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Spring Chicken: Stay Young Forever (or Die Trying) Hardcover – February 17, 2015

4.5 out of 5 stars 195 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"You need this book. I grabbed it like a life preserver, and that's exactly what it is. Spring Chicken demolishes the worst hoaxes in anti-aging treatments-like crushed dog testicles, human growth hormone, and Suzanne Somers-and leaves you with the good news: by adopting a few easy-to-understand, easy-to-follow discoveries, you might just deactivate the time bombs in your fat cells and learn to follow in the springy, "successfully aging" footsteps of a 92-year-old pole vaulter."
-Christopher McDougall, New York Times bestselling author of Born to Run and Natural Born Heroes

"Spring Chicken is a masterful exploration of the fantasy and fact surrounding one of the most fundamental questions of humankind: why do we age?"
-David Perlmutter, MD, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth About Wheat, Carbs and Sugar-Your Brain's Silent Killers

"Spring Chicken is an utterly marvelous book - a guided tour of a fantastic, counterintuitive landscape (that happens to be your body), and also a whip-smart guide to living a longer and healthier life. With this book, Bill Gifford joins the ranks of Mary Roach and Bill Bryson as a science writer supreme, illuminating our world in a page-turning style that is as entertaining as it is enlightening."
-Daniel Coyle, New York Times bestselling author of The Talent Code


"Bill Gifford's terrific Spring Chicken gives us a riveting account of the most important change of the last century-the doubling of our lifespans-and an intimate vision of what it will take to not only keep that trend going, but keep ourselves healthy and vibrant as we age."
-Steven Johnson, New York Times bestseller of How We Got to Now

"Gifford skillfully navigates the many strands of aging research to create an entertaining narrative of the perils of getting old."
-Kirkus


"An enlightening book-and a terrific read."
-The Wall Street Journal

About the Author

Bill Gifford is a contributing editor for Outside magazine and has written on science, sports, and fitness for numerous publications, including Wired, Businessweek, Men's Health, Men's Journal, Slate, and The New Republic, among other publications. He has been features editor of Men's Journal and executive editor of Philadelphia magazine. He is also the author of Ledyard: In Search of the First American Explorer. He lives in New York City and central Pennsylvania.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; 1st edition (February 17, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1455527440
  • ISBN-13: 978-1455527441
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (195 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #118,196 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
As a person who is aging and a physician who is inundated with requests to treat my patients "low T": I found this book both timely and extremely helpful. It does include so much information, that it really should be read to learn and enjoy--as the author writes comprehensively but with moments of humor--and then to serve as a reference text.
While "Being Mortal" explored the ethics and sociology of aging, Spring Chicken explores the science behind the anti-aging movement as well as the general science and changing beliefs behind the mechanisms of aging and how they might be counteracted or mitigated.
There are a lot of details, but the author's engaging tone makes this book an enjoyable read, despite the plethora of information. The changing attitudes and information add a historical perspective. As the author quotes, science evolves "one funeral at a time."
Ultimately, as I heard the author comment in an NPR interview, he himself found that the only aspects of anti-aging medicine he could implement was to exercise more, eat slightly differently and skip a meal or two. And yet, by presenting excellent information to rebut the anti-aging supplement use, this minimalist approach appears to be more realistic and far safer than buying the supplements hawked by the anti-aging celebrities he profiles.
Some of my patients have fallen into the clutches of "anti-aging" physicians, with off label drug use, and now I have the information they and I need to carefully evaluate the risks and questionable benefits.
An engaging, entertaining and informative book.
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Format: Hardcover
Ever since Man developed awareness, he has been obsessed with longevity. It was responsible for the rise of religions all over the world, which promised to answer the universal complaint “Is that all there is?” Today, we have a growing number of theories, processes and products that claim to extend health if not life. Bill Gifford has taken on the quest of collecting them and putting them under the microscope.

What he finds is nothing definitive. For every patent medicine, anti-aging theory, superfood or supplement, there is a glaring lack of proof, reproducibility, or scientific basis. The current obsession with antioxidants is typical. In laboratory tests, antioxidants actually shorten the lives of animals. Free radicals may be destructive, but they are absolutely necessary to a healthy body. Oxidative stress actually spurs the body to respond and keep it vibrant. Eliminating all oxidative stress and filling up on antioxidants is a recipe for early death. Human growth factor injections are also demonstrably life shorteners. Testosterone injections, dog and bull testosterone are not the key to a longer, healthier life. They are instead the patent medicines of the 21st century, shilled by purveyors who claim to be living proof of their efficacy, just like the carnival barkers who preceded them. Unfortunately, no one and nothing else responds to them as advertised. The current rage is young blood. The thinking is that injecting blood from the young rejuvenates old brains and old muscles. Isolating and manufacturing whatever molecule is responsible is the new holy grail.

At bottom, we don’t know how the various components of our systems interact or even what their roles are. We extrapolate and assume, and it amounts to nothing, or worse.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is truly a great book. Bill Gifford is an alchemist, presenting deep and comprehensive hard science in a crackling style with a laugh-out-loud line page after page. "Spring Chicken" is a privilege to read, not simply because it's edifying and entertaining in every bite, but because it's the work of a non-fiction writer at the top of his game. I compare it to Christopher McDougall's "Born to Run" for it's readability and important reportage. Except "Spring Chicken" isn't about a slice of society; it's universal, speaks to everyone who'd like to squeeze more juice from their body and mind, to skirt the dwindling twilight of old age for a vibrant and healthy new phase of life.

Guys like me--pushing 60 and can't quite believe it--will find a motherlode of useful information. But, like retirement planning, people in their 20s and 30s who want life's ride to be longer, smoother, and more fun, should get in early and read it too. My teenagers are getting copies for their next birthdays. Someday they'll thank me. Maybe I'll even be around to hear it.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
When word gets around, this book should be a best seller. It’s about a subject of importance to almost any adult who still has a pulse, and, rather surprisingly, it’s also a page-turner. I found myself eager to get back to it, not just to read the next fascinating fact or anecdote, but because it was so much fun. The author’s wit and self-deprecating style make what could have been a thankless trek from one dry data collection to another a lively tale full of interesting stories and chuckle-out-loud humor. If it’s true that laughter really does keep us young, a dose of this intelligent, entertaining book might just help you stave off the Grim Reaper for at least a couple of extra months.
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