What are the keys to longevity? If you ask Dan Buettner, the author of The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who’ve Lived the Longest, he'd list nine key factors. They range from slow down and don't stress out, to have a clear purpose in life, to eat mainly plant based foods and put family first. Nowhere on his list, however, does he suggest sitting down and reading good books.
And yet a new study by researchers at Yale University's School of Public Health indicates that people who read books (but not so much magazines and newspapers) live two years longer, on average, than those who don't read at all. Becca R. Levy, a professor of epidemiology at Yale, is quoted in The New York Times as saying, “People who report as little as a half-hour a day of book reading had a significant survival advantage over those who did not read.” “And the survival advantage remained after adjusting for wealth, education, cognitive ability and many other variables.” Precisely how book reading contributes to increased longevity is not spelled out. You can read the abstract for the new study here.
Would you like to support the mission of Open Culture? Please consider making a donation to our site. It's hard to rely 100% on ads, and your contributions will help us continue providing the best free cultural and educational materials to learners everywhere.