I'm always suspicious of books where the author adds some sort of lettered credential after their name. You never see authors like Richard Dawkins, Neil deGrasse Tyson, and Stephen Hawking doing that. They just list their name. Usually when the author's name is followed by a raft of letters, it's some fringe or new-age publication full of woo medicine and nonsense.
In this case, I picked this one up because I'd already heard about telomeres and cell longevity, so I knew this wasn't rooted in pseudoscience at least. My interest was whether the authors could really deliver what the book cover promised: "A Revolutionary Approach to Living Younger, Healthier, Longer." The short answer is no, they cannot, because there is nothing on offer here that's revolutionary. It's nothing that a score of other books have not offered before, so the cover blurb is a lie. The only difference here is the telomere angle.
I've read before about telomeres, which are like the twist ties on the end of your DNA. They start out very long, but shorten quite disturbingly rapidly as you age, and once the length is down to a nub, the cell ceases to divide and is essentially useless. The idea behind the book is that if you take care of your telomeres, they will take care of you, helping to keep your cells healthy and viable, but it's really not very useful in offering advice about how to do this except to give the same advice all other health books do: reduce stress, get exercise, think positively, and eat healthily, so it begs the question as to what is the point of this book, when even coming from a genetics and science angle, all it can tell us is what we know already?
There is no magic shot you can get, like Botox, to tighten up your DNA. There is no 'Telox'! There is telomerase, which helps maintain and repair telomeres, but you can't get a shot of that and have it fix your short telomeres. On top of that, and for a science-based book, this felt a bit elitist. There seems to be a connection between a healthy diet and a stress-free life and the length of your telomeres, and there is a lot of talk here about stress affecting your biochemistry, and this in turn affecting your telomeres. There seems to be evidence supporting that, but it still all seemed a bit vague to me, and not everyone can avail themselves of some of the things they discuss.
The authors soon got on to talking about how to reduce stress, and this led into talking about meditation and mindfulness and all that. One of the things they were talking about was going easy on yourself, and avoiding ruminating over perceived failures or worrying overmuch about potentially bad things that have not happened yet, but they're talking like every person has complete control over every aspect of their lives, and very many people do not, especially if they're in a lousy job or they're living from paycheck to paycheck. In one case they talked about being less of a critic of yourself, and they likened it to you being an office manager and learning to take input from the busybody assistant and filter it appropriately, but not everyone is an office manager! In fact, most people are not!
This was where the elitism was rife. I became concerned that their perceived audience felt like it was a certain kind of person in a certain sort of socio-economic group, and how their approach might be perceived by someone reading this book who worked in a factory or who was a janitor, or a miner or car mechanic - something less academic than they were. Maybe a lot of those people would never read a book like this. I don't know, but the authors' attitude seemed like it didn't even know such people existed, let alone care about how this book might apply to them or how they might benefit from it.
Everyone experiences stress to some level or another, but there's a lot more stress on poorly-paid people at the lower end of the social scale than there is on those who are comfortably well-off and not worrying about how they're going to pay rent or buy food or medicine, or who don't live in dangerous neighborhoods.
It's not that wealthy people automatically have no stress, but I'd have liked to have seen the results of one of their telomere surveys in comparing financially secure people to poor people, and maybe homeless people to a more secure group of people. They don't seem to have done that, and they don't seem to have a plan for how these people can benefit from this knowledge, apart from telling themselves 'don't worry, be happy!' which is really all this book seems to be advising. You know what? That doesn't always work, and even if it does, it's nothing we haven't heard before, so what does this book really contribute? Nothing! That's why I can't commend it as a worthy read.