New York Times bestselling author, host and co-creator of the Emmy-winning PBS/BBC series How We Got to Now, and host of the podcast American Innovations.
Board-certified preventive medicine physician, staff writer at The Atlantic, and lecturer at Yale School of Public Health.
Extra Life: A Short History of Living Longer
New York Times bestselling author Steven Johnson is the author of thirteen books, including the bestsellers How We Got to Now, Where Good Ideas Come From, The Ghost Map, and other thought-provoking books that use page-turning history and science as a tool for understanding the present. The host and co-creator of the Emmy-winning PBS/BBC series How We Got to Now, and the host of the podcast American Innovations, he now returns with an urgent book tied to the current pandemic crisis, Extra Life: A Short History of Living Longer, which delves into the extraordinary successes of public health and medicine in the past century, and the people who made it possible.
As a species we’ve doubled our life expectancy in just one hundred years. Modern advances have given us each an extra twenty thousand days to live on average—the most astonishing measure of human progress by far. Extra Life is Johnson’s brilliant and fascinating look at the milestones of this progress— from the discoveries of vaccines and antibiotics, to the introduction of things that are now commonplace, like pasteurized milk, chlorinated drinking water, and seatbelts. Johnson also turns his keen analytical eye to the present: Do we risk regressing in life expectancy as our public health systems face unprecedented challenges such as the ones we’re living through? Are we overlooking any current technologies or field of research that will enable us to live even longer than we do now?
On May 11, 2021 PBS Television will premiere the first of a four-part series, co-hosted by Johnson, also titled Extra Life: A Short History of Living Longer. Like the book, the series, set in the context of today’s COVID-19 crisis, explores the lessons learned from previous global pandemics—including smallpox, cholera, the Spanish flu and others—and reveals how scientists, doctors, self-experimenters and activists launched a public health revolution, saving millions of lives, fundamentally changing how we think about illness and ultimately paving the way for modern medicine.
Extra Life is a multi-platform collaboration. The series will be accompanied by an extensive education outreach component in partnership with The Pulitzer Center, which will distribute resources to schools and colleges. The New York Times Magazine will publish a special issue, featuring a lead article by Johnson, that will delve into the larger history of science, medicine and public health. The issue will also feature data visualizations and articles by historians and other science writers.
Johnson will be in conversation with James Hamblin, MD, MPH, board-certified preventive medicine physician, staff writer at The Atlantic, and lecturer at Yale School of Public Health. Hamblin is the author of If Our Bodies Could Talk: Operating and Maintaining a Human Body (and he hosted a video series of the same name) and Clean: The New Science of Skin.
This event suitable for youth 12+. It will be recorded and available later on our website and YouTube channel.
BONUS AFTER-HOURS EVENT: Attendees who purchase a copy of Extra Life from FAN’s partner bookseller The Book Stall are invited to attend an AFTER-HOURS event hosted by Mr. Johnson and Dr. Hamblin that will start immediately after the webinar. Details on the webinar registration page.