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The Art of Aging: A Doctor's Prescription…
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The Art of Aging: A Doctor's Prescription for Well-Being

by Sherwin B. Nuland

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Having turned 65 a few months ago, aging is frequently on my mind. I'm grateful every day that my health is inexplicably good, as is my attitude and my mental, emotional, and spiritual life.
After having heard an interview with the author about a month ago (it was a rebroadcast shortly after he died), I put this book on my to-read list. I'd previously read and appreciated his HOW WE DIE book.
I found the book to be a good read. I was pleased to see that I appear to be on the right path when it comes to mental, emotional, and spiritual health practices, but I need to increase my exercise. ( )
  dickmanikowski | Apr 23, 2014 |
Excellent Birthday Gift: Dr. Nuland has authored an excellent guide to extending ones life. At first glance, I thought this book would offer substantial how to guidance on nutrition, exercise, and other physical life extending practices. I was pleased to discover that Dr. Nuland explores a wide array of discoveries concerned with the social practices that truly make one "alive".

Chief among these life giving/extending practices, are the intrinsic rewards offered to those who, in some way, live for the benefit of others. My heart resonated with the stories of people who by serving others have found purpose and therefore life. This book makes a great birthday gift for anyone who is on or is beginning his or her later life journey. It causes one to reflect on the fascinating adventures that could be in store for those who ponder the possibilities of an extraordinary purpose filled life.
  lonepalm | Feb 5, 2014 |
This is a book that caused me to think and learn; both from Dr. Nuland and from the many people he has learned from.
" ... we must study how to be old."

My favorite section was Nuland's discourse with Michael Debakey:
"Curiosity and the seeking of knowledge is a transcendent life force. Almost you might say spiritual. It has a driven character to it. It drives you intellectually, and to an extent physiologically. The brain influences the body in ways we don't know about."

I also found the discussion of Aubrey de Grey and the debate over biogerontology to be fasciating. There certainly must be a tradeoff between human lifespan and the ecology of the planet. On the other hand, having spent some time in a grove of bristlecone pines this summer, I beieve the limit to lifespan could be much higher than our current ~ 120 years.

The concept of compression of morbidity was also very interesting. This is the idea that instead of a gradual decay to death, we fall apart all at once.

I will close with a brief condensation of Dr. Nuland's prescription:
"... beyond the pursuit of wisdom, there is a triad of factors ... that are the essential ingredients of the benisons that should come with the later decades of our lives. ... The three are:

- A sense of mutual caring and connectedness with others.
- The maintenance , in so far as we can influence it by our own actions, of the physical capabilities of our bodies
- Creativity

Remember: " ... we must study how to be old." ( )
  brewbooks | Nov 25, 2009 |
A beautifully written and heart felt book. The last portion on wisdom is especially magnificent. ( )
  Urquhart | Sep 29, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0812975413, Paperback)

In his landmark book How We Die, Sherwin B. Nuland profoundly altered our perception of the end of life. Now in The Art of Aging, Dr. Nuland steps back to explore the impact of aging on our minds and bodies, strivings and relationships. Melding a scientist’s passion for truth with a humanist’s understanding of the heart and soul, Nuland has created a wise, frank, and inspiring book about the ultimate stage of life’s journey.

The onset of aging can be so gradual that we are often surprised to find that one day it is fully upon us. The changes to the senses, appearance, reflexes, physical endurance, and sexual appetites are undeniable–and rarely welcome–and yet, as Nuland shows, getting older has its surprising blessings. Age concentrates not only the mind, but the body’s energies, leading many to new sources of creativity, perception, and spiritual intensity. Growing old, Nuland teaches us, is not a disease but an art–and for those who practice it well, it can bring extraordinary rewards.

“I’m taking the journey even while I describe it,” writes Nuland, now in his mid-seventies and a veteran of nearly four decades of medical practice. Drawing on his own life and work, as well as the lives of friends both famous and not, Nuland portrays the astonishing variability of the aging experience. Faith and inner strength, the deepening of personal relationships, the realization that career does not define identity, the acceptance that some goals will remain unaccomplished–these are among the secrets of those who age well.

Will scientists one day fulfill the dream of eternal youth? Nuland examines the latest research into extending life and the scientists who are pursuing it. But ultimately, what compels him most is what happens to the mind and spirit as life reaches its culminating decades. Reflecting the wisdom of a long lifetime, The Art of Aging is a work of luminous insight, unflinching candor, and profound compassion.


From the Hardcover edition.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:30:51 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Melding a scientist's passion for truth with a humanist's understanding of the heart and soul, professor of surgery Nuland explores the impact of aging on our minds and bodies, strivings and relationships. The onset of aging can be so gradual that we are often surprised to find that one day it is fully upon us. The changes to the senses, appearance, reflexes, physical endurance, and sexual appetites are undeniable--and rarely welcome--and yet, as Dr. Nuland shows, getting older has its surprising blessings. Age concentrates not only the mind, but the body's energies, leading many to new sources of creativity, perception, and spiritual intensity. Growing old, Nuland teaches us, is not a disease but an art--and for those who practice it well, it can bring extraordinary rewards. Nuland also examines the latest research into extending life and the scientists who are pursuing it.--From publisher description.… (more)

» see all 2 descriptions

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