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Longevity, Conscientiousness and Work

There’s an excel­lent arti­cle in the New York Times (Eighty Years Along, a Longevi­ty Study Still Has Ground to Cov­er) about a very wor­thy new book based on a fas­ci­nat­ing series of research stud­ies: The Longevi­ty Project: Sur­pris­ing Dis­cov­er­ies for Health and Long Life from the Land­mark Eight-Decade Study is the book where UC-River­side researchers Howard Fried­man and Leslie Mar­tin draw key lessons from an eight-decade-long Stan­ford Uni­ver­si­ty Ter­man study of 1,500 peo­ple.

Quotes from the arti­cle:

- Many assume biol­o­gy is the crit­i­cal fac­tor in longevi­ty. If your par­ents lived to be 85, you prob­a­bly will, too. Not so, Dr. Fried­man said. “Genes con­sti­tute about one-third of the fac­tors lead­ing to long life,” he said. “The oth­er two-thirds have to do with lifestyles and chance…The key traits are pru­dence and per­sis­tence. “The find­ings clear­ly revealed that the best child­hood per­son­al­i­ty pre­dic­tor of longevi­ty was con­sci­en­tious­ness…

- Dr. Fried­man said he thought the most impor­tant as-yet-unan­swered ques­tion was about work — “retire­ment kinds of issues,” he said. “We know it’s not good to retire and go to the beach.” But it’s also not good to stay in a stress­ful bor­ing job. “We need to think about nego­ti­at­ing these tran­si­tions in a healthy way,” he added.

- Spend your time work­ing at a job you like instead. “There’s a mis­con­cep­tion about stress,” Dr. Fried­man said. “Peo­ple think every­one should take it easy.” Rather, he said, “a hard job that is also stress­ful can be asso­ci­at­ed with longevi­ty. Chal­lenges, even if stress­ful, are also a link.” In the end, he said, “if peo­ple were involved, work­ing hard, suc­ceed­ed, were respon­si­ble —no mat­ter what field they were in — they were more like­ly to live longer.” Many peo­ple, of course, have to stay in a job they don’t like or don’t do well in. That’s bad stress, and they found those peo­ple were more like­ly to die young.

Full NYT arti­cle: Eighty Years Along, a Longevi­ty Study Still Has Ground to Cov­er.

Learn more about bookThe Longevi­ty Project: Sur­pris­ing Dis­cov­er­ies for Health and Long Life from the Land­mark Eight-Decade Study.

Relat­ed arti­cle: 100 is the New 65: Liv­ing Longer and Bet­ter.

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  1. David says:

    Thanks for point­ing this book out, will def­i­nite­ly check it out!

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