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

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  7,401 ratings  ·  909 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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Gerry Leighton I read it on my kindle, though I listen to audiobooks regularly. I'm glad that I had the written format because some of it was a bit technical and I w…moreI read it on my kindle, though I listen to audiobooks regularly. I'm glad that I had the written format because some of it was a bit technical and I was able to process it better seeing it in print (not to mention take pics of pages that had info that I wanted to research further). (less)
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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: science, non-fiction
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
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
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)
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
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
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
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.
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
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
Benjamin Azevedo
Oct 04, 2019 rated it it was ok
The book is 99% of personal anecdotes, tedious and lengthy lab studies, and description of yeast cells, government funding, and epigenetics.

And 1% on how you should exclude animal proteins, sugar, dairy, and eat a lot less of everything else (calorie restriction).
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
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
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
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
Jan 30, 2021 rated it it was amazing
An excellent book which make you think about ageing as a disease rather than a fatality. I like how it focuses on Health-span rather than lifespan. Dr Sinclair gives some tips to slow ageing like : exercise, fasting, low-protein diet and some plant compounds. It is truly informative!

In the third part, I did not expect to discuss the possible effects of a healthy ageing population with longer lifespan. Some questions are highlighted like : Do saving more life leads to overpopulation? And What wil
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
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
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
Ginger Hudock
Nov 13, 2019 rated it liked it
The title and subtitle of this book would imply that this is a "how to" book about aging and steps that can be taken to slow down the process. Instead this book goes deeply into the biological and genetic processes of aging and the research that has been done on aging. I am a nutritionist and so am somewhat familiar with human physiology. This book was too complex for me and I think would be too complex for the average lay person interested in health.
There are no "how to" steps in the book othe
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
Deema Besiso
Aug 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book is based on years of research to extend the health span of humans not just the life span, it has been done to mice in the lab before, so we can anticipate an increase in the human life span by implementing these ideas in the near future.

There is no magical bill for longevity and vitality, but Dr. Sinclair claims that the use of NMN, resveratrol and metformin can be beneficial at the DNA level. In addition, following a healthy lifestyle is a key Ingredient to stay younger and healthier
Aug 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is quite good. A heck of a lot of info packed into this, which essentially covers what might become available in the next 10-40 years, and touches on on the potential impacts on society as a result of people living longer. You're not going to learn how to live longer, but you will learn some interesting stuff. Recommended for curious minds.

I really appreciate the advanced copy for review!!
Sep 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I love this book so much! It has a deep personal connection and justifies its facts. Definitely favourite book ever!
Victor Valov
Jan 25, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This book is full of science, that is extremely surprising, but what's more surprising to me is that I had never heard of any of that stuff, and I'm generally quite interested in science!
The author basically claims that in the last 20 years or so scientist have pretty much figured out how aging works, and they also have some good idea how to slow that down and even reverse it. He goes into a lot of scientific and experimental details, that some might find boring and too much, but I really enjoye
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
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“Aging, quite simply, is a loss of information.” 5 likes
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