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

3.92  ·  Rating Details ·  3,897 Ratings  ·  558 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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Maxine 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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Community Reviews

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mark monday
Aug 29, 2011 mark monday 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 15, 2015 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: health, audiobook
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
Aug 15, 2016 7jane 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
Jul 28, 2009 Lauren rated it it was amazing  ·  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: 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
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
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.
Apr 10, 2015 Kavita rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jul 29, 2009 Janet rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mario Tomic
May 11, 2016 Mario Tomic rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 05, 2012 Chip rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 13, 2010 Go2therock rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Georgina Ortiz
Mar 18, 2012 Georgina Ortiz 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
What a fun read, which is due to a very good and entertaining writer. But I am sure he would rather I just found this book on health interesting, and it is too.

I love reading about different cultures, and this book reminded me of cultural anthropology but with a twist of lemon. By that I mean that it is about longevity in 6 different cultures and it is about the food you eat, plus the way you live. It takes in six different cultures around the world that have all the same things in common. First
Lisa Niver
Jun 09, 2013 Lisa Niver rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Tony Jr.
Jun 04, 2015 Tony Jr. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2015
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
Interesting book about scientists looking at populations from around the world with a high percentage of the population living to be over 100 and evaluating the different lifestyle factors, diet and gene that made that happen. I particularly enjoyed the chapter on the Loma Linda, California chapter since that is from my part of the world and I had heard prior to this book about them being a Blue Zone. Really good book overall, made me think more about my life and the way I spend my time.
Apr 26, 2017 Joey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love this book. The approach is so simple, the stories and personalities are fun and there are easy things that I can take from this book and put into practice. I had already read a sequel of this book, not knowing about the original, so a lot of this was rehash...and I STILL enjoyed it. In a world of fad diets and exercise programs, this book of common sense is just such a refreshing breath of air.
Apr 14, 2017 Sarah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This book provides information about people living long and healthy lives in certain pockets of the world. I though the general advice made sense, regarding eating habits (mostly plant based, not too much), movement (do it regularly), social support, family, and having a sense of purpose. It's frustrating and sad to know that these things are becoming so hard to do in our current environment.

I really enjoyed the interviews with the centenarians.

I'd appreciate more of the research and statistics
Oct 19, 2015 Leah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Now don't get me wrong. I'm not interested in living forever, but I am interested in having the best quality of life that I can for the years that I do live. I found this book very interesting and informative. National Geographic sent Dan Buettner to some locations that were known for having a high number of people living into their 100s to study their culture and health practices.

The five locations studied were; Sardinia - an island located west of Italy, Okinawa - an island located south of J
Wren Fair
Jul 22, 2016 Wren Fair rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Aug 24, 2009 Hoan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Dana Digange
Feb 16, 2017 Dana Digange rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A book everyone should read. The stories of the people in the 5 different geographic regions are incredible. They have not just lived to be 100 (and many more in their 90s), but have maintained their mental and physical faculties, and a lot of independance. It's a fast read, the focus of the book isn't just on telling their stories, but on learning how to achieve this level of lifelong health.
I know, I know. I'm late to the party with this book. I've been meaning to read it for a long time, but only just now got around to reading it. I'm glad I did, too. I'm not saying the writing was brilliant, but I really appreciated the content of this book, and the travels and studies it reflects. Hearing about life in Okinawa, Costa Rica, Sardinia, and Loma Linda, CA, and how the lifestyles there contribute not just to overall increased longevity but also to increased quality of life was really ...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
Apr 03, 2014 Stacy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: health, non-fiction
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
Nov 18, 2016 Liz rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Probably closer to 3-1/2 stars. I've read a lot about nutrition and all of our "problems" with the modern diet--so hearing fresh fruits, veggies, plant based food & full fat dairy and limit alcohol, meat and sugar was no surprise. Buettner's constant questioning if soy, goats milk, tea or even corn was a "miracle" food that created longevity was a little irritating and he was constantly reminded by the scientists thats these pocket zones were most likely all encompassing lifestyle factors no ...more
Feb 01, 2010 Rachael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Laila (BigReadingLife)
Aug 06, 2008 Laila (BigReadingLife) rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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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National Geographic Explorer Dan Buettner has traveled the globe to uncover the best strategies for longevity.
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