Middle Age

Middle Age

A Natural History

Book - 2012
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David Bainbridge is a vet with a particular interest in evolutionary zoology - and he has just turned forty. As well as the usual concerns about greying hair, failing eyesight and goldfish levels of forgetfulness, he finds himself pondering some bigger questions: have I come to the end of my productive life as a human being? And what I am now for? By looking afresh at the latest research from the fields of anthropology, neuroscience, psychology, and reproductive biology, it seems that the answers are surprisingly, reassuringly encouraging. In clear, engaging and amiable prose, Bainbridge explains the science behind the physical, mental and emotional changes men and women experience between the ages of 40 and 60, and reveals the evolutionary - and personal - benefits of middle age, which is unique to human beings and helps to explain the extraordinary success of our species. Middle Age will change the way you think about mid-life, and help turn the 'crisis' into a cause for celebration.
Publisher: London : Portobello Books, 2012.
ISBN: 9781846272677
Characteristics: 317 p. ; 24 cm.


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Nov 20, 2016

So the middle-aged brain is a triumph. Although the sensory information entering it is becoming ragged, and its internal processes do not work at quite the speed they once did, this does not seem to matter much. Quite simply, the middle-aged brain is at the height of its cognitive powers and whether you subscribe to the 'summit euphoria,' 'trouble ahead' or 'deceptive plateau' view of that feat probably depends on whether you are an optimist or a pessimist. One thing is clear, though: the genetic developmental 'clock of life' still ticks inside the middle-aged brain, and it drives a radical restructuring of our thought processes, encouraging our brains to develop new ways of working well into our fifth and sixth decades.

It makes sense of middle age to be a time of cognitive excellence - the brain allows middle age to be humans' most productive time, as well as a time when we are best able to convey our culture to others. p.108-9

Nov 20, 2016

Let the young be our eyes and ears: middle-aged people are still the brains of the enterprise. p.100


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