March 28, 2023

Science of Aging

#248 ‒ OUTLIVE book: A behind-the-scenes look into the writing of this book, motivation, main themes, and more

You can't solve or even attempt to solve complicated problems if you aren't asking the right questions and you don't have the right frameworks.” —Peter Attia

Read Time 37 minutes

After more than six years of research, planning, and writing, Peter’s book, Outlive: The Science and Art of Longevity, is officially available as of March 28th. In this episode, Peter sits down with co-author Bill Gifford to provide a behind-the-scenes look into the writing process, including the motivation for making it happen, how the book evolved over the course of the writing process, and why certain topics were chosen (and omitted). Additionally, they discuss how the book is structured and touch on a few of the book’s main themes to give potential readers an idea of what they can expect.


We discuss:

  • The meaning of the book’s title and subtitle [3:00]; 
  • Finding the right art for the book cover [9:00];
  • Who is Bill Gifford, and how did he get involved in the book? [16:15];
  • How Peter’s writing evolved over the six years it took to write this book [25:00];
  • The structure of the book and what people can expect to learn [29:00];
  • How the writing of the book and the podcast interviews have shaped Peter’s thinking and approach to translating science [32:45];
  • Making the book stand the test of time despite the constant evolution of science and medicine [36:00];
  • Objective, strategy, and tactics [39:30];
  • Exciting possible progressions in science and medicine over the next decade [42:15];
  • What is holding back “medicine 3.0” from being the norm? [46:00];
  • How the book compares to the podcast in terms of technicality and readability for the layman [49:00]; 
  • Motivation to write the book and insights into challenges around the writing process [57:15];
  • Peter’s decision to be the reader for the audiobook [1:10:30];
  • The many painstaking last-minute changes and edits that brought the book together and made it better [1:19:00];
  • Peter and Bill’s favorite parts of the book [1:27:30];
  • The incredible team of people supporting the book [1:31:30]; and
  • More.


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Bill Gifford

Bill Gifford is a veteran magazine writer and editor who writes about extraordinary athletes and cutting-edge health science. After growing up mostly in Washington, D.C., he returned after college to become a staff writer for the legendary Washington City Paper, for a salary paid in beer, rice and beans. He then moved to Philadelphia to write and edit for Philadelphia Magazine for several years. Continuing north along I-95 to New York, he worked as features editor and then “editor-at-large,” the world’s best job title, for Men’s Journal. His freelance work has appeared in Outside magazine, where he is a longtime contributing editor, as well as Bicycling, Wired, Bloomberg Businessweek, Slate, and others, as well as in Best American Sportswriting. His first book, Ledyard, is a biography of the 18th-century explorer, writer, entrepreneur and bon vivant John Ledyard. His latest, Spring Chicken, is a personal investigation into the science of aging. []

Instagram: billgifford

Twitter: @billgifford

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  1. Thanks for the revealing discussion about how a book is made. My wife and I both laughed when you mentioned cutting out the details of the portal vein delivery of fluids to the liver since that was one thing we have been puzzling about! Specifically, if there is flow from the intestine (where the vein gets the nutrients) to the liver there has to be a pressure gradient to support flow, so how exactly does that work? We both looked at each other and chuckled when we heard you say you cut that in the podcast. Anyway, it’s tough to cut out all your “gems” when writing a book, but I’m sure that exercise improved it and we look forward to both the audio and the written version.
    -Cathy’s husband

  2. Peter – just finished the book after anticipating its release for several months. The final chapter was amazing. Been following the podcast since its inception and I was unaware of your ongoing struggle. Thank you for your candor, as it was relatable. You’re doing amazing work. I wish you strength and vigilance on your journey. Thank you to you and your team. May you find the peace you are seeking.

  3. Love the book. Absolutely love the hardcover design under the outer sheaf! It is so easy to read, so absolutely near perfection. Since I’m a huge fanboi, my wife said: “don’t you already know everything in there”, to which it is somewhat true, but regardless of how much I’ve learned there are key points that I’ve gleaned that I hadn’t picked up before. This thing is a treasure. Thanks so much for the hard work! As a total nerd and engineer I wanted all the down and dirty emails, but the distillation is effective. BTW, I can totally tell where you’d normally leave pages upon pages of further elaboration, but the editor inside me knows it was for the better on the whole.

  4. I highly recommend reading or listening to this book while visiting a senior living facility. I guarantee you will not only find deeper understanding but also great motivation.

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