Tom MacWright

I read Outlive by Peter Attia, Bill Gifford on


This is an above-average book in the “pop health” genre, but it’s still plagued by a lot of the problems from that genre.

It’s much longer than it needs to be. It has about 80 pages of information in 496 (hardcover) page book. That’s better than a lot of books like it – many could be distilled into a few pages at most.

I appreciated Attia’s moderation on many topics. He was once part of the trend to recommend meat-eating and downplay the effect of dietary cholesterol. He still advises a lot of protein intake, but doesn’t make any big proclamations about diet: different diets work for different people.

His summaries of common diseases were interesting.

To summarize his advice: exercise a lot, go to the doctor, get treated for any chronic conditions you have, adhere to the medication that works. He’s not enthusiastic about any particular diet, other than emphasizing protein. He’s skeptical of anyone’s ability to keep on a ketogenic or intermittent fasting or caloric restriction diet. He recommends some additional testing - test for APOE-e4 and other genes. He espouses the benefits of continuous glucose monitoring for non-diabetics, a current trend amongst techies and fitness enthusiasts.

The sleep chapter restates a lot of Why We Sleep, a book that has recieved a lot of criticism. But, obviously, sleep is good and you can’t go that wrong with saying that people should prioritize it.

There’s a chapter on mental health that was personal and fine and appropriate, given that many, especially male, people don’t prioritize that. The mental health chapter and also his anecdotes about being overweight in his 30s are genuine but also precise productions of the rock bottom trope in self-help books. You know the one – it’s everywhere. Even James Clear’s Atomic Habits begins with this trope, of getting hit in the face with a baseball so hard he went to the hospital. Every business book includes some section about going broke. Every health book includes some journey out of unhealthiness. It’s fine, it’s a technique that works, but you just start to see it coming after reading enough.

Overall, this is a pretty readable, interesting book that gives reasonable advice and could be useful for folks getting their footing with regards to staying healthy. But you might just want to read a good summary, or listen to his podcast instead.


  • Outlive by
  • ISBN: 0593236599
  • ISBN13: 9780593236598
  • Look up with:
    • Published:
    • Publisher: Harmony