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Successful Aging: A Neuroscientist Explores the Power and Potential of Our Lives
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Successful Aging: A Neuroscientist Explores the Power and Potential of Our Lives

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  1,343 ratings  ·  229 reviews
INSTANT TOP 10 BESTSELLER *New York Times *USAToday *Washington Post *LA Times

"Debunks the idea that aging inevitably brings infirmity and unhappiness and instead offers a trove of practical, evidence-based guidance for living longer and better."
--Daniel H. Pink, author of When and Drive

SUCCESSFUL AGING delivers powerful insights:
- Debunking the myth that memory al
Hardcover, 528 pages
Published January 7th 2020 by Dutton Books
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Scott Wozniak
Jan 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is the best book on aging I've read yet. It covers everything from the social and emotional issues of aging to the neuroscience and even diet and supplements. The author does a great job giving you real science in a way that doesn't feel overcomplicated.

Some of this confirmed things I've read before:
-Your friendships matter tremendously and you have to keep investing in relationships or they will naturally fade as you and your friends age.
-When designing your final chapters of life, think
Clif Hostetler
This book combines knowledge from (1) developmental neuroscience and (2) individual differences (personality) psychology to help the reader understand the aging brain and the choices that can be made to maximize the chances of living long, happy, and productive lives. In the book's Introduction the author, Daniel J Levitin, claims that no other book intended for a popular audience has been written that covers the intersection of these two scientific fields.

The book is divided into three parts, (
Feb 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There are many books on the market that aim to document how to grow old in a healthy and life-affirming manner, however, this is one of the few written and comprehensively researched by a respected expert in the clinical area of neuroscience. The facts and statistics mentioned throughout are proven and so can be relied upon as methods to implement to try to ensure you live a long and happy life. The Changing Mind is a thought-provoking and eye-opening account of what happens to our brain during ...more
Natalie Fincher
Oct 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: stopped-reading
I'm too dumb for this. ...more
Jan 06, 2020 marked it as to-read
Iam seventy one years old woman. But I'd like to read new novels and listen to good music so that
I want to live by my self. When I have retired from professor five years ago I had depressed losted my punctual work. In my country many people thought as an unavailable person from retired their work. I have a complaint these conception. So I start to study regular lesson at open college and I always want to know how do I live my more older age.
I hope to meet and practice my life through Successfu
Julius Adams
Jan 13, 2020 rated it it was ok
A lot of science to get to the same results people have known for a long time. Cicero said it all in his treatise in OLD AGE, summarized below. Same findings, just without the science. So what is new here? Don’t waste your money....

Below is a link to an excellent summary written by Dr. John Messerly on his web site, where you can read his entire commentary concerning Ciceros treatise. Thank you to him, it proves this book is not new or necessary in its philosophical thinking.

Taylor Ahlstrom
Feb 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Daniel Levitin’s Successful Aging is a relatable and expertly written guide to the scientific, social, and emotional process of aging, buoyed by the latest research into what we can do to increase not just our lifespan, but our healthspan—those years when we are still living healthy, active lives, not plagued by chronic pain and disease or tubed up in a hospital bed. As a neurologist, the book is heavily scientific, but Levitin does a commendable job of making complicated neural behaviors make s ...more
Dec 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I thought this was a heavy book about how to age well. It is pretty scientific but it has good information.
Feb 03, 2020 rated it liked it
This book sounded interesting but it was way too detailed for me to enjoy. Felt more like a textbook. I’d recommend cliff notes for this one.
Ruth Kamau
Feb 04, 2020 rated it liked it
This book is long, filled with technical terms, and in the end... it does nothing to fulfill the promise given by the title.

It goes on and on about roles of hormones, what doesn’t work, experiments gone wrong, and then provides the most cliche advise about how to be happy in old age.

Coulda just started with that and saved us the repetitive ways of explaining Alzheimer’s and dementia.

All in all, some may appreciate this.
Aug 23, 2020 rated it it was ok
I felt like the book mostly dealt with research on drugs to reduce effects of aging. I wanted to hear more about what I can do personally. There was some of that, and those were the parts I enjoyed. What I found most interesting is the effect moderate or even slow walking can have on the cognitive processes of the brain. In other words, keep moving.
Aug 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Your Brain On Age

Wonderful book loaded with health information younger eyes should read. I found answers why and how my husband and my own thinking are changing as we approach our sixth decade. The science, anatomical, chemical and time changes accumulated in life is explained with an energy to age with courage, love and laughter. Will keep for future reference!
Karen Ng
The book is more technical and scientific than I expected. I find some chapters too overwhelming and tedious even though I was a scientist before retirement; read hundreds of books on neuro/ cognitive science after my brain bleed 3 years ago. The author's researches were very thorough and interesting, but attempting to educate an average reader with function and anatomy of the human brain, personality traits, memory categorization, cognitive science, as well as the effects of genes, environment, ...more
Dave Mills
Feb 03, 2020 rated it did not like it
True confession: I really didn't finish this book. In fact, I only made it to page 67. Wanna know why? Of course you don't, but I'll tell you nevertheless.
Skip 400 pages of shit, go to page 401 (hardcopy edition) and read "APPENDIX REJUVENATING YOUR BRAIN." That'll give you an idea of just how bad this book is.
Alas, in my "declining," addled old age, I tend to fall for books that might give me the magic elixir, the location of the fountain of youth, the Philosopher's Stone, potions, diets, chem
Feb 28, 2020 rated it did not like it
I only got 54 pages in and screw this book. Far too technical and I can’t stand the tangents made in the book that are irrelevant. No one cares about you learning to drive clutch in San Fran when you’re discussing procedural memory. Had some interesting points that makes me wish this book just kept the interesting stuff and therefore shortened into a 150 page book. As another reviewer said, just flip to page 401 and read the appendix.
May 25, 2020 rated it liked it
Sensible advice wrapped in scientific garb.
Dec 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
A lot of good information, and Levitin is a good writer. But I think I’ve read most of the neuroscience stuff in other pop-neurosci books, and almost all of the old-age advice seemed pretty familiar also, like from NYT articles. Not Levitin’s fault if I read this kind of stuff a lot I guess. I really liked his book about music, none of his other books have matched that for me.
Sara Budarz
May 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
My mother is in her 70s and she has spent the last decade often casually mentioning the fact that if she didn't happen to look in the mirror, or down at her aging hands, she would never know that she is that old. She doesn't feel her age. What it means to be in your 70s is of course subjective, but what she means is that she doesn't feel the way that others seem to expect her to feel. She doesn't want to slow down, she still has big dreams and plans for the next decades, she still travels, and i ...more
Mala Ashok
Sep 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
I have read Daniel Levitin's "Organized Mind" and liked it very much. Thus I was eagerly looking forward to this book. I won't say it was a disappointment. However, it was not easy reading. Granted the subject was a difficult one but I found I had to read some sections over and over again before understanding them. The book has a good premise that Life is about Heath Span and not Life Span. The author explains how to live a life such that one can be as healthy as possible and this is a definite ...more
Marlene Hayes
Sep 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
An easy to read, interesting and encouraging book to read and learn from. I've put page markers in the chapters that offer reality checks on forgetfulness and ways of seeing aging as the best developmental stage of all! ...more
Sep 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
It took me forever to finish this, but it was worth it. Leviton cites his sources and has thousands more studies and peer-reviewed papers on his website if you want to see them. Lots of great tips for aging with info on how your brain works.
Feb 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, science
A few things I've read before and a few things I haven't. I really appreciated all the research that went into this and the honesty in how reliable different studies are (usually not very). I find neuroscience to be incredibly fascinating so I did not mind at all the science-heavy, a bit dense reading. It did take me a while to get through, but I stuck with it because it was so interesting. Yes, a lot of the suggestions seem common sense, but clearly we still NEED to hear this stuff since most o ...more
Robert Yokoyama
Jan 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I want to age successfully, and that is why I read this book. I can increase the neuroplasticity in my brain by learning some new things. Neuroplasticity is the ability of the brain to change and adapt over time, I can increase neuroplasticity by learning to speak a new language. I grew up speaking Chinese, but I am hopeful that I can expand my vocabulary by taking lessons. I can also increase the neuroplasticity in my brain by performing in a theater. Learning how to memorize lines and movement ...more
Deedi Brown (DeediReads)
Apr 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
All my reviews live at

Successful Aging is a scientific but well-written and interesting look at current thinking about how the brain works and how you can protect it as you age.

For you if: You are a curious person and don’t mind reading a lot of scientific info.

I got my hands on a copy of Successful Aging through the Next Big Idea Club. I wouldn’t normally reach for a book like this on my own, but I’m glad I read it! I was feeling especi
Mar 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
I think that the author did an excellent job in putting together all the pieces about ageing and how we can try to modify our life style however aspects of our older selves have already been pre-determined by our childhood! This is a long book and it is very science heavy, be warned!
Patricia Aronoff
Book was more about how the brain works than aging.
Feb 14, 2020 rated it liked it
I'm rounding this up from a 2.5 because I rushed through it before it disappeared. This book is OK but I'm not sure the author ever found the correct balance between presenting the science to support his arguments and trying to reach the every-day person.

I do think it was good to have several ideas on aging be reinforced with the background he offered.
Jun 15, 2020 rated it liked it
There wasn't much I disagreed with though that was because there was little actionable information and by the time I waded through the fluff I forgot most of it. ...more
Aaron Mikulsky
Mar 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I read this book twice. This was a wonderful book filled with new science insights, philosophical, and practical tips on how to live a better, more fulfilling life. Here are some highlights:

COACH = Curiosity, Openness, Associations, Conscientiousness, Healthy practices.
“The ability to learn new things quickly reaches a peak in adolescence and the college years and declines after age 40.”
“There is no topic about which we have been more stupid than intelligence.”
There are great disagreements abou
Johnny Perspicacious insouciance
I really enjoyed this book and it gave me lots of useful information and strategies to implement into my own life as I age. Three out of his four main cornerstones he writes about for successful aging I have read a lot about for many years and have already made them top priorities in my life.

Those three areas are diet, exercise and sleep. These three cornerstones to healthy living and aging are neglected by most people more than ever now. More and more people continue to become more obese, more
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Daniel J. Levitin runs the Laboratory for Musical Perception, Cognition and Expertise at McGill University, where he holds the Bell Chair in the Psychology of Electronic Communication. Before becoming a neuroscientist, he worked as a session musician, sound engineer and record producer. He has written extensively both in scientific journals and music trade magazines such as Grammy and Billboard.


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