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Lifespan: Why We Age—and Why We Don't Have To

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  14,352 ratings  ·  1,614 reviews
It’s a seemingly undeniable truth that aging is inevitable. But what if everything we’ve been taught to believe about aging is wrong? What if we could choose our lifespan?

In this groundbreaking book, Dr. David Sinclair, leading world authority on genetics and longevity, reveals a bold new theory for why we age. As he writes: “Aging is a disease, and that disease is treata
Hardcover, 432 pages
Published September 10th 2019 by Atria Books
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Always Pouting
Oh boy, I just finished this and I'm incredibly annoyed. I want to start off by saying that I didn't pay for this and I'm glad I didn't. I had credits on Amazon to get a kindle book so this was one of the ones I bought because I had heard Sinclair on Peter Attia's podcast and I had thought that this book would be more research and science heavy. The last almost hundred pages of this book of 300-ish pages is what put me in such a bad mood. Personally I have zero patience for self styled thought l ...more
Sep 12, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, science
If I am being honest, I expected more from a 400+ page book written by one of the leaders in longevity. It is well written and the illustrations are lovely, but the information on extending healthspan could be summarized in a paragraph. I was also disappointed in how shallow some of the explanations were. I was hoping for an substantive monograph written for the lay person (like Zimmer’s work) but this is not that.

So then what is taking up the bulk of these 400+ pages?
Anecdotes, personal backgro
Mario the lone bookwolf (is on a longer vacation)
Immortality sounds... nice. Too utopic, still, but prolonging life for spans that seem unimaginable at the moment may be a standard procedure in a not so far future.

Sinclair, a professor of genetics and expert in the field of the science of aging from the Harvard medical school, summarizes the status quo of how to stay young and healthy as long as possible.

At the moment, the way to a longer life is a pretty hard one, focussing on some elemental and prooven elements:
Workout for both strength and
Oct 03, 2019 rated it liked it
Being part of the health enhancement community for my entire career I was familiar with the topics and theories on aging as presented by Havard Med School staffer Dr. David Sinclair.

Many of Dr. Sinclair's recommendations such as calorie restriction (CR), exercise, sleep and moderate to low protein intake are well vetted.

Other suggestions including the intake of NAD, Metformin, and Rapamycin MAY have anti-aging effects but are less well known and have potential downsides.

Since living long sound
Mario Tomic
Sep 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Coming from a perspective of someone who studies evidence-based nutrition, exercise, and healthy lifestyle factors for over a decade now, this book is a must-read.

Solving aging is one of the final frontiers for humankind, and the information David has provided here is a big step in the right direction. It has the power to bring more awareness to solving aging as well as shift strong limiting beliefs that have been deeply rooted in public as well as the scientific community.

We've come very far in
Jul 25, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This is a fascinating book covering the latest advances (including from his lab at the Harvard Medical School in Boston and others) in ageing research.

Dr Sinclair starts by discussing our attitudes towards ageing – most people think of it as inevitable. As a result, while many serious diseases such as cancer, heart diseases, dementia and others have received considerable funding, ageing still continues to receive a small fraction of that. Also, grants awarded to ageing are often used up for res
Sep 17, 2019 rated it it was ok
The book consists of 1) a history of aging and longevity related science, 2) a a handwavey survey of some interesting metabolic pathways and genetic/epigenetic programming techniques that Prof. Sinclair and friends have pursued, 3.) philosophical, aesthetic, and moral arguments on why pursuing lifespan extension is good.

It's well-written and I enjoyed Prof. Sinclair's distinctive writing style and purview. I learned a bit on what papers and authors I should read more deeply for Parts (1) and (2)
Feb 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Highly recommended. There is a lot of complicated science in this book (at least to me), but there are ideas and views that cannot be ignored. You may not agree with everything the author espouses, particularly some of his political views, but this book provides a lot of important things to think about and, if you are so inclined, to discuss with others. Providing thought provoking ideas is always good.
Dec 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I have a feeling this will be a long review, so if you're just looking for some cliff-notes then mine are: "This book has the potential to change the way you live your life. You might not enjoy reading it (*1), but the topic it addresses will definitely affect you personally. Whether it's right after reading it (*2), or at a societal level in the years to come, that's up to you."

Now for the long version...

My previous knowledge of David Sinclair was from his visits to JRE podcast, where I found
Mar 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is an intriguing book written by the renowned Harvard researcher, David Sinclair.

Sinclair believes that our attitudes about the inevitability of aging may be somewhat flawed. In fact, based on his research, he believes that not only will we be able to slow aging down, we may someday be able to reverse it.

He discusses the shortcomings of aging research that is partly a function of the fact that we don't currently classify aging as a chronic disease, thereby making its research ineligible fo
Jul 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
I read this for work and while the science/DNA-level detail in the front part is pretty dense, the book really opens up when he writes about the possibility for treating aging as a disease and all the things that currently kill us (heart disease, cancers) as its symptoms. And then the social impacts of society living much, much longer than we currently do. I am now operating as if I will live to 100, and we're talking GOOD years, not wasting away. So this book has really changed the way I think ...more
Oct 04, 2019 rated it it was ok
The book is 99% of personal anecdotes, tedious and lengthy lab studies, descriptions of yeast cells, government funding, and epigenetics.

And 1% on how you should:

• exclude animal proteins
• exclude sugar
• exclude dairy
• eat a lot less of everything else (calorie restriction).

I'm following it.
Jun 30, 2022 rated it it was amazing
This might be one of the most remarkable non-fiction book I’ll read this year. The ground-breaking science on aging provides hope for the future. The research was interesting and I found myself hoping that governments all over the world will start prioritizing research on how to prevent aging. I for one want to live as long as I possible can, with my health intact. I enjoyed the optimism and the chapters on possible solutions for our world in other areas than just aging.
Oct 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely fascinating read about the past (what we know), present (what we are learning) and future (where we are going) of the anti-aging science research. Along with “Why we Sleep” of Matthew Walker this is another of those fundamental books one should read. Actually I can’t help but imagine future generations looking back in our times and wondering how were people going about their lives without learning about or caring to understand longevity factors such as nutrition, exercise, sleep, ment ...more
Sep 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I've been following David Sinclair's research into aging for many years, and this book is a great summary of his work and that of others, where the field of aging research is headed, and what we can expect. Dr. Sinclair is and has always been an optimist. I'm an optimist too, so that's fine by me. While he isn't a medical doctor and can't give medical advice, he discusses supplements he takes and lifestyle choices he makes that he feels are helping him and his own family too, including his 80-ye ...more
Mike Lisanke
Sep 22, 2019 rated it it was ok
This book could have been excellent... I am a true fan of life extension and the author Dr. Sinclair as an obvious insight in the current state of art in the biochemistry of life extension. He gave an excellent introduction to many detailed topics in this biochemistry: sirtuins, NMN, mTOR, and DNA mods to test repair effect on ageing... mention of Metformin, Resveratrol and the search for other potential triggers of sirtuins repair... potential for a genetic reset button and adding this to our D ...more
Cain S.
Sep 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Within our lifetimes many will be able to live longer than 120 years, while enjoying at age 80-90 the health of 30-40 year olds.

Gene therapies that can reverse organ damage, like macular degeneration, and get rid of senescent cells, which increase with age and cause the various illnesses of old age, are already proving to be successful in the lab.

We will be able to program genes in a way that makes humans immune to most fatal diseases. A Chinese doctor has already gene edited a girl who is immu
Sep 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The authors have written an excellent book on a subject that affects everyone. It's not too technical and has personal stories to make you really think about treating aging as a disease. It was a very enjoyable read. ...more
Feb 20, 2021 rated it really liked it
I found the writing very american and quite self absorbed, but I really liked the message and ideas that sinclair puts forward. It's a very optimistic look at the future of healthcare and one I'd like to see happen! ...more
Mar 25, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dr. David Sinclair is a scientist, researching aging in humans. He says “I believe that aging is a disease. I believe it is treatable." This is something my mother has always said and she was happy to know that the scientific community is finally taking aging seriously.

This book covers the latest advances in the field of ageing research. The reason we age is due to the loss or damage of genetic information in our cells. “Aging, quite simply, is a loss of information.” To put it simply, when we
Jack Kresa-Reid
Sep 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Highly recommended for anyone wanting to understand the hallmarks of ageing and how to manage them.

Understandable and well-communicated science underpinning human longevity. David wrote it in a way a layman like myself could easily understand. The book lays down the existing science. Past (what we know) and moves to where we are now. Present. (what we are learning). Then moves through to where we are going (future - breakthrough science) and this is where it starts to get really existing.

The fu
Dan Connors
Nov 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019-books

How would you feel about living an extra thirty years? And how about if those years were relatively disease-free and healthy ones? If everybody lived that extra thirty or more years, would that necessarily be a good thing? What would happen to families, work, and society with double the elderly population as today?

These questions and more are examined in this fascinating book by Dr. David Sinclair, one of the leading experts on aging and founder of a prestigious laboratory at Harvard Universi
May Ling
Jan 13, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: health-welness
Summary: He's dedicated his life to studying this. A lot of good info. One-star off b/c I think his direction of inquiry is a little disjointed in spots. I think that's the fault of the way research is set up and not the author though. The other star has to do with fact presentation.

I saw Sinclair on a show on Netflix and thought, hey! Let me read this guy's book. He seems to know a lot. And that is true! The writing style of this book is very approachable for a science book.

The early part of t
Mar 18, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved it. A great insight into the science of aging and the newest discoveries.
David Jones
May 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Kindle tells me I made 281 highlights, there is many, many gems and aha-moments here. I had a soft spot for the book because he begins and ends the book with an emotional connection to Garigal National Park of which I spent a lot of time in and around - I definitely also have an admiration bias of "local boy done good". Despite being at Harvard (down the corridor from legend George Church) he appears to retain connection to labs in Australia - which is great.

For me, there 3 main 3 thesis:
1. Agin
فادي زغموت
Jan 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Almost done reading "Lifespan: Why we age and why we don't have to" by David Sinclair and I am pleased with what I read. This might contain spoilers.

At first glance one would look at the book cover and say it is a tall order. Not knowing who is David Sinclair, one would assume that this best selling book is another hocus self-help or motivational book. But once you start reading, you'd get to realize that this is the real thing. David has a Ph.D. in Molecular Genetics and is a researcher at Harv
Jul 06, 2022 rated it it was amazing
“I believe that aging is a disease. I believe it is treatable. I believe we can treat it within our lifetimes. And in doing so, I believe, everything we know about human health will be fundamentally changed.”

Wild book. I felt like we are living in a sci-fi movie the entire time I read it. I also kept wanting to dismiss his claims as made-up, but then I would remember that this man is the co-director of the Paul F. Glenn Center for Biology of Aging Research at Harvard Medical School.

Either he’s l
Jan 18, 2020 rated it liked it
This was an interesting book that should have been an article. It was repetitive in some places and some parts seemed completely unnecessary – do we really need a science book telling us that we could live longer by eating healthy and exercising? The most memorable part – the author is disappointed and surprised by the fact that the younger generation feels pessimistic about the future; on this he quoted his teenage son who said that allowing people to live longer would only give them more oppor ...more
Sergio Alonso De Leon
Oct 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I have been following David Sinclair for a while in interviews podcasts and so, and I had incredibly high expectations on this book. From a science point of view, there is no huge discovery, the recommendations are basically metformin, NMN and a couple of other things. The book is impregnated with Sinclairs optimism and, more precesily, life satisfaction. He is a really nice person, beyond with intellect. What he says still sounds science fiction, and probably not all what he claims will happen, ...more
Pap Lőrinc
Dec 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Many studies focus on the so-called blue zones, i.e. where people live longer than average.
Most people associated it with their eating habits - this book attributes the lifespan (and healthspan) to what (and when) they're *NOT* eating (via negativa).
This is a prime example for all the confusion we're bombarded about nutrition: every "study" has an equal, opposite "study" (mostly observational ones, obviously), and we didn't even care to look for what's missing (since it's always easier to just c
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David Sinclair is a professor in the Department of Genetics and co-director of the Paul F. Glenn Center for the Biology of Aging at Harvard Medical School, where he and his colleagues study sirtuins—protein-modifying enzymes that respond to changing NAD+ levels and to caloric restriction—as well as chromatin, energy metabolism, mitochondria, learning and memory, neurodegeneration, cancer, and cell ...more

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“Aging, quite simply, is a loss of information.” 10 likes
“There isn’t much debate on the downsides of consumption of animal protein. Study after study has demonstrated that heavily animal-based diets are associated with high cardiovascular mortality and cancer risk.” 7 likes
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