It has long been believed that eating well and exercising is the key to a long life but with other factors which need to be taken into consideration, is longevity just all good fortune?
We need to live longer these days if only to answer all our emails, which was not a problem for the participants of The Terman Study in the 1920s. Dr Terman, a psychologist at Stanford University, selected a group of children in San Francisco to determine whether potential could be identified at an early age. The individuals were asked detailed questions: how active and sociable were they? How many books did they have at home? How honest were they? What was their sense of humour? They continued to be monitored over decades, even after Dr Terman’s death in 1956.
Twenty years ago Drs Howard Friedman and Leslie Martin, also psychologists, began studying this project to assess whether circumstances, personalities and habits early in life could predict who would live a long and healthy life. They were able to conduct such a study because of the detailed questions that Dr Terman had asked.
The authors of The Longevity Project present their readers with the opportunity to gauge their own chances of living a long life with a series of self-assessments relating to temperament, outlook, social and professional achievements, and early life experiences.
Their approach is compassionate, respectful and gently humorous, despite the serious research. This is a very readable book and leaves you feeling as if you have had an extended consultation with your own private practitioner.
And the secret to long life? We suggest you read it for yourself – the results will surprise you.
Howard S Friedman and Leslie R Martin