People have been writing about books about aging for nearly as long as people have been writing books. It is a topic people love to read about and authors love to write about.
What I find interesting is that we are currently at a crossroads of longevity research and aging where opportunities for truly longer life are beginning to increase.
By following the proper mental, health and lifestyle habits people can expect to live until their 90s (or beyond) and do so in a manner where they retain all their facilities and feel as healthy as they did decades earlier.
Most of the books in this collection of the best books about aging cover that exact topic. They show us many ways we can live longer and healthier lives.
These books can be read when you are retiring and give you a game plan to extend your life and increase your healthy years.
Even more powerfully they can be read when you are much younger and have an even greater impact if you take the lifestyle changes to heart. After all, why stop at 90 or 100. A 20-year-old who starts a proper healthy lifestyle today might expect to be healthy until 110 or even 120. And who knows what medical research might bring us in the next 50 years to extend those numbers even further.
So, if you want a longer and healthier life, check out some of the best books on aging featured below.
17 Best Books about Aging for 2020
As mentioned above. The bulk of these 17 books cover the latest and greatest information on increasing health and longevity and are based on cutting edge research on the lifestyles and health habits of the long-lived.
Let’s get to it…
Whether you are 14, 41 or 81, there is a good chance you would like a longer life. And you would like that life to be as healthy as possible. Right?
In this important book on longevity and living well, longevity expert Dan Buettner shares some tips that will help people live longer. The irony is that this book is aimed at people who are 50+, but like many things, in healthy living, the earlier people take action on these lessons the greater effect, they will have on a person’s health as they reach those golden years.
Drawing on his extensive research into how health and lifestyle affect longevity, Buettner has identified areas where people live a lifespan that far exceeds the norm.
In this seminal book on longevity he Buettner shares with us the reasons for these longevity outliers. He discusses the nutrition, lifestyle, outlook, and stress handling practices that help people who live in these zones to live long and healthy lives.
Learn more about these practices and incorporate them into your own life and it just might add many healthy years to your life.
The Telomere Effect: A Revolutionary Approach to Living Younger, Healthier, Longer – Drs. Blackburn & Epel
Ever wonder why some sixty-year-olds look and act like they are in their forties? While others seem to be on death’s door in their early sixties?
This book gives an explanation on why some people age much more gracefully than others, based on the extensive studies of Drs. Blackburn and Epel.
This book, “The Telomere Effect” discusses you guessed it… telomeres. It shows us how telomeres can change how we age at a cellular level.
More importantly, it discusses simple changes we can make in our life that will help us stay disease-free as we get older.
If you want to live to older age and feel healthier and happier while you grow older, this might be the book for you.
The Happiness Curve: Why Life Gets Better After 50 – Johnathan Rauch
Life is not over at 50. In fact, according to this book, 50 is exactly the time where life can potentially be at its best.
Or at least at its happiest.
The fact of the matter is that happiness tends to follow a “U” shaped trajectory.
On average a person’s level of happiness and satisfaction with life begins to slowly decrease starting from early adulthood until around the age of 50.
After 50, the sloping downward trajectory of satisfaction and happiness begins a rapid uphill ascent.
Yes, on average people become increasingly happier as they approach midlife.
No one really knows for sure why this is true.
Jonathon Rauch spent years researching the answer to this question. “Why do people become less happy as time goes on until their midlife? And why does happiness boom in the 3rd act of our lives?
This book contains the answers to those years of research into the happiness curve.
But more importantly, it provides tools that we can all use to increase our personal happiness and shows us many great case studies we can emulate to increase our own personal life satisfaction and happiness when we are in our 50’s and beyond.
Most people secretly think they are immortal until they reach middle age and begin to see the decline of their own parents and the early onset of their own medical issues.
This has been the natural cycle of aging.
But it does not need to be this way. Aging does not need to mean a decline. There is great potential to be just as healthy at 60 as you were at 30.
That is what this book on aging shares with us. How to live to a ripe old age but do it in a healthy way that you feel as if you were decades younger.
The Longevity Paradox gives is a path to longer life that leads through our gut.
Dr. Gundry shares with us information about our microbiome and how this “healthy gut” can decrease the opportunities of many diseases and the effects of the aging process.
He teaches how to care for our microbiome by giving us a plan for nutrition and lifestyle that will greatly improve our microbiome, which in turn will support us.
A great book that teaches not only how gut health helps longevity, but how it can keep us feeling, looking and acting younger as we get older.
Lifespan: Why We Age―and Why We Don’t Have To – Dr. David Sinclair
Lifespan is a book from Harvard Medical School researcher Dr. David Sinclair.
This book brings up the question of whether people really must age the way they have traditionally. It shows us that many of the popular notions of aging are either misleading or flat out wrong.
Sinclair is one of the world-leading experts on longevity, aging and genetics. So, when he writes, “Aging is a disease, and that disease is treatable.” I stand up and take notice.
This book gives us practical advice on how it is possible to slow, or even reverse many of the effects of aging.
Learn the important scientific discoveries on aging as well as advances that might be coming that could conceivably halt aging forever.
Most importantly, however, are the practical discoveries that can help anyone, right now, to slow the creep of age. Things like eating less meat, cold exposure, intermittent fasting and exercising at the perfect intensity level can do a lot to decrease the effects of the aging process.
The End of Old Age: Living a Longer, More Purposeful Life – Dr. Marc Agronin
Many books on aging on this list show us how to live longer through changes in physical health. These books focus on improvements in the microbiome, telomeres, longevity science and more ways to improve aging through efforts to control physical aging.
This book shows us an important part of healthy aging those books miss. The mental aspects of aging.
The author, Dr, Marc Agronin, is one of the world’s leading geriatric psychiatrists. In this respect, he has counseled thousands of elderly patients on the problems of aging.
This exceptional book gives us a game plan to handle the mental health side of aging. Leading us to happier and more fulfilled lives as we get older.
Discover the myths and paradoxes of aging. Learn to change your thinking on the aging process. Rather than thinking of aging as a prelude to an end, think of it as an exciting new chapter where all hopes and dreams are realized.
Aging can be the best time of our lives if you let it. This book teaches you how.
The Blue Zones Kitchen: 100 Recipes to Live to 100 – Dan Buettner
Longevity expert Dan Buettner has written two previous books about what he calls the “blue zone”.
These “blue zones” are areas where people live far longer (on average) than people from the rest of the world. Each of these regions has its own unique nutrition practices that contribute to this long life.
If you are interested in discovering more about these, “Blue Zones” and what they are all about, you can check out the very first book on this collection of books on aging, “The Blue Zones: 9 Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who’ve Lived the Longest“.
This is not a book about how “Blue Zones” work, or how you can take advantage of them to live longer outside of the narrow scope that it is a cookbook
This cookbook draws on 100 of the most appetizing staple recipes that are from these long-lived blue zone regions and should help you live a healthier lifestyle.
Find out more about these wonderful healthy recipes.
Boundless: Upgrade Your Brain, Optimize Your Body & Defy Aging – Ben Greenfield (GetFitGuy)
The author, Ben Greenfield is a personal trainer, the podcast host of the “Get Fit Guy” Podcast and multiple New York Times bestsellers on books on health and fitness.
Boundless gives us a massive, but a practical guide on specific tactics you can use to slow the aging process from the point of view of a personal trainer. It is less about studies that show why these things work (like many of the other books on aging on this list) and more on a practical list of many things you can do to make it happen.
This book is well written. Although a bit long.
It is easy to understand and imparts a lot of cutting edge knowledge on how to live longer and far healthier.
This book has overviews of practical training defy aging by improving exercise, mental clarity, supplementation, nutrition, sleep, training, diet, cognition, lifestyle and more.
The ultimate book that covers all essential aspects of biohacking your age.
The Body: A Guide for Occupants – Bill Bryson
Bill Bryson is an interesting author. You learn a ton reading his books, but you also laugh a lot and have a good time.
I like to think of his books as information + entertainment. Let’s call it “infotainment”.
Reading a Bryson book is like listening to a professor who is funny and uses great anecdotes to bring his point across clearly.
As the title suggests, Bryson takes on the human body in this book. He explains how the body works and why it ends up failing.
If you want a fun and funny look at the process of aging and the way our body works this is a must-read book.
This is a book where the title says it all.
Neuroplasticity is well-researched cutting-edge brain science. The idea is that the brain is constantly growing and forming new connections.
Think of your brain as another form of muscle for your body. If you exercise it with the proper stimulus it gets stronger. But if you let it go, it gets flabby and weak and begins to fail you.
This may not be the best analogy in the world, but it works. If you exercise your brain with this book (and it’s the sequel) your brain will become healthier and younger due to the effects of neuroplasticity.
A useful book on slowing or even reversing the mental problems of aging.
The truth will set you free!
In this case, the truth is that you can have a major impact on many preventing and managing many common; old age” diseases. That’s right, neurodegenerative diseases, hypertension, cancer, and metabolic diseases might be a thing of the past if you follow the steps of this life-changing book and act.
Age does not need to be a downward spiral but can be the beginning of the best act of our lives.
This book gives us information on how to prevent these diseases from occurring. It gives us food-based information on how to live a truly healthier lifestyle. And gives us a plan to get more energy out of our food increasing our activity and vitality.
Successful Aging: A Neuroscientist Explores the Power and Potential of Our Lives – Daniel J. Levitin
This is another book on aging that helps its readers defy the classic paradigm of people losing health and mental clarity as they age.
Levitan writes about the developmental neuroscience research based on case studies of people who age “gracefully”. This gives us his views on what aging really means from a neuroscientist’s point of view.
Neuroscience is a good perspective on aging since many of the issues of aging start as mental issues.
Though based on a neuroscience perspective, this book equally discusses medical, biological and scientific information on aging.
Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life – Hector Garcia & Francesc Miralles
The concept sounds exotic.
Roughly translated this means, “the happiness of always being busy”. The idea is that people need a purpose in their lives to keep them happy as they age.
This makes a lot of sense. Think about all the people who retire and die within 10 years. They lost their purpose, they stopped being busy and it was only a matter of time before age began to get the better of them.
Then compare this to people who kept working later in life or found a life passion to pursue. Be it travel, a hobby or a second job. These people stayed happier, healthier and lives longer lives.
This book covers a vast amount of material on this philosophy of having a passion in life to keep you young. It covers someone of the philosophical predecessors of this concept, from Buddhism to Stoicism.
Similar to the concept of “The Blue Zones” mentioned above, many of the concepts are hinged on studies from a village in Japan which has unnaturally long-lived residents. (It is the longest-lived village in the world)
This book makes an excellent gift for anyone who is retiring or needs a good philosophical boost to get their mindset into the right place as they get older.
Memory Rescue: Supercharge Your Brain, Reverse Memory Loss, and Remember What Matters Most – Dr. Daniel G. Amen
One of the sad facts of age is that it can often affect memories. Even when someone who is older is still smart and “with it” in many ways, their memories can be affected by age.
Research shows that this memory loss starts decades before most people realize that anything is awry.
Fortunately, this book gives us clear cut plans on how to avoid memory loss later in life. It even gives a plan to restore the memory connections that may have already been lost.
This is an empowering book on aging. It shows how choices in nutrition, exercise, and healthy habits have an impact on the health and cognition of our brains.
If you fear to lose any of your mental facilities as you get older, this is a “must-read” books to avoid the negative mental aspects of aging.
Many of the books on this list discuss methods that more-and-more people are using to live longer and healthier lives. But what are the social effects of these longer lifespans? How can we society deal with people who might live 30-40 years beyond their retirement?
That is where this book comes in. It discusses the effects of aging on our society, and what can be done about it.
Far too often, our current model has the elderly being warehoused in retirement communities and assisted living. But if people are living longer and healthier, more active lives, this should not be the case. That lifestyle simply reinforces the old negative paradigm of aging.
This is a book for those who would like to keep working and contributing to society in a meaningful manner well into their late 70’s.
Old in Art School: A Memoir of Starting Over – Nell Painter
At 64, after an accomplished career as a historian, Dr. Nell Painter rebooted her life by enrolling in college and studying to be an artist, a passion that had always interested her, but in which she had no practical skills.
She went on to get a BFA and an MFA in art, from Rutgers and Rhode Island School of Design, respectively. She became an accomplished artist in her 70s. And wrote this book in 2019 in her late 70’s detailing her surprising late-life restart.
This book is entertaining as well as inspirational. It is full of funny anecdotes and covers many obstacles to her success you might not expect.
This is a great book for anyone who retires because it shows a concrete example of how anyone can make their passion into a career. Regardless of how late in life they start.
Chosen as the #1 (out of 100) “books to read at every age” by the Washington Post. One of Oprah’s “Books of Summer” for 2019.
Five Stages of the Soul: Charting the Spiritual Passages That Shape Our Lives – Dr, Harry Moody & David Carroll
Most of the books on this list cover the physical methods of achieving a longer and healthier life. Some of the choices from this list cover the mental aspects. Inspirational stories focusing on life after retirement and how to age well psychologically.
This book covers the one topic that has not been touched by any other book on this list. The spiritual effects of aging.
Aging is a spiritual journey. Many people search for meaning or purpose in their lives as they age. Based on twenty years of research, The Five Stages of the Soul is the first book to focus squarely on the spiritual passages that most of us go through. It offers readers a plan for self-discovery and the possibility to find true meaning in their lives.
The title of this book refers to the five stages of spiritual awakening common to almost all of us.
Anyone interested in working on their spiritual awaking as they approach middle or old age will love this book on aging well, spiritually.
50 More Books about Aging
The first 17 books on this list are ones I have read. They all have great things to say on the topic of aging well. But by no means are they the only books about aging gracefully. They are only a sample of the great books out there.
I polled my audience looking for the best books on aging well, trying to find more great books on the topic. Below are the results, excluding all the books I have read (above). Obviously, I cannot give my opinions on these books, since I have not read them. But if you are looking for more to read about aging well, these are great additional sources of information.
I also included the publication date on these books for you to judge how recent and up to date the information might be for these choices. However, many of these choices are quite evergreen when they are not discussing cutting edge research science.
Anti-Aging Books and the Incredible Future of Aging
These 67 books on aging show the bright future of getting older. I hope you can see that aging is not something to fear, but something to embrace.
As the saying goes, 60 is the new 40.
People are living longer and healthier lives. Fitness, a healthy lifestyle, a better understanding of the human microbiome and new psychological tools can greatly enhance people’s lives as age.
The books on this list will help you find ways to not only live longer but also live a healthier lifestyle.
Enjoy! And be ageless.