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

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  8,016 ratings  ·  918 reviews
A New York Times Bestseller!

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
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published March 25th 2008 by National Geographic (first published January 1st 2008)
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Max The Blue Zones Solution is more about how to create good habits yourself, and live the "blue zone" lifestyle to maximize your own health. It goes over…moreThe Blue Zones Solution is more about how to create good habits yourself, and live the "blue zone" lifestyle to maximize your own health. It goes over 4 case-studies where the Blue Zone team went into cities and created change on a large-scale basis. It also has a ton of recipes in it.

The Blue Zones is the earlier book, and goes over the 4 original blue zones with information from his original trips, interviews, research, and history of the regions.

If you've already read one, you probably don't need to read the other!(less)

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mark monday
Aug 29, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: guidebooks
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
Jul 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone who wants to live a long and happy life
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 and the easiest to share... perhaps because of ...more
Jul 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audiobook, health
The blue zones are regions in the world where an inordinate number of people live healthy lives to very old age, often beyond 100. In this book, Dan Buettner personally goes on research expeditions to various locations around the world. He sometimes goes alone, while at other times he brings along with him a team of researchers. Their goal is to determine first whether the people claiming to be very old are, in fact, as old as they claim, and second, to interview the super-seniors to determine t ...more
Oct 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: health, non-fiction
What a entertaining read. I just love reading about different cultures, and this book reminded me of a cultural anthropology course that I once took and loved, but this course is made with a twist of lemon. By “twist of lemon” I mean that it is about food, but it is also about how food affects your longevity. The part I really loved though, was on how the people lived, and that is where the cultural anthropology comes in to play.

The author visits six different cultures that have the same things
Jul 08, 2008 rated it liked it
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
Apr 10, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: health
Living a healthy life is not that difficult if you know how. This is probably what the author was trying to convey in this book, but while the message came through loud and clear, I have to take issue with much of the information provided.

I'll start with the recommendation to drink red wine every day. I don't think that can be particularly healthy, especially if you have certain health complications like diabetes or heart problems. It can also be bad if you are depressed or prone to addiction.
Aug 15, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those wanting a longer, quality-filled life
(This is the second edition: it adds a new zone to the book, making it 5 zones to read.)

I first read about this living-longer business in the November 2005 National Geographic magazine article, which I still own. This expands on the subject, and helps one notice all the good points from each zone. It's about how to live a longer, quality-filled life - it's not just about how good your genes are, or necessarily where you live: these tips really could make your life longer and happier. The majorit
William Lawrence
Mar 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Even better the second time around. Lots of vegetables, beans, & nuts; a little wine & meditation, family, and a mission statement of purpose.

Killer Quotes that will Keep You Alive

"We can live a shorter life with more years of disability, or we can live the longest possible life with the fewest bad years."

"Costa Rica spends only 15 percent of what America does in health care, yet its people appeared to be living longer, seemingly healthier lives than people in any other country on Earth."

Patrick Boykin
Jun 29, 2009 rated it liked it
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.
Mario Tomic
May 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
Interesting book about the secrets of longevity based on the anecdotal observation of the world's longest living people. The author Dan Buettner traveled the world with a team of scientists and researchers to identify 4 places (called Blue Zones) that had the highest number of people living past the age of 100. His goal was to learn from them, and in the process he distilled 9 lessons that were consistently found within the lifestyles of these oldest people on earth. One interesting fact is how ...more
Jul 29, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle
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
Jun 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: health, non-fiction
I got so much out of this book. It looks at the lifestyles and diets of five areas where there is a very high proportion of centenarians as compared to the rest of the world - Sardinia, Italy; Okinawa, Japan; Loma Linda, California; Nicoya, Costa Rica; and Ikaria, Greece.

I found each zone unique and interesting, and I took something away from each that has inspired me to make some changes. For anyone concerned with health and getting the most out of life, I definitely recommend it.
Sonnet Fitzgerald
May 31, 2017 rated it it was ok
I have to start by saying I know I am absolutely not the right audience for this book. If it wasn't assigned for book club, I never would have picked it up. I don't typically get too excited about non-fiction. Over years of medical issues I have an uncanny ability to sniff out snake oil. And after seeing three of my four grandparents live almost to 100, I have zero, zero desire to ever do so myself.

So that's three strikes right off the bat.

Is it interesting to look at cultures that have higher t
Aug 06, 2015 rated it liked it
What's a "Blue Zone"? It's Dan Buettner's name for areas in the world where people live a long time: Ikaria, Greece; Okinawa, Japan; Sardinia, Italy; Loma Linda, CA; and Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica. Dan and his team of experts determined that diet and certain activities make these people live longer. There are many similarities and some differences.

Similarities: They eat a lot of homegrown fruits and vegetables. "Organic" isn't some overpriced produce in the grocery stores, it's just the way fo
Jan 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
I may not always follow what I learn but I love reading and studying nutrition and health topics. And I have a mother who is very nearly a centenarian. So this book is of particular interest.

The author and his researcher cohorts set out to study the secrets of people who live the longest. "Blue Zones" were identified, which are areas of the world that have the greatest concentration of centenarians, people who have reached 100. This book focuses on these Blue Zone locations: Sardinia, Italy, Ok
Wren Fair
Jul 22, 2016 rated it did not like it
This book was a huge disappointment to me. I am very interested in nutrition and have had my eye on this title for awhile. However, I was surprised to learn that the author is not a nutritionist, a medical professional or even an epidemiologist. He has no credentials whatsoever and this book is based on very thin science. The book largely consists of narrations from his travels around the world to meet centenarians. While these are interesting, they are just that, interesting but not conducted i ...more
Moses Hetfield
Aug 01, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Clickbait in paper form.
While this book covers an objectively interesting topic and has a couple of good insights, it is also shallow, unscientific, and lacking in rigor. Buettner—a journalist, not a scientist—chose to write this book as a personal narrative about his time wandering through "Blue Zones" and talking with people, resulting in little more than anecdote and speculation.
I also take issue with the idea of creating a self-help book for individuals on the basis of the Blue Zones. The lo
Mar 13, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Fascinating look at areas in the world with long-lived people. The conclusions that are drawn are sometimes hyperbole or not necessarily accurate, but when you look at common elements in various areas of the world some truth can be found. This book was given to me by my friend John Brieby, who knows of my interest in medical topics.
Jan 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
I generally say that this kind of information could be presented in a pamphlet and move on. However, to describe the Blue Zones required the anecdotes that Buettner provided. There were some pretty clear messages to be had here: moderate exercise, positive social activity, simple consumption. It is making an impact to the start of my 2019.
Feb 02, 2021 rated it really liked it
secrets for longevity: (1) have a strong social support network ie friends or family you talk and laugh with every day (2) eat tons of fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, and whole grains (3) avoid all processed foods and limit meat (4) have a strong sense of purpose related to work, family, or community that you retain even after retirement (5) cultivate a cheerful, playful mindset even amidst hardship and loss (6) have faith (mostly because it helps you cultivate optimism in the face of adversity ...more
Dec 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: aging, health
Concepts in this more than ten-year old book are lauded by many of the podcast bio-hacking bros of today, and for good reason. Dan Buettner's study of communities with the highest number of centenarians reviews the diet, lifestyle, activities, relationships and spirituality of each community along with the impact and changes taking place due to encroaching development.

This is worth a read for those interested in longevity, though the book could have been better written, it's an easy read with t
Josh reading
Jul 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
A very interesting read by Dan Buettner chronicling several regions around the world when’re there are larger than normal populations of centenarians (those that are 100+ years old). The book articulated the commonalities that each of these groups have and also numerous differences. It is amazing though to see what the traits are of those that are living well long into their lives. The book takes Dan from Sardinia to Okinawa, to Costa Rica, and beyond. An engaging and enlightening read with some ...more
Teo 2050


Buettner D (2008) Blue Zones - Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who've Lived the Longest


Preface: Get Ready to Change Your Life
• The Blue Zones Quest
• Life Changes
• Return to Ushi
• Centenarian Wisdom
• Longevity Lessons

1. The Truth About Living Longer: You May Be Missing Out on Ten Good Years
• Facts about aging
• What exactly is aging?
• What is the average American lifespan?
• What are the chances of living to 100?
• Is there a pill that can extend
Anissa C.
Dec 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book.... Fascinating to learn how big a role lifestyle plays over genes in longevity... So many lessons we can learn from our elders... and so lucky to have a centenarian in my family.... The best way to learn is from the example of others.... Really looking forward to reading the next book on my list, Thrive!
Georgina Ortiz
Mar 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Lisa Niver
Jun 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I wrote about this book and my parents' 50th wedding anniversary for Women's Adventure Magazine.

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
Peter Neiger
Jul 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. Unlike most diet and lifestyle change book this had a strong focus on science in both practice and theory. Not much of the information is revolutionary, but I enjoyed the information and the advice. As someone who thinks we could cure death completely in my lifetime I am really interested in prolonging my life as long as possible to up my chances of being around when technology advances. According to the Blue Zone research it really comes down to four things: eat well (plant b ...more
Tony Rogers  Jr.
Jun 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
Interesting book documenting research into some of the longest living people on the planet and the probable causes of their lengthly lifespans. The author takes the reader on a journey around the world, meeting different people, in different cultures with(in most cases)similar lifestyles. After reading this book I walked away with gratitude for the blue zone lessons I currently follow and a reminder of a few things I could definitely get better at. Here are a few of the 9 Blue Zone Lessons found ...more
Laila (BigReadingLife)
Aug 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: people who want to live well!
This book might seem dry at first glance, but it is great, really inspiring. The idea to document these "Blue Zones" (areas of the world with higher than normal concentrations of centenarians) started with a National Geographic article. The author and his team expand on that by visiting Sardinia, Okinawa, Loma Linda, CA, and some place in Costa Rica that I can't remember. :) Anyway, they talk with centenarians and their families about what they do that might have made them reach that level of ol ...more
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Longevity 1 4 Jun 17, 2019 11:50AM  

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