The Old Man's Guide to Health and Longer Life

About the Author

John Hill was a mid-eighteenth-century physician and actor who published prolifically on the natural sciences.

The Old Man's Guide to Health and Longer Life

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Written by John Hill

It isn’t fun getting old, but, as the joke has it, being old is better than the alternative. Most of us worry about getting older, and there is an endless supply of guides out there claiming to hold the tips that will ensure wellness and vitality during our golden years. But before Dr. Oz and protein shakes, aging men turned to physician John Hill and The Old Man’s Guide to Health and Longer Life.


First published in the mid-eighteenth century, The Old Man’s Guide to Health and Longer Life is a lifestyle guide to longevity and good health for old men. Written in an age when the majority of the population didn’t live to see their fortieth birthday, Hill’s book provides practical advice on diet, exercise, and lifestyle, including sleep and emotional health, as well as illuminating insight into the thinking on health and longevity in the mid-eighteenth century. Some of the more prescriptive advice has the hysterical tone expected from eighteenth-century guides and manuals—“The pine-apple, the most pleasant of all fruit, is the most dangerous.”—but more surprising is how full of genuinely good advice the book is and how much of it reads like modern-day health literature. This includes such insightful sayings as: “A warm bath and a glass of wine if you are having difficulty getting to sleep”; “Use medicines only as a last resort—address diet and lifestyle first to resolve illness”; and “Quiet, good humour, and complacency of temper will prevent half the diseases of old people; and cure many of the others.”


Full of both sage wisdom and what now seem ridiculous regimens, The Old Man’s Guide to Health and Longer Life will be the perfect gift for a man of more mature years.

  • Hardcover
  • 80 pages, 20 halftones
  • 4.5 x 6.75 inches
  • Published: 2013

Editorial Reviews

"The Old Man’s Guide to Health and Longer Life shows that interest in healthy aging is not exactly new. First published in the mid-18th century, the book offers advice to a population its author, physician John Hill, described as ‘the ancient.’. . . Amid discussions of fluxes and humours, there are tidbits of still sage advice: controlling one’s temper, taking warm baths before bed, going for walks and staving off disease through diet and lifestyle rather than medicine.” —Maggie Fazeli Fard, Washington Post

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