Spring Chicken: Stay Young Forever (or Die Trying)

Bill Gifford. Grand Central, $27 (368p) ISBN 978-1-4555-2744-1
Gifford, a correspondent for Outside magazine, confronts mortality and the ways in which people try to escape it, in this engaging study. “I wanted to know everything about aging, this universal but still little-understood process,” he states. To this end, Gifford interviews a wide range of sources, from respected scientists to the fringe figures involved with hormone therapies, radical diets, and herbal supplements. He uncovers surprising facts along the way, such as how the lifespans of naked mole rats defy expectations, or that the Laron little people of Ecuador don’t get cancer. Though he doesn’t skimp on the relevant science, the tone remains accessible, even humorous, as Gifford threads his own personal journey and experiences together. Some tangents seem a little far afield, like a discussion of an ill-fated experiment involving the enclosed artificial ecosystem Biosphere 2 in the early 1990s, yet everything ties back to the central question: why do some people fade away early, but a select few stay vital well past the century mark? Gifford does acknowledge that there is no cure for aging, but his core message—“Use it or lose it”—is a common-sense piece of advice anyone can find useful. Agent: Larry Weissman and Sascha Alper, Larry Weissman Literary. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/05/2015
Release date: 02/17/2015
Open Ebook - 368 pages - 978-1-4555-2745-8
Paperback - 384 pages - 978-1-4555-2743-4
Hardcover - 469 pages - 978-1-4104-8075-0
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