'The Blue Zones' by Dan Buettner (National Geographic)

Written by Nancy Sayles Kaneshiro

The Blue Zones: 9 Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who’ve Lived the Longest, 2nd edition (National Geographic Society, 312 pages, $11.81 paperback) by Dan Buettner.

The subtitle of The Blue Zones9 Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who’ve Lived the Longest—says it all. Blue Zones are the areas in the world where the people who live longest are found. From Okinawa, Japan to Sardinia, Italy; from Loma Linda, California to Nicoya, Costa Rica and Ikaria, Greece, author, speaker and longevity expert Dan Buettner has amassed so many secrets of living to 100 and beyond, it’ll take you that long to absorb them all. But it’ll be worth it. This updated version of his bestselling book, goes far beyond variations on the eat right/exercise advice we all know about. Unlike most how-to books, this is one you can sit down and read a nd enjoy, and in which you’ll find inspiration mixed in with scientific explanations.

Through personal stories of the people the writer has met during his long and far-flung research while on assignment for National Geographic and as avid traveler, we learn simple yet profound lessons that can and do extend lives. For example, Sardinians advise putting family first, celebrating elders, drinking a glass or two of red wine daily and laughing with friends. Okinawans embrace an ikigai, or reason for being, and that region’s older folks can readily articulate why they get up in the morning, how they form and maintain secure social networks and how they’ve let go of past troubles in favor of enjoying today’s simple pleasures. America’s longevity all-stars focus on eating properly and getting regular, moderate exercise while spending time with like-minded friends.

We can all learn from these people and their lifestyles as we create our own formula for living longer.

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