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How to live longer

I heard this, recently, from Robert Putnam (via the radio, you understand, not in person). Putnam is the author of Bowling Alone, which focuses on the fragmentation of social capital. He uses the poignant image of how people often bowl alone in American bowling alleys where they would once bowl in a group. The book’s been around for a while.

Anyway, this is the bit that’s new to me. Apparently he said this:

“If you are a member of no groups and join one, you cut the risk of dying over the next year by 50%.”

I haven’t had the chance to source the research and check the quote (I guess I should buy the book), but it’s startling. Looks like my favourite quote, E. M. Forster’s ‘Only connect’ – that the point of the human condition is to connect positively with others – is even more powerful than I thought it was. It can be the difference between life and death.

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