The book is peppered with interesting scientific facts: orgasm increases blood flow to the brain, allowing oxygenation and nutrients to get there — and is, therefore, more stimulating than any intellectual challenge. Written in a jaunty, journalistic style, How Not To Get Old is an easy and enjoyable read and a useful addition to the pantheon of self-help books encouraging us to keep our lives full of new challenges. It does occasionally veer into schoolgirlish coyness when discussing subjects such as sex and life-drawing, with its attendant (tee-hee) nudity.
It is very much a feature journalist’s book; plenty of quotes from doctors and gurus served without pesky value judgments, breezily overlaid with personal anecdotes and cosy self-deprecations — “I have two left feet . . . sheer laziness . . . never that confident behind the steering wheel . . . unpaid parking tickets . . . failed grade 1 piano . . . sense of spatial awareness has never been great” etc. The problem for a reader is that, as all of us in the trade know to our cost, this tactic tends to make any writer sound like what the Germans call an “Ich-bin-so” (“I’m like that”) or a teenager going, “That’s just me, innit.” It palls.