Ever wonder how long you will live? We all query this at some point in our lives. Stephen Johnson (1968–present; “author of … books on the intersection of science, technology, and personal experience”) asked and answered this question in Extra Life: A Short History of Living Longer. Recognizing that life expectancy has dramatically increased over the past century, Johnson notes that humankind has accrued “twenty thousand extra days of life on average.”Extra Life considers what accounts for this extension to our existence.

Johnson catalogues factors that have increased longevity, including anesthesia, on his list of innovations that have saved millions of lives. He offers an intriguing narrative of how medical and nonmedical people took step-by-step actions that connected the dots of information to enable breakthroughs in science, human health and welfare. He...

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