Longevity, how to extend your life


TITLE: The Longevity Project: Surprising Discoveries for Health and Long Life from the Landmark Eight-Decade Study

AUTHOR NAME: Howard S. Friedman, Leslie R. Martin

AUTHOR CREDENTIALS: Howard S. Friedman is a Distinguished Professor at the University of California in Riverside. In 1999, he received the Outstanding Contributions to Health Psychology Award from the American Psychological Association; and in 2008, he was honored with the James McKeen Cattell Fellow Award from the Association for Psychological Science (APS), an international award and the most prestigious in his field of applied research.
Dr. Leslie R. Martin is a Professor of Psychology at La Sierra University, and Research Psychologist at UC Riverside. She graduated summa cum laude from the California State University and received her Ph.D. from the University of California in Riverside. She has received the Distinguished Researcher Award, and the Anderson Award for Excellence in Teaching, both at La Sierra University.  In addition to her research on pathways to health and longevity, she studies physician-patient communication and its relationship to medical outcomes.

GENRE: Health

FORMAT: Paperback / 248 pages

PUBLISHER: Penguin Putnam Inc.

PUBLIFICATION: February 2012
(First published in 2011)

PRICE: $ 13-17  (the price may vary due to special price offers or other decisions made by the seller)

WHERE TO BUY: Paperback - Book Depository
eBook - eBooks.com
eBook Kindle or Paperback - Amazon  

SHORT SUMMARY: The Longevity Project is a project that studied people for eighty decades since their childhood. H. Friedman and L. Martin have with help of this study and by gathering new information found out the real and very much surprising secrets about what is critical for living a long and healthy life.

INTENDED AUDIENCE: This book is written for the general reader. It is interesting for persons who want to learn about what criteria make you live a longer and healthier life as well as for people who in general are interested in the human psychology.

MY PERSONAL RATING:         (4,5 / 5)


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Summary of Content


In 1921, a Stanford University psychologist, Lewis Terman selected more than 1500 gifted boys and girls in order to follow them through life and find out more about intellectual leadership. The study lasted for eighty years. Dr. Terman collected information such as family composition, schooling, and activities. He even recorded things like how many books there were in their houses and how happy their parents were. He also took notice of their personalities – for example, if they were cheerful, careful, introverted or extroverted, prudent or vivid. Dr. Terman followed the children into their adulthood and continued the work on studying them. When he died in 1956 the project continued by others.

In 1990, Dr. Howard S. Friedman and his graduate student Leslie R. Martin were looking for material to do research about well-being and a longevity. They discovered that Dr. Termans study was the perfect source. Additional to this study they gathered much other information by doing an analysis of other similar studies and they also talked to experts in different kind of fields.

The discoveries of Dr. Friedman and L. Martin are surprising. Most people assume biology to be the most important factor in longevity. That is not at all the case: Dr. Friedman says

«Genes constitute about one-third of the factors leading to long life.
The other two-thirds have to do with lifestyles and chance

The main belief is that obsessing over the diet, how much we exercise, and avoiding stress are the keys to a long and healthy life. Yes, it certainly matters, but the crucial factors are more surprising. For example, it is not the most optimistic and cheerful persons who live the longest; retiring early is absolutely not a guarantee for a longer life and it is a myth that people who live a stressless life live longer.

This book also contains many questionnaires for you to help you to find your optimal way to health and be able to pursue a long life.


Listen to Leslie R. Martin and Howard S. Friedman


A short information about their surprising discoveries concerning health and longevity.


Do you want to know the secrets of a long and healthy life?


If yes, then I can highly recommend you read this book
to get a better and deeper understanding of what really matters
for having a healthy and long life.
You’ll learn about many more surprising discoveries.


Did you know that reading books can prolong your life?
Here you find out why: Reading Books Extend Your Life

Read It, Learn It, Live It

Please, let me know what your thoughts are?

If you have any questions about this book or any topic related to healthy living,
I’d love to help you.


6 Thoughts on “The Longevity Project – Book Review”

  • Pernilla, I haven’t purchased the book yet, but what Lesley Martin and Howard Friedman reveal in their short video revolutionise any of my beliefs to the secrets for a long and happy life. I always thought that being happy and stress free would lead to a healthier life. Stressing over work, or over diet and exercise has never been a no goer for me – which does not mean I hate to work or eat what I want. I like to eat healthily, and I like to think that I am hard worker, though I may be lazy with every day simple chores. But the book and Ms Martin and Mr Friedman’s findings take a totally different approach.
    I shall definitely consider purchasing the book. I think I shall still seek to stress less and keeping an optimistic view of the present and future, but I am intrigued to find what the real secret to longevity is.

    • Hello Giulia,

      How very nice to receive your comment, thank you so much. This book is very interesting, especially as it tells about a real study made on the same persons for such a long time as 80 years. Even though it is said that stress does not seem to shorten the life, I also believe that it is vital to avoid negative stress. Stress that is produced by an interesting work is not destructive if it is not permanently. Negative stress caused by unhappiness is very destructive and must be avoided by any means.
      Giulia, I think you are doing great wanting to stress less and have an optimistic attitude.
      Wish you wonderful summer days,

  • Hello Pernilla,
    This is a real interesting review on how Leslie Martin and Howard S. Friedman debunk many myths about longevity. For example, I was surprised to learn that optimists don’t live longer than Downer types. The researchers think that looking on the bright side makes you underestimate health risks and fail to follow medical advice. That never occurred to me. Very informative book. Thanks for sharing.

    • Hello Thabo,

      Great to see you again! You have studied my book review very well. There are indeed, many surprising discoveries about the longevity factors made in this extensive study. This book is really worth reading as there are more profound findings and insights presented on how to prolong your life. I was also very surprised to learn that optimists take more risks. Anyhow, it is good to have a positive attitude as you are less likely to get stressed, which is very, very damaging to your body and mind. I recommend you to stay optimistic, but be aware of not taking too dangerous risks when it concerns your health.
      All the best,

  • Thank you for sharing this amazing helpful book with me, I am always reading books and posts to learn how to better take care of my health. With all the autoimmune diseases today, we must be more aware of our lifestyle and the best way to maintain our health.


    • Jeff, you are perfectly right, it is crucial for our health to choose to live a healthy lifestyle. This book is very interesting and I highly recommend you to read it. Things we believe are healthy sometimes turns out not to be that important for living a long and healthy life. Read it and find out the secret.
      Best wishes,

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