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Counterclockwise: My Year of Hypnosis, Hormones, Dark Chocolate, and Other Adventures in the World of Anti-Aging [Kindle Edition]

Lauren Kessler
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)

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Book Description

At this moment, one in three Americans is entering midlife, and many are wondering, "How did I get to be this old?" Plenty will turn to miracle creams, injections, fillers, and surgery to reverse the hands of time, but Kessler investigates the largely unexplored side of anti-aging: what it takes to be younger, not just look younger. Guided by an open but pleasantly skeptical mind, a thirst for adventure, and a sense of humor, she investigates America's youth obsession and decides, on a very personal level, what to do about it. She is at once the careful reporter, the immersion journalist, the self-designated lab rat, and a midlife woman who is not interested in being as old as her driver's license insists she is.

Counterclockwise is a lively quest to discover how to maintain stamina, vitality, fortitude, and creativity right to the very end.

"The human smile is an anti-gravity device. Kessler's delightful, witty book actually takes 20 yearsoff your face!"--Mary Roach, author of Stiff and Gulp

Editorial Reviews


The human smile is an anti-gravity device. Kessler's delightful, witty book actually takes 20 years off your face! (Mary Roach, author of Stiff and Gulp)

Lauren Kessler's bold, bad-ass take on aging solves one of our great modern dilemmas: how to stay young and vibrant without spending the rest of our lives obsessing over how to stay young and vibrant. I feel a decade younger just having read it. (Karen Karbo, author of How Georgia Became O'Keeffe)

Lauren Kessler has journeyed to the far frontiers of the anti-aging movement and, using herself as an ever-willing guinea pig, delivers insights that are at once funny, reassuring, practical, and real. (Peggy Orenstein, author of Cinderella Ate My Daughter)

Counterclockwise is an amateur cultural anthropologist's smart, inspiring narrative. It identifies the sensible, the ridiculous, and the dangerous and ultimately teaches that your birth date rarely reflects true age. (Sally Koslow, author of Slouching Toward Adulthood)

Kessler takes on the marketing, (sometimes pseudo-) science, and the psychology of the anti-aging industry in this funny personal tale. Game to explore every possible manner of aging gracefully, she interviews plastic surgeons and research scientists, attends conferences, has her mitochondria and telomeres tested, downs supplements and "superfoods," takes online self-assessments, and tries new diet and exercise plans. Her journey through the temptations of quick-fix anti-aging options treats the fountain-of-youth-seeking side of us with humor and compassion. (Publishers Weekly)

[Kessler's] breezy style conceals an aptitude for reasoned analysis, and she incorporates a cogent summary of clinical research on aging into her tour of the fountain grounds, a one-woman guinea pig gamely trotting down a dozen different paths in search of the bubbling waters. (New York Times Science Times)

A fascinating new book…Essential reading for every woman who wonders whether problems ranging from brain fog to wrinkles can be reversed as she ages…incorporating humor, scientific studies and a sense of adventure, Lauren examines options ranging from calorie deprivation to super foods to hypnosis to dark chocolate…Take charge of your health and your options for feeling and looking younger with Lauren's ultimate guide to anti-aging empowerment. (

You could not hope for a smarter, savvier, more committed guide to the multibillion-dollar anti-aging industry than Kessler. (The Oregonian)

There is no ready-made travel guide -- it's every health explorer for herself out there. But arming yourself with a water bottle and [COUNTERCLOCKWISE] is a good way to head out on the expedition. If you can be half as diligent and honest about yourself as Kessler -- you'll learn plenty along the way. (The Seattle Times)

It took me less than a chapter to discover that [Kessler's] year-long search into the $88 billion anti-aging industry was both great fun and highly informative…She writes with dry wit and humor, evoking a reality most of us share. (Eugene Weekly)

Have you ever found yourself glued to television commercials that promise miracle fat fighting after 40, P90x abs or creams that make you look better at 48 than you did at 28 and wondered, 'Should I buy it?' You might want to stop at the bookstore first…Counterclockwise is chock-full of good info and most of all, a writer who is not afraid to examine the questions we all ask ourselves as we look in the mirror but would never speak in mixed company. It's money well spent. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

[Kessler is] an intrepid explorer of all things anti-aging. (Psychology Today)

Kessler is fun to read as she perkily pushes herself to become biologically younger. (HARPER'S)

There's no better season than the present to read books that bring good tidings, tested strategies and sound advice about how to live healthier, happier lives in the year--and years--ahead. Here are our recommendations for the year's best books for staying fit in all ways as you explore the territory ahead…. In her informative and witty 'Counterclockwise: My Year of Hypnosis, Hormones, Dark Chocolate, and Other Adventures in the World of Anti-Aging,' journalist Lauren Kessler sets out to find 'the best research and the worst scams' in the wannabe-fountain-of-youth marketplace. (WALL STREET JOURNAL)

About the Author

Lauren Kessler is the author of My Teenage Werewolf: A Mother, a Daughter, a Journey Through the Thicket of Adolescence; award-winning Dancing with Rose; Washington Post bestseller Clever Girl; and Los Angeles Times bestseller The Happy Bottom Riding Club. Her journalism has appeared in the New York Times Magazine; Los Angeles Times Magazine; O, the Oprah Magazine; Ladies' Home Journal; Woman's Day; Prevention; and Salon. A national speaker and workshop leader, she directs the graduate program in multimedia narrative journalism at the University of Oregon. She lives in Eugene, Oregon, with her writer husband, Tom Hager, her teenage (werewolf) daughter, four carefree chickens, and a cat that thinks it's a dog.

Product Details

  • File Size: 805 KB
  • Print Length: 258 pages
  • Publisher: Rodale (May 20, 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00AFU623O
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #336,644 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting for anyone at any age June 8, 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I don't think aging is anyone's favorite subject. But, all the effort people go to counteracting the effects of aging can an amusing and entertaining topic. Lauren Kessler has discovered this, putting a lot of fascinating information, witty journalism, and her willingness to be the guinea pig into a fun little book. Her exploration takes us through everything from diet, yoga and exercise that anyone can undertake, to expensive surgery and hormone therapy for the wealthy. All the while supplying interesting, understandable translations of all that is technical along the way.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Counterclockwise June 8, 2013
By Debby
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Just finished reading Counterclockwise by Lauren Kessler and thoroughly enjoyed it. I turned 60 this year and although I am very active and work full time I felt that turning 60 meant it was time to slow down and give up. This book made me realize it 's not me, it' s the world out there that made me feel this way. I may not be a size 2 with flawless skin and perky boobs but I still have a lot to offer and a lot of living to do...thank you Lauren.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars On the Treadmill to Eternal Youth June 4, 2013
By her own admission, journalist Lauren Kessler is a bit of a control freak. When she finds out that roughly 30% of our aging process is out of our control due to genes and the limits of nature, she decides to make the most of the 70% or so that she can do something about.

While she keeps her exact age a closely guarded secret, we can determine that she is probably around 60, and has been exercising and eating healthily for some time now. She realizes she can only do so much about extending her life span, but she wants to stay fit and active for as long as possible. We're invited along for the ride to see what she learns.

Kessler keeps an open mind about what may or may not help in her quest. She mentions her naturopath several times, and entertains the idea of using a variety of supplements and vitamins, some of which are recognized by the mainstream medical community, others which are not. She opens the book with her trip to a Las Vegas to attend an anti-aging convention. Later adventures have her trying several types of yoga, having her photo digitally aged, and taking a plethora of online "real age" tests.

It's mostly fun, somewhat informative, and while you'll probably learn a few new things, you already know what to do -- eat less, exercise more, don't smoke, and don't drink too much.

(Thanks to NetGalley for a review copy.)
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The author is a little too self-involved September 5, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The author dabbles in a number of health practices to try to evaluate them. I'm someone who can honestly say that changing my eating habits changed my life. Therefore I was disappointed in some of Ms. Kessler's superficial assessments. It took me more than a year(Ms. Kessler gives it a couple of weeks) to see genuine, physician-certified results. I would have liked to have seen her make some real effort in the superfoods chapter.

The chapter on exercise was just a catalog of studies plus a list of every workout routine Ms. Kessler tried. Not much there for the average person who doesn't have the requisite narcissism or the time to pursue exercise 24/7.

I also wish Ms. Kessler had spent more time on health claims with genuine scientific merit--and less time on dubious things like detoxification. In some chapters she sums up the results by saying that she "felt great" or that something just "made sense." That kind of subjective evaluation is meaningless.

Also, I found myself irritated that Ms. Kessler keeps her age such a well-guarded secret-especially in the part of the book where she's talking about her physical age vs. her chronological age.

On the other hand, the chapter on supplements was excellent. It was a helpful summary of the state of the science with tips on how to research all the conflicting claims for this or that vitamin or herb.

Ms. Kessler has a lively, entertaining style and she kept me reading with her humor and spriteliness.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I always read these kinds of books, hoping to find out something that doesn't sound either nutty or out of my ability to do, and the nice thing about this book is it's full of idea so that even if you can't do some of them, there are others you can. I like the specificity about vitamins and superfoods. I am older than the author by about 10 years, I think, and if you think people think you are old at 60, try 70. We clearly have one and a half feet in the grave, even if we don't feel like it or look it. I'm off to work out with my trainer and because of this book I will ask her to up the ante. Thanks, Lauren. Not dead yet.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
....if your best friend is a smart journalist who is not afraid to be a human guinea pig. Kessler's book is a journey through the promise and peril of the anti-aging industry--what works, what doesn't, and why. I'm not giving away the ending when I tell you that there's no secret to looking and feeling younger, but the book identifies lifestyle changes you can make today to put you on a path to feeling your best, whatever your age.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars education and empowering July 2, 2013
I appreciate the time and effort the author has put into researching this book, reading, interviewing , attending seminars, and of course documenting her own experiences. I think there is a wealth of information in here... she does a good job of being objective, stating what the good, the bad and the ugly or at least unproven.. she also lists a lot of super foods, dispels some myths all with a mix of humor thrown in here and there. The part about nitrites and nitrates being powerful antioxidants really threw me. Never again will I feel guilty about eating summer sausage or bacon... I, along with her salami loving, tennis playing octogenarian father, thank her for that.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it so much
I first took this book out of the library, just as a random "let's try this" something to read. Loved it so much, I had to buy it! Read more
Published 4 months ago by BookWoman
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read and an excellent summary on aging
The author does an outstanding job of putting forth the many anti aging tools available today. She does a even better job of portraying all of these facts and fads in an easy to... Read more
Published 5 months ago by B. Vazqez
3.0 out of 5 stars The idea of the book was certainly a good one. I enjoyed looking at...
I thought the book was interesting at first but a big long in the tooth the more I read. The idea of the book was certainly a good one. Read more
Published 10 months ago by SBaskin
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Interesting and thoughtful review of the many ideas/procedures/behaviors to try to slow or halt the aging process.
Published 11 months ago by dogjudge
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun read, and some gems if info as well.
I think this is a pretty good exploration of the elusive fountain of youth. Of course, none of us are getting out of here alive, but it's nice to think we may be able to run until... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Linda Thomson
5.0 out of 5 stars Counterclockwise
Excellent read. Very insightful. I Highly recommend this wonderful book to anyone interested in the genre of health and longevity.
Published 14 months ago by James C. Cornwell
5.0 out of 5 stars Saw the interview; loved the book
This was given as a gift but I am still getting "thank you"s for giving it... hard to argue with that
Published 15 months ago by Richard Stevens
5.0 out of 5 stars Great.
Humorous and informative. A great read. If I had a teenage daughter, I'd go back and read that one as well.
Published 15 months ago by Lisa
4.0 out of 5 stars interesting story
I thought the book was interesting for anyone wondering just what people will try in order to stay young....much of it useless or even dangerous. Read more
Published 15 months ago by DJ Flint
3.0 out of 5 stars Nothing new for me
The book was interesting, but didn't really give me any new information. I have already done quite a bit of research concerning my diabetes.
Published 15 months ago by Allen Eastman
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More About the Author

Lauren Kessler ( is the author of six works of narrative nonfiction, including My Teenage Werewolf: A Mother, A Daughter, A Journey through the Thickets of Adolescence. She is also the author of Pacific Northwest Book Award winner Dancing with Rose (retitled in paperback Finding Life in the Land of Alzheimer's), Washington Post bestseller Clever Girl, Los Angeles Times bestseller The Happy Bottom Riding Club, Full Court Press and Oregon Book Award winner Stubborn Twig. Stubborn Twig was chosen as the book for all Oregon to read in honor of the state's 2009 sesquicentennial.

Lauren blogs with her teenage daughter at You can follow her on Twitter at LaurenJKessler

Her journalism has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Los Angeles Times Magazine, O magazine, salon and The Nation. She is founder and editor of Etude, the online magazine of narrative nonfiction, and directs the graduate program in literary nonfiction at the University of Oregon. She lives in Eugene, Oregon, with her writer husband, Tom Hager, her three brilliant and faultless children, five chickens and a cat that thinks it's a dog.


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