Though increased funding will be difficult to come by, Stipp makes a convincing argument for more widespread anti-aging...




According to former Wall Street Journal science and technology reporter Stipp, scientists are coming close to achieving the goal of using “the powerful new tools of molecular biology” to “shrink death’s dominion.”

Since the turn of the 20th century, the life expectancy of Americans has increased dramatically, thanks to major improvements in sanitation, decreased infant mortality and the introduction of antibiotics, but only now are gerontologists beginning to make significant headway on the causes of aging. In his intriguing debut, Stipp delves into the story that began in the 1930s with the discovery that a calorie-restricted diet increases life expectancy, and continues with the current effort to develop safe drugs that will mimic the effect of a CR diet. The author begins with his 2006 WSJ front-page story about how daily doses of resveratrol, found in red wine, not only protected rodents from the effects of a devastatingly rich diet, but apparently rejuvenated them. Add to this the fact that a genetic mutation causing dwarfism, which suppresses growth hormones, is also a life extender, and the basis for a new comprehensive theory is emerging. A group of genes that normally control the production of cell proteins can be switched to activate cell-repair mechanisms, causing them to absorb the “accumulation of harmful crud…thought to play a major role in aging.” Scientists have now established that the rate of aging in widely diverse organisms is not only amazingly plastic but controllable. The same CR mimetic drugs that are being developed to ward off the ravages of old age can also help counter the effects of obesity. To rival the advances of the 20th century in increased life-expectancy, Stipp estimates that the federal government will need to launch a federal program on par with the 1960s Apollo project. “Sadly,” he writes, “comparative gerontology…has long been one of biomedicine’s poor cousins. Indeed, it’s arguable that most of the lines of research covered in this book are lamentably underfunded.”

Though increased funding will be difficult to come by, Stipp makes a convincing argument for more widespread anti-aging research.

Pub Date: July 8, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-61723-000-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Current

Review Posted Online: Jan. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2010

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Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

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More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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Readers unfamiliar with the anecdotal material Greene presents may find interesting avenues to pursue, but they should...


Greene (The 33 Strategies of War, 2007, etc.) believes that genius can be learned if we pay attention and reject social conformity.

The author suggests that our emergence as a species with stereoscopic, frontal vision and sophisticated hand-eye coordination gave us an advantage over earlier humans and primates because it allowed us to contemplate a situation and ponder alternatives for action. This, along with the advantages conferred by mirror neurons, which allow us to intuit what others may be thinking, contributed to our ability to learn, pass on inventions to future generations and improve our problem-solving ability. Throughout most of human history, we were hunter-gatherers, and our brains are engineered accordingly. The author has a jaundiced view of our modern technological society, which, he writes, encourages quick, rash judgments. We fail to spend the time needed to develop thorough mastery of a subject. Greene writes that every human is “born unique,” with specific potential that we can develop if we listen to our inner voice. He offers many interesting but tendentious examples to illustrate his theory, including Einstein, Darwin, Mozart and Temple Grandin. In the case of Darwin, Greene ignores the formative intellectual influences that shaped his thought, including the discovery of geological evolution with which he was familiar before his famous voyage. The author uses Grandin's struggle to overcome autistic social handicaps as a model for the necessity for everyone to create a deceptive social mask.

Readers unfamiliar with the anecdotal material Greene presents may find interesting avenues to pursue, but they should beware of the author's quirky, sometimes misleading brush-stroke characterizations.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-670-02496-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Sept. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2012

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