Only two years ago, when I launched my advocacy website Rejuvenaction, I didn’t think I would read a book like Juvenescence so soon; yet, the topic of rejuvenation biotechnologies has already become mainstream enough to lead investors of the calibre of Jim Mellon and Al Chalabi to devote a whole book to it.
As Juvenescence is a book aimed at potential new investors in rejuvenation biotechnologies, I expected it to be an extremely technical and detailed account of things I don’t understand, such as finance, markets, and funds. To my delight, this was not the case. Rather, the details Juvenescence dives into are primarily those of the emerging field of rejuvenation science (alas, still something whose details I don’t fully understand).
The book explains the paradigm shift that is currently taking place and changing the way science sees aging—no longer as an inevitable fact of life but rather as a disease to be eradicated like any other—and goes through a biology 101 crash course for the benefit of readers who might be not too well versed in the science of life.
After describing the various, converging views of modern science on what the key processes of aging are and the innumerable ailments they cause, the authors introduce us to many of the most prominent figures of aging research, including Aubrey de Grey, David Sinclair, and Craig Venter, and the approaches these luminaries are painstakingly following to bring aging under comprehensive medical control.
Eventually, the focus of the book shifts to the more technical aspects of the biology of aging, and finally to what a world where extreme longevity is the norm could have in store for humanity—how working life, demographics, the trajectory of life, etc, will all change as a consequence of vastly increased lifespans.
Though, as said, this book isn’t a dry investment textbook, and readers looking for new ventures to invest in needn’t worry; Mellon and Chalabi do provide their opinions and suggestions on financial matters in an unobtrusive way throughout the book, and there is a section dedicated to biotech companies’ financial data as well.
As a non-biologist, I don’t have the expertise to give an opinion on the most technical biology parts of the book, though the little that I already knew on the subject and that I expected to find in Juvenescence was exactly where it should be. Non-technical readers be warned: Juvenescence may not be a biology manual, but it does delve into quite a bit of detail and may prove hard to follow if you don’t pay full attention.
The authors clearly did their bit trying to keep it as simple and straightforward as possible, but the topic is complex and requires an attentive reader. While I cannot personally vouch for the solidity of the science in this book, its illustrious scientific reviewers, including Dr. Aubrey de Grey, Dr. João Pedro de Magalhães, Prof. David Gems, and Franco Cortese, can for sure.
Readers looking for ways to increase their chances of ‘making the cut’ and live long enough to benefit from rejuvenation biotechnologies will find lots of useful information in Juvenescence, in the form of an account of different types of diets and the benefits they may have, a discussion of different potential geroprotectors (i.e., substances that protect against some of the effects of aging) and the foods where they can be found, and other useful tips for living a healthier, longer life. It goes without saying that cautious readers will discuss any changes to their lifestyles with their doctors first.
With its wealth of information and a slightly flashy layout, Juvenescence might be a book to make the fight against aging yet more popular with the greater public, particularly with investors. While I do not like to see health and longevity as business opportunities to profit from, huge investments are absolutely necessary in order to make much-needed progress in the lab and eventually bring rejuvenation therapies to the wider public. It is therefore imperative to attract the attention of investors to this field, and I think Juvenescence stands a good chance of doing exactly that.
If I had been completely new to the topic when I picked up Juvenescence, I would probably have been quite confused and overwhelmed by all the information it contains; it is thus perhaps not the best starting point for newbies, but it is a good addition to the library of any rejuvenation advocate and whoever wants to learn more about the science of longevity.
The book is available in the US at Amazon and at www.harriman-house.com and in the UK on amazon and on their website here. There is also a Facebook page supporting the book here if you wish to keep up with the latest news from Jim and Al. You can find our other review of this book by a biologist here.