The Longevity Project Book Summary - The Longevity Project Book explained in key points
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The Longevity Project summary

Howard S. Friedman and Leslie R. Martin

Surprising Discoveries for Health and Long Life from the Landmark Eight-Decade Study

3.9 (166 ratings)
15 mins

Brief summary

The Longevity Project by Howard S. Friedman & Leslie R. Martin is a research-based book that examines the secrets to living a long and healthy life. It challenges common assumptions and highlights the importance of social connections, positive outlook, and conscientiousness.

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    The Longevity Project
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    Conscientiousness is a characteristic that helps ensure a long life.

    Have you ever been teased by easygoing friends for being stubbornly organized and always playing it safe? If so, you may end up having the last laugh, because this kind of behavior is part of being conscientious, a characteristic that can lead to a long and healthy life.

    In children, one of the best indicators of longevity is conscientiousness, or carefulness. But even if it doesn’t develop until later in life, conscientious behavior can still have a positive impact.

    When Dr. Terman considered these effects, he looked at the behavioral patterns of his subjects twice: once at the beginning of the study, when they were children; the second time when they were adults, 20 years later.

    One of the subjects of the Terman Study was Patricia: She was a conscientious child and remained that way until she died in her nineties.

    Another subject was James: He wasn’t a conscientious child but as he got older his habits changed and he became more detail and goal oriented. Over the course of 20 years he had moved from the bottom 25 percent to the top 25 percent in the conscientious score, and, as a result, he lived well into old age.

    Researchers still aren’t sure why conscientious people are less likely to die from disease, but there are three possible reasons why they tend to live longer:

    First of all, by nature, conscientious people are not risk-takers and they lead healthy lives. This means they are unlikely to drink, smoke, do drugs or drive recklessly.

    The second reason has more to do with biology and the chemical composition of the brain. Research suggests that these types of people have higher levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps you feel good and stabilize your mood, and keeps you from making dangerous and irrational decisions.

    Lastly, being conscientious can also lead to healthier personal and professional relationships. So, they’re not only happier and healthier individuals, they also attract partners, friends and jobs that help them stay that way.

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    What is The Longevity Project about?

    The Longevity Project (2012) is about the impressive and revealing Terman Study, which followed a group of people for eight decades in order to find out what habits and practices helped them live long and healthy lives. These blinks explain why marriage might not be as healthy as you think, and what you can do to improve your chances of happiness and longevity.

    The Longevity Project Review

    The Longevity Project (2011) offers a fascinating exploration of what truly contributes to long and healthy lives. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • Packed with data-driven insights, it uncovers the myths and misconceptions surrounding longevity, providing evidence-based findings that challenge conventional wisdom.
    • By examining the lives of over 1,500 individuals, the book offers a rich and comprehensive understanding of the factors that influence lifespan, such as personality traits, relationships, and lifestyle choices.
    • Its focus on real-life stories and narratives adds a personal touch to the research, making the book engaging and relatable, ensuring it is far from a dry or tedious read.

    Best quote from The Longevity Project

    Healthy people are happy but happy people are not necessarily healthy.

    —Howard S. Friedman and Leslie R. Martin
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    Who should read The Longevity Project?

    • People who want to live longer
    • Anyone tired of standard health advice
    • Students of medicine and psychology

    About the Author

    Howard S. Friedman, PhD, is a psychology professor at the University of California whose work in health and longevity has won him awards from the Association for Psychological Science and the American Psychological Association. His other books include Health Psychology and The Self-Healing Personality.

    Leslie R. Martin, PhD, a psychology professor at La Sierra University in California, is a recipient of the Anderson Award for Excellence in Teaching and the Distinguished Researcher Award. She specializes in finding ways to improve the physician-patient relationship and in forging psychological paths we can follow to live longer and healthier lives.

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    The Longevity Project FAQs 

    What is the main message of The Longevity Project?

    The main message of The Longevity Project is that certain personal qualities and social connections contribute to a longer life.

    How long does it take to read The Longevity Project?

    The reading time for The Longevity Project varies depending on the reader, but it typically takes several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is The Longevity Project a good book? Is it worth reading?

    The Longevity Project is worth reading for its insights into the factors that influence lifespan. It provides valuable lessons for living a longer and healthier life.

    Who is the author of The Longevity Project?

    The authors of The Longevity Project are Howard S. Friedman and Leslie R. Martin.

    What to read after The Longevity Project?

    If you're wondering what to read next after The Longevity Project, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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    • Successful Aging by Daniel J. Levitin
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    • The Diet Compass by Bas Kast
    • Super Human by Dave Asprey
    • The XX Brain by Lisa Mosconi
    • The Plant Paradox by Steven R. Gundry
    • The Wealth Money Can't Buy by Robin Sharma