A Short Guide to a Long Life  |  David B. Agus, MD  |  Nonfiction, Health  |  2014

I’ve been trying to get into better shape lately (before the damage from the fast food, lack of exercise, and many glasses of wine becomes impossible to reverse), so I picked up a copy of this book at the library, hoping that it might give some insight on how to lead a healthier lifestyle.

With society and the media throwing out all kinds of conflicting health advice, it can be difficult to choose what to follow.  I am personally guilty of jumping to click on all those health and exercise links about the 11 Ways to Get in Shape for Summer and 40 Foods with Superpowers that seem to pop up on a daily basis (I’m not even sure if I actually have 40 foods in my diet).

I’ve also wondered whether this advice we read actually comes from someone qualified to give such counsel, or if the author has just collected and rearranged this information for the purpose of selling a story.  In any case, when I came across Agus’ book I was curious as to what health information could be found in a small, 190 page book written by someone who has the credentials to give such advice.

Summary & thoughts

The book is divided in to three sections, excluding the intro, with the self-explanatory labels ‘What to do’, ‘What to Avoid’, and ‘Doctor’s Orders’.  I admit that most of the information found in this book is already widely circulated–most people understand the basics of good health such as daily exercise, plenty of sleep, eating lots of fruits and vegetables, etc.  However, Agus also stresses the importance of keeping track of your health in a ‘personal health diary’ and making sure to get check ups and all your vaccines.

Being a book instead of a one or two page article, Agus was able to go into a little bit more depth about his recommendations.  Instead of just the simple suggestion to consume ‘real’ food, Agus explains how the chemical compound and nutritional value can change when ‘real’ food is picked ripe or unripe, when it is chopped or juiced, and even when it is exposed to light or kept in the dark.  I learnt the importance of knowing your family’s medical history, about statins and vitamins, how your posture and hobbies affect your health, and what I should be focusing on according to my age.

I thought that Agus’ tone was strictly informative without sounding supercilious.  I buy that he wants to help people achieve long term wellness and prepare the reader for unforeseen health circumstances.  This book is not about encouraging the reader to get in shape quickly or for an upcoming event, it is a list of recommendations to help the reader live a long, fulfilling, and healthy life.

Is it for you?

I think this book is geared towards someone in their 30s or 40s, so I might be a bit young for the intended audience demographic, but I enjoyed this book nonetheless.  If you’re looking for a simple, but well-informed read about general health practices to promote longer living, give this book a try.