Why We Age―and Why We Don't Have To

by David Sinclair

Number of pages: 432

Publisher: Atria Books

BBB Library: Psychology and Strengths

ISBN: 978-1501191978

About the Author

David A. Sinclair, Ph.D., A.O. is one of the world’s most famous and influential scientists. He is a tenured Professor at Harvard Medical School and TIME magazine named him “one of the 100 most influential people in the world” (2014) and among the “Top 50 People in Healthcare” (2018). His newsletter is at and you can follow him on Twitter @davidasinclair or IG at davidsinclairphd.


Editorial Review

Growing old may seem a distant event, but every one of us will experience the end of life. After many years, all of the education, wisdom, and memories that we cherished, and all of our future potential will be erased. The universality of death makes the children come to understand the tragedy of death surprisingly early in their lives. By the age of 4 or 5, they know that death occurs; it is shocking thought for them. This concept makes you seize the day, and try to have extraordinary lives through doing your part to make humanity be the best it can be. Don’t waste a moment, embrace your youth; hold on to it for as long as you can, fight for it. But instead of fighting for youth, we fight for life or we fight against death.   As a species, we are living much longer than ever. Over the past century we have gained additional years, but not additional life-not life worth living any way. What if we could be younger longer? What if we could play as children do, deeper into our lives, without worrying about moving on to the things adults have to do so soon? What if, in our 60s, we weren’t afraid from leaving a legacy but beginning one?

Book Reviews

“Lifespanis entertaining and fast-paced—a whirlwind tour of the recent past and a near future that will see 90 become the new 70. In a succession of colorfully titled chapters (‘The Demented Pianist’, ‘A Better Pill to Swallow’), Sinclair and LaPlante weave a masterful narrative of how we arrived at this crucial inflection point.”

“Sinclair’s work on slowing the aging process, and even reversing some aspects of it, could lead to the most significant set of medical breakthroughs since the discovery of antibiotics nearly a century ago.”

“InLifespan, David Sinclair eloquently tells us the secret everyone wants to know: how to live longer and age slower. Boldly weaving cutting-edge science with fascinating bits of history, sociology, and morality, Sinclair convinces us that it is not only possible to live beyond one hundred years, it is inevitable that we will be able to one day do so. If you are someone who wants to know how to beat aging,Lifespanis a must-read.”

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Wisdom to Share

Aging, quite simply, is a loss of information.

As it turns out, exposing your body to less-than-comfortable temperatures is another very effective way to turn on your longevity genes.

Why would we choose to focus on problems that impact small groups of people if we could address the problem that impacts everyone—especially if, in doing so, we could significantly impact all those other, smaller problems?

I believe that aging is a disease. I believe it is treatable. I believe we can treat it within our lifetimes. And in doing so, I believe, everything we know about human health will be fundamentally changed.

It does not matter if we can extend lifespans if we cannot extend healthspans to an equal extent. And so if we’re going to do the former, we have an absolute moral obligation to do the latter.

As a species, we are living much longer than ever. But not much better. Not at all. Over the past century we have gained additional years, but not additional life—not life worth living anyway.

Youth → broken DNA → genome instability → disruption of DNA packaging and gene regulation (the epigenome) → loss of cell identity → cellular senescence → disease → death.

We know more about the health of our cars than we know about our own health. That’s farcical. And it’s about to change.

Separating aging from disease obfuscates a truth about how we reach the ends of our lives: though it’s certainly important to know why someone fell from a cliff, it’s equally important to know what brought that person to the precipice in the first place.

Only 20 percent of our longevity is genetically determined. The rest is what we do, how we live our lives and increasingly the molecules that we take. It's not the loss of our DNA that causes aging, it's the problems in reading the information, the epigenetic noise.