Lifespan: Why We Age – and Why We Don't Have To

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Lifespan: Why We Age – and Why We Don't Have To
David Andrew Sinclair's Lifespan.png
First edition (UK)
AuthorDavid A. Sinclair
CountryUnited States
PublisherAtria Books (US)
Thorsons (UK)
Publication date
September 10, 2019
Media typeHardback, paperback, audiobook
Pages310 pg.
LC ClassQH528.5 .s56 2019

Lifespan: Why We Age, and Why We Don't Have To is a non-fiction book authored by Australian-American biologist David A. Sinclair and journalist Matthew LaPlante and published by Atria Books in the US and by Thorsons in the UK on September 10, 2019. In Lifespan, the authors examine how technology, diet, exercise and lifestyle changes including intermittent fasting and cold exposure have the potential to enhance human longevity.


Lifespan has three parts:

  • "Part I: What We Know (The Past)" – contains 3 chapters
  • "Part II: What We're Learning (The Present)" – contains 4 chapters
  • "Part III: Where We're Going (The Future)" – contains 2 chapters

The book also contains an introduction and conclusion.

The authors begin by seeking to characterize how professionals view the hallmarks of aging, including genomic instability caused by DNA damage; alterations to the epigenome that controls which genes are turned on and off; loss of healthy protein maintenance, known as proteostasis; exhaustion of stem cells; and the production of inflammatory molecules.

"Address one of these, and you can slow down aging," the authors argue. "Address all of them, and you might not age."

Critical reception[edit]

Lifespan debuted at #11 on The New York Times hardcover nonfiction bestseller list on September 28, 2019.[1]

The book received mixed reviews from critics. “If you’re even mildly hopeful about dunking a basketball at the age of 50, or hiking the Appalachian Trail at 70, or blowing 100 candles out on your birthday cake someday, you might consider making room for Lifespan on your bookshelf,” one reviewer wrote for Outside.[2]

A review for Boston Magazine called Sinclair “one of science’s most controversial figures” and said many in the scientific community were skeptical of claims he made about human longevity. University of Alabama biology professor Steven N. Austad said, “David is a good friend, but I do think he’s been guilty of making excessive claims.”[3] Writing in Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics,[4] Charles Brenner summarized that Lifespan has "become an influential source of misinformation on longevity, featuring counterfactual claims about longevity genes being conserved between yeast and humans, the existence of supposed activators of these genes, and claimed successful age reversal in mice based on partial reprogramming."

In a 2019 interview, Sinclair dismissed the idea that longer lifespans could lead to overpopulation. "Population growth will level off within the next couple of decades, and healthier people are having fewer children," Sinclair said. "The global population is already stabilizing, and in many advanced countries going down, so people’s fear that the world will be overpopulated with frail old people is completely wrong."[5]


  1. ^ "Hardcover Nonfiction for the week of September 28, 2019". The New York Times. 28 September 2019.
  2. ^ Averill, Graham (9 November 2019). "This Scientist Believes Aging Is Optional". Outside Online.
  3. ^ Elton, Catherine (29 October 2019). "Has Harvard's David Sinclair Found the Fountain of Youth?". Boston.
  4. ^ Brenner, Charles (2023-01-01). "A science-based review of the world's best-selling book on aging". Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics. 104: 104825. doi:10.1016/j.archger.2022.104825. ISSN 0167-4943. PMC 9669175. PMID 36183524.
  5. ^ Jackie Cooperman (2019-09-11). "How to Live Past 100". Worth.

External links[edit]