Here is a book I can wholeheartedly recommend to everyone without any hesitation. For those who are interested in attaining and maintaining good health in all its aspects, I would even go so far as to say this book is essential reading and a necessary resource to keep close at hand. If you even entertain the possibility of living forever, then this book is a must for you. The authors are, without a doubt, knowledgeable about the topics of which they write and provide literally hundreds of facts, proposals, insights, suggestions, and recommendations regarding everything from developments in medical nanotechnology and biotechnology to disease prevention, nutrition, food preparation, living a healthful lifestyle, and, in fact, more information than you will assimilate during a first reading.
The authors are well-known within their fields of expertise. Ray Kurzweil, a recipient of the National Medal of Technology and an inductee into the Inventors Hall of Fame, is one of the world's leading inventors, thinkers, and futurists and the author of three previous books on technology. Terry Grossman M.D., the founder and medical director of the Frontier Medical Institute in Denver, Colorado, a leading longevity clinic, is certified in anti-aging medicine and lectures internationally on matters related to longevity and anti-aging strategies. These two experts, one in technology and one in medical science, have joined together to write about how you can "live long enough to live forever."
While I endorse and highly recommend "Fantastic Voyage," the subtitle of the book presents a problem for me. The very idea of "living forever" is a proposition with which I am not entirely comfortable. I am philosophically oriented both by training and by disposition and I have to wrestle with this question: "Is living forever a suitable and desirable goal for any human being?" I believe this is fundamentally an ethical question and at this moment I cannot answer it, at least for myself, because I haven't had time to consider it in depth and in all its possible ramifications. To be frank, I haven't really given any thought to it until reading this book. So now, thanks to the authors, I'll have to explore this problem. But I think it's an important issue to raise and debate, particularly considering that, while we may be able to prolong life indefinitely in a physical sense, there are psychological, sociological, and political factors which must also be considered.
Once we put this matter aside for further thought and discussion, the authors do indeed take us on a fantastic voyage into the world of cutting-edge technology, a place where modern biology, information science, and what is called "nanotechnology" intersect and impact each other. Their discussion of "nanobots" is especially interesting. These are robots, the size of blood cells, built from molecules placed in our bodies and bloodstream to enhance every aspect of our lives. Nanobots, suggest the authors, will even be used for surgery. For example, teams "of millions of nanobots will be able to restructure bones and muscles, destroy unwanted growths such as tumors on a cell-by-cell basis, and clear arteries while restructuring them out of healthy tissue." This especially caught my attention, as one who suffered a heart attack a couple of years ago and had to undergo an emergency angioplasty. If a nanobot could continually keep my arteries clear, I'd be more than happy to let it do so!
But correcting a medical problem after the damage has been done is not the major thrust of this book. I would guess that more than ninety-five percent of "Fantastic Voyage" is devoted to preventing disease, promoting good health, and dealing with the aging process. (I should warn the reader that there is some discussion of chemistry involved here, but I found that one can skip through the various chemical formulas discussed and not miss anything vital to understanding the point being made.) In line with the major thrusts of the book, the authors present "Three Bridges" which are "emerging transformations in technology that will usher in powerful new tools to expand your health and human powers."
The First Bridge is "Ray & Terry's Longevity Program" which includes "present-day therapies and guidance that will enable you to remain healthy long enough to take full advantage of the construction of the Second Bridge." The reader will learn about carbohydrates and the glycemic load, the importance of fat and protein, why the modern diet is out of balance, how to eat nutritionally, why sugar is the "white Satan," the real cause of heart disease and how to prevent it, and much, much more. The Second Bridge is the "Biotechnology Revolution" where "we learn the genetic and protein codes of our biology" and "the means of turning off disease and aging while we turn on our full human potential." The reader will learn about gene expression, somatic gene therapy, recombinant technology, therapeutic cloning, and how human aging can be reversed. The Third Bridge is the "Nanotechnology-Artificial Intelligence Revolution" which will "enable us to rebuild our bodies and brains at the molecular level." The reader will learn about programmable blood, nanopower, nanosurgery, "intelligent" cells, and a lot more.
I could go on and on; I've only scratched the surface of the information provided in this interesting and valuable book. Kurzweil and Grossman are to be commended for making this important information available to the public, written in an easy and understandable style, with recommendations that the reader can implement immediately. At the end of the book they provide a page of resources and contact information and the standard index to topics. More importantly, however, they provide over sixty pages of notes, references, and citations so the reader can consult the primary sources for more detail. I wish more authors would do that.
This is a serious book to be read once and then consulted continuously for its suggestions and recommendations. But, now, the real question: Do I really want to live forever? Well, let me think about that for a few years!