good social and spiritual support, work hard. The real draw is the wonderful stories of the people behind the statistics. 100-year-old Marge who, during a whirlwind of social and volunteer activities, drops off magazines she's collected for a senior care center because "the old people there like to read them." 91-year-old Dr. Wareham who still assists in 2-3 heart surgeries a week. 102-year-old Kamada who is the noro -- a priestess who commu ...more
Kandice Newren
I started reading this book as part of the wellness program at work. This turned out to be a lot more interesting than I thought it would be. The author tells the facts more as stories than as dry data. The book covers four different regions, and the stories make me want to live a long life. The ideas posited were great, although I don't know how easy it will be to do in today's society of plenty and sedentary life. It did give me several ideas and ways to improve my life, so this is a great boo ...more
Sabkymom
Very interesting findings, however seems to point out that we are doomed as a civilization to not live long. The book points out various foods and lifestyles that modern individuals can incorporate to better their chances of longevity. But it also mentions that all four 'Blue Zones' are disintegrating as modern life and technology take over. At the end, the book mentions a website vitality test. I was pleased to find out I'd live a long life...especially if I drink more red wine. Overall, a good ...more
Alexis
This is such an eye-opening book! Dan Buettner tells the stories of several of the places where huge portions of the populations live to be centenarians--living beyond 100 years. Not only that but these people are amazingly healthy and engaged in life.
The locales range from Ikaria, Greece, to Loma Linda, CA, to Okinawa, to a small Cost Rican community. Much of what Buettner learned reinforces what medical science has been advocating--fruits, vegetables, and grains;small doses of meat; daily mode
...more
Joan Dash
Scientists studied areas of the world where people lived to be over one hundred years old in greater proportions to the rest of the world, and in higher clusters within a particular region. The book maps out five locations in the world where centenarians, and supercentenarians live healthily and actively, until their death. The regions are:
1. Okinawa, Japan
2. Sardinia, Italy
3. Loma Linda, California
4. Ikaria, Greece
5. Nikoya, Costa Rica

A team of scientists went into these regions to confirm ages
...more
Nicholas Piva
Blue Zones is about the concept of longevity and how it comes to be. The questions being answered: is it purely genes, or does lifestyle have to do with it. The term “blue zones”, means places of high ratio of centenarians to non centenarians. There are four blue zones and we will explore each one of them and see how they live in that particular area of the world.

The first blue zone is Sardinia. This place is about 130 miles off the west coast of Italy. There people have been high aged througho
...more
Rob Billingsley

This book started as an outgrowth of the author’s interest and graduate work in age longevity. As part of a National Geographic online Quest project, Dan Buettner became interested in why some populations support higher numbers of centenarians than those in the U.S. By the time his research effort was completed, he identified four noteworthy areas around the globe in Okinawa, Sardinia, Loma Linda, California, and a particular region of Costa Rica. Early on, we learn that only 25% of the reasons
...more
Susan
I didn't really like it and confess I skipped around a lot. Mostly the advice for living longer is much like everything else I've read so I found much of it boring. Notably though I think most of us lack the tight culture and extended families of the places where people live longest.
Brenda
I think there were three big take aways from this book. Though the eating habits in the "Blue Zones" were diverse (no strict Mediterranean diet, or any fad diet necessary to live a long, healthy life) none of them ate processed foods. No McDonald's or KFC. They all had gardens and therefore fresh vegetables. Some of them ate meat, but they raised it themselves, or walked a mile to the butcher shop in the village to buy it. Which leads to the second take away. Not a sedentary one in the bunch. Wh ...more
Bijou
Loved this book, really interesting! It crazy how similar all the centurions are in the life styles and eating habits... Great read, quick and fun...
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National Geographic Explorer Dan Buettner has traveled the globe to uncover the best strategies for longevity.
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“WHAT CAN ADD ON MORE GOOD YEARS? Robert Kane: Rather than exercising for the sake of exercising, try to make changes to your lifestyle. Ride a bicycle instead of driving. Walk to the store instead of driving. Use the stairs instead of the elevator. Build that into your lifestyle. The chances are that you will sustain that behavior for a much longer time. And the name of the game here is sustaining. These things that we try—usually after some cataclysmic event has occurred, and we now want to ward off what seems to be the more perceptible threat of dying—don’t hold up over the long haul. We find all sorts of reasons not to do it. The second thing I’d tell you is don’t take up smoking. The biggest threat to improving our lifestyles has been cigarette smoking. That trumps everything else. Once you’re a nonsmoker, I would try to get you to learn to develop a moderate lifestyle in regard to your weight to build into your daily routine enough exercise to keep you going.” 0 likes
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