The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who've Lived the Longest [NOOK Book]

Overview

With the right lifestyle, experts say, chances are that you may live up to a decade longer. What’s the prescription for success? National Geographic Explorer Dan Buettner has traveled the globe to uncover the best strategies for longevity found in the Blue Zones: places in the world where higher percentages of people enjoy remarkably long, full lives. And in this dynamic book he discloses the recipe, blending this unique lifestyle formula with ...
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The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who've Lived the Longest

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Overview

With the right lifestyle, experts say, chances are that you may live up to a decade longer. What’s the prescription for success? National Geographic Explorer Dan Buettner has traveled the globe to uncover the best strategies for longevity found in the Blue Zones: places in the world where higher percentages of people enjoy remarkably long, full lives. And in this dynamic book he discloses the recipe, blending this unique lifestyle formula with the latest scientific findings to inspire easy, lasting change that may add years to your life.

Buettner’s colossal research effort, funded in part by the National Institute on Aging, has taken him from Costa Rica to Italy to Japan and beyond. In the societies he visits, it’s no coincidence that the way people interact with each other, shed stress, nourish their bodies, and view their world yields more good years of life. You’ll meet a 94-year-old farmer and self-confessed "ladies man" in Costa Rica, an 102-year-old grandmother in Okinawa, a 102-year-old Sardinian who hikes at least six miles a day, and others. By observing their lifestyles, Buettner’s teams have identified critical everyday choices that correspond with the cutting edge of longevity research—and distilled them into a few simple but powerful habits that anyone can embrace.
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Oprah Winfrey was so captivated by Dan Buettner's The Blue Zone that she devoted an entire hour-long show to the author's findings on longevity. It's easy to see why: The explorer/ documentarian's fascination with longevity led him to seek out the world's "blue zones," his term for the far-flung regions where people are likely to enjoy long, disability-free life expectancy. The Blue Zones can translate those lessons for readers wherever they live.
From the Publisher
“A must-read if you want to stay young! Buettner teaches us the secrets of the world’s longest-lived cultures and how they can turn back your biological clock.”
—Mehmet C. Oz, M.D.

The Blue Zone is one of the most important and engaging stories you will ever read! With Dan Buettner as your intrepid narrator, you will visit locations where people are living the longest, healthiest lives anywhere on the planet. More importantly, you will learn how to immediately incorporate those lessons from faraway places into your very own life. When I hosted the documentary, Chasing Life, Dan Buettner was the man we looked to for advice. Now, you have all of it at your fingertips. Inside: The Secret to a Long Life.”
—Sanjay Gupta, M.D.

“This book gives you practical tips for living long and well—the essential components of lifestyles in those areas of the world where healthy aging is the rule. I recommend it.”
—Andrew Weil, M.D.

“After a lifetime in the health and beauty business, I had the feeling that I knew most everything about aging gracefully. Then along comes Blue Zones, which is a valuable guide to help us achieve longer healthier lives. Each engaging encounter reveals simple, healthy choices that everyone can incorporate into their lives no matter where they live. Thank you, Dan Buettner!”
—Cheryl Tiegs

 “Dan Buettner takes us on a journey to explore the secrets of longevity and in so doing introduces us to a world of joy in aging... at 91, this is very good news!”
—Walter Cronkite

From the Hardcover edition.

Library Journal
In this 2008 title available for the first time on audio, Buettner (founder, Quest Network) draws from a National Institute on Aging study of four of the world's "blue zones"—Sardinia, Italy; Okinawa, Japan; Loma Linda, CA; and Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica—where common elements of lifestyle, diet, and outlook result in high quality and length of life. Narrator Michael McConnohie's (www.michaelmcconnohie.com) well-paced, enunciated reading helps to guide listeners through this fascinating discussion of the latest thinking concerning health, happiness, and longevity, which should appeal to listeners/readers of self-help and would work well alongside similarly practical health-based titles, like Mehmet C. Oz and Michael F. Foizen's You: On a Diet. [The National Geographic hc was a New York Times best seller.—Ed.]—Laurie Selwyn, formerly with Grayson Cty. Law Lib., Sherman, TX
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781426203411
  • Publisher: National Geographic Society
  • Publication date: 8/1/2008
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 196,238
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Dan Buettner is a National Geographic Explorer, a writer, and the founder of Quest Network, Inc. His 2005 cover story for National Geographic magazine, "Secrets of Living Longer," was a finalist for the National Magazine Award. He has appeared on CNN, David Letterman, Good Morning America, Primetime Live, and the Today Show to discuss his Blue Zone research and has delivered more than 500 keynote speeches over the last 10 years.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Preface Get Ready to Change Your Life xiii

Chapter 1 The Truth About Living Longer 1

Chapter 2 The Sardinian Blue Zone 23

Chapter 3 The Blue Zone in Okinawa 65

Chapter 4 An American Blue Zone 121

Chapter 5 Discovering Costa Rica's Blue Zone 167

Chapter 6 Your Personal Blue Zone 225

Bibliography 263

Index 269

Illustration Credits 279

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Interviews & Essays

Q In your book, you identify the "Power 9": nine habits or behaviors all Blue Zone populations have in common. Could you talk about one or two that the average American takes most for granted?
A Many Americans exercise too hard. The life expectancy of our species, for 99.9% of human history, was about 30 years. The fact that medicine has pushed life expectancy to age 78 doesn't mean our bodies were designed for three-quarters of a century of pounding. Muscles tear, joints wear out, backs go out. The world's longest-lived people tend to do regular, low intensity physical activity, like walking with friends, gardening and playing with their children. The key is to do something light every day.

I also think the trend toward isolation is a mistake. Drive down any American street at 9:00 pm and you can see the greenish glow of the television or the computer in people's window. We've become an increasingly isolated society. Fifteen years ago, the average American had three good friends. Now it's down to two. We know that isolation shaves good years off of your life. In The Blue Zones, I advocate reconnecting with your religious community and proactively building friendships with the right people.

Q Is there something about the physical landscape that contributes to an area being a Blue Zone, or can people make their own personal Blue Zones, regardless of where they live?
A Staying young and living long is mostly a function of your environment…and the good news is that to a great extent, we each have control over that environment. In the Blue Zones around the world, people live in places where walking is the main means of transportation, where the sun shines strong all year long so they get enough vitamin D; where they have established social norms that bring people together in supportive groups or clubs. The Blue Zones book shows you how to take about two hours and set up your home, your social life and your work place to help you get up to 10 more good years out of life (and look younger along the way!).

Q Are Blue Zones about living longer, or living better?
A Both. The same things that get you to a healthy 100 get you there better. The Blue Zones offers a completely different way to think about longevity and youth maintenance. If you look at the Power9- the common denominators of the longest-lived people-you see that they tend to put their families first, they belong to a faith-based community and they know their sense of purpose. All of these behaviors are associated with 3-6 years of life (which is better than any diet can promise) and they're good years. In other words, the same Blue Zone tenets that will help you get to a healthy age 90 will help ensure those years are vital and enriching.

Q If considering all nine habits at once seems overwhelming, what's the first step someone could take toward living a more enriching, longer life?
A The good news is that the Power9 is an a la carte menu: by no means do you have to do all nine to gain more good years out of life. In fact, do six of them and get about 90% of the benefit. The most important thing you can do is building your own Right Tribe. Which is to say-all of the world's longest-lived people were born into, or consciously chose to associate with, the right people. The Framingham Studies show us that if your three best friends are obese, there's a 50% better chance that you'll be obese. The reverse is true too. If you dine with people who eat healthy food, you're more likely to eat healthy food; if the friends you spend the most time with play a sport, you're more likely to join them. As your mother said, "You're known by the company you keep." You're also likely to resemble them.

About the Author
Journalist and longevity expert Dan Buettner, in conjunction with the National Institute on Aging and top researchers in the field, has done exhaustive research to locate and learn from the extraordinarily long-lived communities he now calls blue zones.

Buettner is currently reporting from Ikaria, Greece, where he has discovered his latest blue zone. On this so-called island of longevity, the secret is lifestyle. More than one third of northeastern Ikarians live past age 90 and experience almost no cancer, heart disease, diabetes, or dementia. Like all blue zones, Ikaria, offers recipes for longevity we can all follow.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 34 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 35 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 25, 2009

    A good read

    I really enjoyed reading "The Blue Zones". For me it was educational and intriging. It was hard to put down and I looked forward to hopping back into bed and finding out how the Costa Ricans maintained longevity. I have no significant analytical evaluation to provide. I simply enjoyed the reading. I did try the wine that the Sardinians drank, Cannonau was the name. It was not my favorite. It was heavy, rich and dry. It gave me what I call the "shake down", similar to what a dog does when he gets out of the bath to shake off the water but without the intensity. A little was all I could handle. I will however recommend Ecco Domani Chianti wine. It tastes good and goes down light and smooth. It goes well with the reading. Buy the book, you will see!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 27, 2009

    My husband went vegetarian after reading this book.

    After hearing an interview with the author on National Public Radio, I was intrigued enough to go out and buy a copy of The Blue Zones. The book is well written and organized so I was engaged as soon as I started reading. The story of each community and the characters highlighted are fascinating I appreciated the credibility and authenticity of the research collected, over seven years, by a team of scientists and physicians funded by National Geographic. My family happened to be on vacation in Costa Rica when I gave the book to my husband to read. When he was done he announced he was ready to eat a plant based, unrefined diet with fish as an occasional condiment. If you're looking for a way to live a long life, content and disease free, then Blue Zones is good place to start.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 27, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Want to burn 490 calories/hour? Walk like a Sardinian shepherd!

    Barbagia, a part of Northwest Sardinia's Ogliastra district, begets contented, admired 100-year olds as few other places on Earth. There are several speculative reasons why. The landscape is steep and not ultra-productive. What was the obvious profession? Shepherding. "The work was neither stressful nor strenuous, but it did require miles and miles of walking a day. " (p. 60) Today's centenarian shepherds suffer fewer than half the fractures of their age mates in other parts of the island. Application to 21st Century Americans who want to live longer? "Walking five miles a day or more pdrovides the type of low-intensity exercise that yields all the cardiovascular benefits you might expect, but it also has a positive effect on muscles and bones -- without the joint-pounding damage caused by running marathons or triathlons." (p. 60) So, Americans, walk like a Sardinian shepherd. Burn 490 calories per hour. Forget the sheep. Forget any loneliness of the long distance runner. Adapt the ideas you for longevity from Sardinia. These also include drinking two liters (!) a day of Sardinia's famous dry red wine called Cannonau. ***

    Similar tales of long, happy living are told by author Dan Buettner of rare centenarian rich "blue zones" in Costa Rica, Okinawa and Loma Linda, California (where Seventh-day Adventists cluster around their famous university and health research center). Buettner tells their stories in THE BLUE ZONES: LESSONS FOR LIVING LONGER FROM THE PEOPLE WHO'VE LIVED THE LONGEST (2008). For seven years National Geographic magazine sponsored Buettner and various cameramen and scientific specialists he assembled as they studied latter-day fountains if not of eternal youth, at least of graceful, happy, low-stress aging. ***

    Some oldsters surveyed drank goat milk, others wine. Some were shepherds. Some were gardeners. Some lived under the same roof or close to four more generations of descendants. Some lived in an Adventist retirement community replete with family-oriented Sabbaths, weights and stationary exercise bikes. All had a zest for living, lived to help others, and not just their great grandchildren. From their widely scattered lives and different life styles, Dan Buettner in THE BLUE ZONES draws nine general cross-cultural conclusions on how to live long, healthy lives. You are urged to pick the easiest ones first and spend seven to 12 weeks forming the new habits that make each one effective. Practices commended range from eating more nuts, drinking a glass or two of red wine daily, and going to church at least once a month, through writing your own personal mission statement, to cutting back on eating meat. ***

    The book is an easy, fairly convincing read. Its one glaring blunder is absence of maps. The author describes four widely separated areas of the world. He brings their denizens to three-dimensional life through words and black and white photos. He strews informational side bars throughout the book. He devotes a page to "Illustration Credits." Yet he can't make room for four maps! The book is inspirational and will no doubt be followed by more books by Buetner or others discovering, probing and drawing applications from more and more Blue Zones on our globe. Buettner's book is a good first word. I predict, however, that it will soon be eclipsed by others still to come and will not be a permanent addition to many libraries. -OOO-

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 18, 2010

    There is Hope for a Long Healthy Life

    Recently, while attending a conference in San Diego, I had the opportunity to hear Dan Buettner speak regarding his book, Blue Zones. His presentation was inspiring and affirming. When I returned home I ran right out to get the book. Buettner tells a great story about his travels as part of a National Geographic team researching areas around the globe that have in them an unusually high number of people over 100 years of age. Their quest? To see if there are any commonalities between the places visited that could suggest a recipe for living a long, healthy and happy life.
    Blue Zones has a great narrative quality to it, as well as practical advice for improving quality of life and longevity. Interviews with centenarians, people over 100 years of age, are inspiring to say the least.
    There is also culture and history to be enjoyed in Blue Zones, as Buettner visits places like Sardinia, Costa Rica, Okinawa and Southern California.
    It's tough to put it down; but giving oneself time to reflect will make it all the more meaningful and powerful.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 21, 2013

    Very enlightening

    After having a kidney and tumor removed because of cancer I wanted to change a lot in my life. Blue Zone gave me a blue print on the changes in my life that needed to be made. I loved it, very inspiring.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 11, 2012

    Exceptional reading.

    I had read all the National Geographic research this originally was in. It is so interesting. I made a book of the Nat.Geo. pages from two different issues and a Time Mag. presentatin. Now it is altogether in one book. Can hardlyh wait to begin reading this book with everything in one volume. Thank you for the prompt filling of my order.

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  • Posted December 30, 2010

    Consice global thinking for a personal journey toward health and wellbeing.

    The reasearch and culurally diverse study put into this book...make it a must read for personal, community, and political planners. Chapter summaries are great for use in memory refreshment and integration.

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  • Posted April 10, 2010

    The Blue Zone

    I loved this book! This was one of the types of books I didn't want to put down. The story's were so fascinating and very insightful. I believe we all have a story, and the writer of this book did such a good job of giving the most informative information to the reader. It's also a very inspiring book. In a time when our world is less connected than ever; this book reminds us how important family and friends really are to our chance at longevity. This book also has a website that you can learn how to develop your own Blue Zone community. As a gift for those hard to buy for people. This is the book that fits everyone

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2009

    Very useful, informative, easy to read and entertaining.

    Highly recommend this book.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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