40 books like The Blue Zones

By Dan Buettner,

Here are 40 books that The Blue Zones fans have personally recommended if you like The Blue Zones. Shepherd is a community of 9,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End

Martha W. Murphy Author Of CRU Oyster Bar Nantucket Cookbook: Savoring Four Seasons of the Good Life

From my list on the eclectic reader of nonfiction.

Who am I?

I’m a narrative nonfiction writer interested in a broad range of topics, including but not limited to: food and the people who bring it to us; travel and life in faraway places; human health and the role of medicine; memoir as one person’s story yet illustrative of the human spirit; and the unique and remarkable role dogs play in our lives. I am the same kind of reader: I read across a range of topics, mostly nonfiction. The bookshelves in my house and the record of titles I’ve checked out from my local library show an eclectic taste, as do the books I’m recommending here. I hope you’ll enjoy them!

Martha's book list on the eclectic reader of nonfiction

Martha W. Murphy Why did Martha love this book?

I read Atul Gawande’s first book, Complications: A Surgeon’s Notes on an Imperfect Science, soon after it was published. I loved his writing, and as someone who reads (and writes) about health, healthcare, and medicine, I went on to read every book he’s written since then.

Being Mortal crossed my path at the same time my beloved father was making his way out of this life to whatever lies beyond.

Gawande’s book—an examination of modern medicine’s reluctance to acknowledge the “inescapable realities of aging and death” to focus on “what medicine can do often runs counter to what it should do”—hit close to home. But the book was the genesis for a much needed, ongoing national conversation on a topic that will, sooner or later, touch us all.  

By Atul Gawande,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked Being Mortal as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER

'GAWANDE'S MOST POWERFUL, AND MOVING, BOOK' MALCOLM GLADWELL

'BEING MORTAL IS NOT ONLY WISE AND DEEPLY MOVING; IT IS AN ESSENTIAL AND INSIGHTFUL BOOK FOR OUR TIMES' OLIVER SACKS

For most of human history, death was a common, ever-present possibility. It didn't matter whether you were five or fifty - every day was a roll of the dice. But now, as medical advances push the boundaries of survival further each year, we have become increasingly detached from the reality of being mortal. So here is a book about the modern experience of mortality - about what it's…


Book cover of An Epidemic of Absence: A New Way of Understanding Allergies and Autoimmune Diseases

Tamara Duker Freuman Author Of The Bloated Belly Whisperer: A Nutritionist's Ultimate Guide to Beating Bloat and Improving Digestive Wellness

From my list on science books to make yourself health-fad proof.

Who am I?

I am an evidence-based dietitian who’s worked in gastroenterology practices for over a decade and have seen countless patients defrauded by modern-day snake oil salespeople and unqualified influencers trying to hawk fad diets, unregulated supplements, pseudoscientific lab tests, and more. Knowledge is power, and scientific literacy—understanding how our bodies actually work—is the best defense against being led down a harmful rabbit hole of health misinformation. I love popular science books, and I especially love it when people can write about science with humor and intelligence without ‘dumbing it down’ or oversimplifying; these books all meet that criteria!

Tamara's book list on science books to make yourself health-fad proof

Tamara Duker Freuman Why did Tamara love this book?

Long before everyone and their mother knew about the gut microbiome and its impact on overall health and immunity, Velasquez-Manoff blew my mind with this impeccably researched book about the connections between specific “old friends”—microorganisms that had long been part of the human species’ inner ecosystems—and risk of developing autoimmune disease. Forget the fearmongering explanations you’ve seen on social media blaming GMOs, gluten, lectins, or the dietary demon du jour; this book has actual evidence-based answers to the question of why allergies and autoimmune diseases are on the rise.

The author is a journalist with a knack for storytelling and making complex science accessible—and he is also affected by multiple autoimmune diseases himself. His storytelling takes readers all over the world to different societies at different periods and introduces us to specific bacteria, worms, and viruses—“old friends”—whose erasure from our collective inner ecosystems seems to foretell a rise in the…

By Moises Velasquez-Manoff,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked An Epidemic of Absence as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A brilliant, groundbreaking report on the dramatic rise of allergic and autoimmune disease, and the controversial therapies scientists are developing to correct these disorders.

From asthma to Crohn’s disease, everyone knows someone who suffers from an allergic or autoimmune disorder. And if it appears that the prevalence of these maladies has increased recently, that’s because it has—to levels never before seen in human history. These days no fewer than one in five—and likely more—Americans suffers from one of these ailments. We seem newly, and bafflingly, vulnerable to immune system malfunction. Why? One possibility is that we have systematically cleaned ourselves…


Book cover of Burn: New Research Blows the Lid Off How We Really Burn Calories, Stay Healthy, and Lose Weight

John B. Arden Author Of Rewire Your Brain 2.0: Five Healthy Factors to a Better Life

From my list on life-style health.

Who am I?

I have lectured in 30 countries and all US States. Previously, I was the Director of Training in Mental Health for Kaiser Permanente in the Northern California region. In this capacity, I oversaw training programs in 24 medical centers where over 150 postdoctoral residents and interns are trained each year, the largest mental health training program in the US.  I am the author of 15 books (translated into over 20 languages). The second edition of my book, Rewire Your Brain 2.0, came out last year. My book, Mind-Brain-Gene: Toward the Integration of Psychotherapy, encompasses the fields of psychoneuroimmunology, Epigenetics, Neuroscience, Nutritional Neuroscience, and psychotherapy research.    

John's book list on life-style health

John B. Arden Why did John love this book?

This timely book reveals how many of the food fads are not based on coherent and sensible science.

One of the hot fads that the book reveals does not make historical sense is the so-called paleo diet, which is based on the no-carb diet. Actually, our ancestors, who were all hunter-gatherers, did not eat primarily meat and avoid carbohydrates. In fact, these ancestors ate complex carbohydrates. The point that the author raises is that complex carbs are critical for metabolism.  

By Herman Pontzer,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Burn as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Pontzer's findings have huge implications for our attitudes to exercise, diet and public health' Mark Webster, Sunday Times

A myth-busting tour of the body's hidden foundations from a pioneering evolutionary biologist

'Public health strategies stubbornly cling to the simplistic armchair engineer's view of metabolism, hurting efforts to combat obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and the other diseases that are most likely to kill us'

Herman Pontzer's ground-breaking research has revealed how, contrary to received wisdom, exercise does not increase our metabolism. Instead, we burn calories within a very narrow range: nearly 3,000 calories per day, no matter our activity level.…


Book cover of Gut: The Inside Story of Our Body's Most Underrated Organ

Bryn Nelson Author Of Flush: The Remarkable Science of an Unlikely Treasure

From my list on the real scoop on poop, waste, and sanitation.

Who am I?

I’m a trained microbiologist who received my doctorate from the University of Washington and who has long been fascinated by the natural world—whether microscopic or gigantic, within us or all around us. For more than 20 years, I’ve also been an award-winning science writer who has written for publications like The New York Times, Nature, Wired, and Scientific American. Ever since I wrote about the incredible ability of fecal transplants to cure a deadly bacterial infection, I’ve been obsessed with books that explore how the seemingly gross or ordinary things we often dismiss as lacking value have the power to transform both us and the planet.   

Bryn's book list on the real scoop on poop, waste, and sanitation

Bryn Nelson Why did Bryn love this book?

This book not only provides a fascinating look at how we actually digest food, pluck out essential nutrients, and produce poop from the leftovers passing through the gut, but also includes charming and witty illustrations of many of these steps by the author’s sister, Jill.

An entire book about the gut? Yes, and it’s so interesting, with some gentle humor and well-thought-out analogies that help demystify what you’ll come to believe is a superhero of an organ.

I made notes, highlighted particularly illuminating sections, and found myself saying, “Wow! I didn’t know that!” throughout the book. It definitely gave me a new sense of wonder and appreciation for the intricate abilities of my own body.

By Giulia Enders, Jill Enders (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Gut as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

“Everything you ever wanted to know about the gut (and then some).”
—SELF

Discover the secrets of your digestive system—and how to hone a healthy gut—plus new research on the mind-gut connection.

With quirky charm, science star and medical doctor Giulia Enders explains the gut’s magic, answering questions like: What’s really up with gluten and lactose intolerance? How does the gut affect obesity? What's the connection between our microbiome and mental health? Why does acid reflux happen? In this revised edition of her beloved bestseller, Enders includes a new section on the brain-gut connection,…


Book cover of If Our Bodies Could Talk: Operating and Maintaining a Human Body

Tamara Duker Freuman Author Of The Bloated Belly Whisperer: A Nutritionist's Ultimate Guide to Beating Bloat and Improving Digestive Wellness

From my list on science books to make yourself health-fad proof.

Who am I?

I am an evidence-based dietitian who’s worked in gastroenterology practices for over a decade and have seen countless patients defrauded by modern-day snake oil salespeople and unqualified influencers trying to hawk fad diets, unregulated supplements, pseudoscientific lab tests, and more. Knowledge is power, and scientific literacy—understanding how our bodies actually work—is the best defense against being led down a harmful rabbit hole of health misinformation. I love popular science books, and I especially love it when people can write about science with humor and intelligence without ‘dumbing it down’ or oversimplifying; these books all meet that criteria!

Tamara's book list on science books to make yourself health-fad proof

Tamara Duker Freuman Why did Tamara love this book?

I first picked up this book years ago for the appeal of its short, science-based chapters took on novelty, quirky questions about why our bodies are so weird: why do we have dimples? Why do stomachs rumble? Why do men have nipples? What happens to weight when it’s lost? (Spoiler alert: you breathe it out!)

But Hamblin also takes on some more serious topics, the (mis)understanding of which is even more important in the era of COVID and social-media-fueled wellness culture: how do vaccines work? Can you really boost your immune system? Do probiotics work? What about multivitamins? Are we made to eat meat? What is gluten, anyway? What causes cancer? Hamblin’s humor, straight-talk and lack of any agenda to sell you anything but the state of the science is a refreshing balm in a world fueled with health disinformation that thrives on our lack of scientific knowledge.

By James Hamblin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked If Our Bodies Could Talk as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"If you want to understand the strange workings of the human body, and the future of medicine, you must read this illuminating, engaging book." —Siddhartha Mukherjee, author of The Gene

In 2014, James Hamblin launched a series of videos for The Atlantic called "If Our Bodies Could Talk."  With it, the doctor-turned-journalist established himself as a seriously entertaining authority in the field of health. Now, in illuminating and genuinely funny prose, Hamblin explores the human stories behind health questions that never seem to go away—and which tend to be mischaracterized and oversimplified by marketing and news media.  He covers topics…


Book cover of The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country's Foremost Relationship Expert

Marta Zaraska Author Of Growing Young: How Friendship, Optimism, and Kindness Can Help You Live to 100

From my list on reads if you don't want to die (any time soon).

Who am I?

I’m a science journalist published in The Washington Post, Scientific American, The Atlantic, etc., and the author of bestselling Growing Young: How Friendship, Optimism and Kindness Can Help You Live to 100. I’m also a slightly obsessive parent who really cares about her family’s health—that’s how “Growing Young” was born. To write the book, I’ve read over 600 scientific studies, talked to dozens of scientists and had some experiments conducted on myself (some a bit painful, some rather fun)—and ended up changing my own outlook on what it means to live healthily. 

Marta's book list on reads if you don't want to die (any time soon)

Marta Zaraska Why did Marta love this book?

While you don’t have to be married to live long, studies show that a happy romantic relationship can boost health (people in such relationships have fewer heart attacks, less diabetes, and even better teeth!). While I’m generally very satisfied with my two-decades-long marriage, there are always things that could be improved—and that’s why I reached for this book by one of the best researchers on marriage out there: John Gottman. It was not only thought-provoking but also loaded with practical tips (I swear I’ll never roll my eyes at my husband again—or at least I’ll try not to).

By John Gottman, Nan Silver,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The revolutionary guide to show couples how to create an emotionally intelligent relationship - and keep it on track

Straightforward in its approach, yet profound in its effect, the principles outlined in this book teach partners new and startling strategies for making their marriage work.

Gottman has scientifically analysed the habits of married couples and established a method of correcting the behaviour that puts thousands of marriages on the rocks. He helps couples focus on each other, on paying attention to the small day-to-day moments that, strung together, make up the heart and soul of any relationship. Packed with questionnaires…


Book cover of Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life

Randy Ross Author Of Fireproof Happiness: Extinguishing Anxiety & Igniting Hope

From my list on the best way to find happiness.

Who am I?

My entire career has revolved around helping people find more meaning and fulfillment in their life and work. It’s a fact that happy people are healthier, have better relationships, are more satisfied with life, and are more productive. But, happiness for most folks is elusive. Through my research, personal experience, and coaching and consulting practice, I have found that there is a distinct connection between hope and happiness. Fireproof Happiness is my attempt to show this connection and offer practical wisdom and sound advice to craft a brighter tomorrow, no matter what you may be facing today.

Randy's book list on the best way to find happiness

Randy Ross Why did Randy love this book?

Known as the father of the new science of Positive Psychology, Dr. Martin Seligman shows how optimism enhances quality of life. He refutes the idea that some people are simply born more optimistic and shares how anyone can adopt a more positive outlook on life. This book is filled with simple techniques to break depression, boost your immune system and make you happier.

Learned Optimism offers simple, straightforward solutions to help anyone embrace a healthier mindset as they face and embrace challenging times. Applying the content of this book, anyone can learn to view life through a different lens, changing their perspective and navigating life’s difficulties more effectively.

By Martin E. P. Seligman,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Learned Optimism as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NATIONAL BESTSELLER • The father of positive psychology draws on more than twenty years of clinical research to show you how to overcome depression, boost your immune system, and make yourself happier.

"Vaulted me out of my funk.... So, fellow moderate pessimists, go buy this book." —The New York Times Book Review

Offering many simple techniques anyone can practice, Dr. Seligman explains how to break an “I–give–up” habit, develop a more constructive explanatory style for interpreting your behavior, and experience the benefits of a more positive interior dialogue.

With generous additional advice on how to encourage optimistic behavior at school,…


Book cover of How Not to Die: Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease

Marta Zaraska Author Of Growing Young: How Friendship, Optimism, and Kindness Can Help You Live to 100

From my list on reads if you don't want to die (any time soon).

Who am I?

I’m a science journalist published in The Washington Post, Scientific American, The Atlantic, etc., and the author of bestselling Growing Young: How Friendship, Optimism and Kindness Can Help You Live to 100. I’m also a slightly obsessive parent who really cares about her family’s health—that’s how “Growing Young” was born. To write the book, I’ve read over 600 scientific studies, talked to dozens of scientists and had some experiments conducted on myself (some a bit painful, some rather fun)—and ended up changing my own outlook on what it means to live healthily. 

Marta's book list on reads if you don't want to die (any time soon)

Marta Zaraska Why did Marta love this book?

While friendship, ikigai and optimism are important for our health and longevity, diet and exercise still matter—a lot. For me, How Not to Die is a go-to book when I want to check the science on what works—and what doesn’t—in terms of nutrition, physical activity, supplements, etc.

By Michael Greger, Gene Stone,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked How Not to Die as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'This book may help those who are susceptible to illnesses that can be prevented with proper nutrition' - His Holiness the Dalai Lama

The international bestseller, Dr Michael Greger's How Not To Die gives effective, scientifically-proven nutritional advice to prevent our biggest killers - including heart disease, breast cancer, prostate cancer, high blood pressure and diabetes - and reveals the astounding health benefits that simple dietary choices can provide.

Why rely on drugs and surgery to cure you of life-threatening disease when the right decisions can prevent you from falling ill to begin with?

Based on the latest scientific research,…


Book cover of The Ultimate Retirement Guide for 50+: Winning Strategies to Make Your Money Last a Lifetime

Liisa Kyle Author Of Making the Most of Your Retirement: Ways to Foster Health, Happiness & Fulfillment at Any Age

From my list on if you are thinking about retirement.

Who am I?

As a life coach and author of two dozen self-help books, I’ve spent the past twenty years helping people prepare for, plan, and go through major life changes, such as the transition to retirement. I’ve interviewed dozens of retirees about the challenges and opportunities they’ve experienced during their retirement. I’ve designed this guide so you can be strategic in choosing your path, overcome challenges, and make adjustments to make the most of this chapter of your life.

Liisa's book list on if you are thinking about retirement

Liisa Kyle Why did Liisa love this book?

Money is the biggest concern for most people thinking about retirement. Suze Orman is the queen of straight-talk about how best to manage your finances during this chapter of your life. She explains practical steps you need to take to make sure you have enough money to last your lifetime. I love that she is ruthless about making readers consider the long-term effects of their purchases and financial decisions.

By Suze Orman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Ultimate Retirement Guide for 50+ as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE PATH TO YOUR ULTIMATE RETIREMENT STARTS RIGHT HERE

When you think about planning for retirement - whether it's years in the future or just around the corner - you're bound to have questions. Can I ever afford to stop working? Will Social Security be there for me when I need it? How can I make my money last? Have I waited too long to start saving?

Suze Orman, America's most recognized expert on personal finance, answers all the questions that keep you up at night - starting with the biggest one: It is never too late to start planning…


Book cover of What Color Is Your Parachute? 2022: Your Guide to a Lifetime of Meaningful Work and Career Success

Tory S. Thorkelson Author Of The Job Interview Workbook: A Workbook for College Students and Jobhunters

From my list on helping you land a good job after university.

Who am I?

As an EFL Professor for over 20 years, I have evolved from a language teacher into a generalist who is constantly asked to teach skills-based courses that help my college students learn life skills like presenting or job skills. As the old saying goes, you need to become somewhat of an expert in something to teach it well so I have become a much more proficient interviewer and job skills expert through 10+ years teaching students to excel in these areas. My book is a compilation of the best worksheets and activities compiled and created for my students and I hope others find them as useful and effective as my students have. 

Tory's book list on helping you land a good job after university

Tory S. Thorkelson Why did Tory love this book?

What Color Is Your Parachute? is the world’s most popular job-hunting guide.

This completely updated edition features the latest resources, strategies, and perspectives on today’s job market, revealing surprising advice on what works—and what doesn’t—so you can focus your efforts on tactics that yield results.

This practical manual also provides essential tips for writing impressive resumes and cover letters, networking effectively, interviewing with confidence, and negotiating the best salary possible. Perhaps the best thing about this book is the multiple versions for every level of job seekers of all ages and all levels of experience.

The only way to improve this book would be to create a workbook to go with it.

By Richard N. Bolles, Katharine Brooks,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked What Color Is Your Parachute? 2022 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

With timeless advice, up-to-the-minute insights, and more than ten million copies sold over fifty years, the world’s most popular and best-selling career guide is fully revised and expanded for 2022.
 
“One of the first job-hunting books on the market. It is still arguably the best. And it is indisputably the most popular.”—Fast Company

What Color Is Your Parachute? is the world’s most popular job-hunting guide. This completely updated edition features the latest resources, strategies, and perspectives on today’s job market, revealing surprising advice on what works—and what doesn’t—so you can focus your efforts on tactics that yield results.
 
At its…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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