Read a Book and Live Forever, or Two Years Closer to Forever

Don't stop until they pull that book from your cold, dead hands.

People who need books, apparently, are the luckiest people of all. According to a study conducted by Avni Bavishi, Martin D. Slade, and Becca R. Levy from the Yale University School of Public Health, elderly people who read books have what is termed “a survival advantage” over elderly people who do not read books. This survival advantage is more advantageous than any edge gained by oldsters whose reading is confined to newspapers or magazines. The survival advantage for book readers is equally effective whether the book reader is male or female, rich or poor, college educated or an aged dropout.

The researchers compared the dying and reading habits of 3,635 subjects over the age of 50 and discovered that “book readers experienced a 20 percent reduction in risk of mortality over the 12 years of follow-up compared to non-book readers.”

Viewed from another filter, read a book for at least 30 minutes a day, and you’ll live almost two years longer than people who only read newspapers, magazines, and prescription medication labels. Admittedly, two years, contrary to the baited headline above, is by no means forever. It will be the next best thing to forever, however, right up until that day when it is no longer.

So the question becomes, how do you hang around long enough to become an old person who reads books and continues existing as an old person? Even Yale hasn’t figured that one out, but you could do worse than eat right, exercise, turn off the screens, and start reading an f'ing book right now.