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Book Review: Timeless: Nature's Formula for Health & Longevity

If you knew there were things you could do to help you live longer, would you do them?

That is an interesting question for which we already have a partial answer. We already know what we should eat, that we should exercise, drink alcohol in moderation and more. Yet as we look around us, it is evident that many people are not willing to make what they might see as the sacrifices needed to live longer. And we know that our genes also play an important part in this.

With Timeless, author Louis Cozolino, Ph.D., offers us additional insights into how to live not just longer, but healthier and happier lives. And his book suggests to me that the way to do it might be easier than modifying our diet or other behaviors (although most professionals would likely advise all).

Our society has taught us that old age equals decline, or even loss, of our abilities. However, Cozolino claims that isn’t necessarily so, or at least it does not have to be. He also clears up many misconceptions about “old age” that we have accepted for centuries despite the significant growth in life expectancy.

For instance, we currently have a national debate about the appropriate retirement age. Social Security eligibility may need to begin later for solvency reasons, but many people continue working past the age of 65 or 66, either because they need the income or they like to work.

But there is a practical side to this conversation. According the Cozolino, 65 as a suitable retirement age began when Otto von Bismarck of Prussia offered a retirement pension to soldiers at the age of 65 at a time when life expectancy was 66! However, in 1889 he also guided Prussia to a retirement pension program for workers that began at age 70. And in the U.S., we still consider 65 or 66 as “normal” for retirement despite that the average life expectancy has increased from 61 when Social Security was enacted to close to 80 now. So society tells us, in part, when we are “old”, or at least old enough to stop working, regardless of how we might feel.

Timeless tells us that the most important factor in our living longer, healthier, and happier lives is a healthy brain. And the author goes on to report that a healthy brain is best achieved by social interaction and stimulation. These are possible as we age, if we look for them. Timeless provides a lot of information about how to do that, as well as other information that provides us with perspective on aging.

The book provides an important education on the brain’s development, structure, and function. Cozolino describes our brain’s communication process, the development of neurons throughout life (not just when we are children), and more. Where we used to research only diseased brains of older people to learn what changed, we now also explore healthy brains to see what might have made those individuals healthier or happier.

In the third section of the book, the emphasis is on wisdom and maturing emotion. While older people typically do not react as quickly as younger people, it is often suspected that the older people are taking the time to draw upon many years of experiences and tempering their responses. With decades of experience handling different situations and challenges, older people can employ their wisdom to develop a tactful yet effective response to a problem.

The final section of Timeless is about taking care of yourself and your relationships. With social interaction such a key component of healthy aging, this makes sense. Often as we age we become more isolated instead of more social. With families located in different parts of the county or beyond, relationships with friends can take on greater importance. Despite our technological tools for communication, face-to-face interaction is still important.

Dr. Cozolino has written a very informative and helpful book. It is written in a style that is readable and understandable. With a reported 10,000 individuals becoming 65 each day, there are many who would find this book inspirational and educational. Older adults may also have the advantage of perspective as they read the book.

Timeless is a timely and worthwhile reading.

Timeless: Nature’s Formula for Health and Longevity

W.W. Norton & Company, May 2018

Paperback, 368 pages

Book Review: Timeless: Nature's Formula for Health & Longevity

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Claire Nana

Claire Nana is a regular contributor and book reviewer for Psych Central.

APA Reference
Nana, C. (2018). Book Review: Timeless: Nature's Formula for Health & Longevity. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 22, 2019, from https://psychcentralreviews.com/2018/book-review-timeless-natures-formula-for-health-longevity/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 1 Oct 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 1 Oct 2018
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.