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Take a brilliant, creative social scientist, without any respect for conventional wisdom and you get Ellen Langer. She is a fantastic storyteller, and Counterclockwise is a fascinating story about the unexpected ways in which our minds and bodies are connected.
– Dan Ariely, Ph.D., author of Predictably Irrational
If we could turn back the clock psychologically, could we also turn it back physically? For more than thirty years, award-winning social psychologist Ellen Langer has studied this provocative question, and now has a conclusive answer: opening our minds to what’s possible, instead of clinging to accepted notions about what’s not, can lead to better health at any age.
Drawing on her own body of colorful experiments—including the first detailed discussion of her landmark 1979 “counterclockwise” study in which elderly men lived for a week as though it was 1959 and seemed to grow younger—and important works by other researchers, Langer proves that the magic lies in being aware of the ways we mindlessly react to cultural cues.
Counterclockwise shows how we can actively challenge these ingrained behaviors by making subtle changes in our everyday lives. Langer describes ways to reorient our attitudes and language in order to achieve better health; she shows us the ways in which our belief in physical limits constrains us; and she demonstrates how our desire for certainty in medical diagnosis and treatment often prevents us from fully exploiting the power of uncertainty.
Scientifically riveting and practically empowering, Counterclockwise holds enormously exciting implications for our general health—including vision, old age, cancer, weight, and heart health—as well as for our fundamental happiness.