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Eighty Is The New Thirty: A Guide To Getting Older With Daniel Levitin and Camilla Cavendish

Neuroscientist and bestselling author Daniel Levitin explains why age is not simply a period of decay, but a unique developmental stage with its own characteristics, just like infancy or adolescence.

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We tend to associate old age with deterioration, especially of our mental powers and memory. But today we are seeing a new cohort of the so-called young-old, people in their sixties, seventies and beyond, who are still healthy, active and fully engaged with life. Most of us have an idea of what we should be doing: keeping fit, eating healthily and having an active social life. But now cutting-edge science is giving us a deeper understanding of the processes at work as we grow older, as well as providing specific guidelines that we can follow to keep the symptoms of age at bay. (Clue: they don’t involve doing Sudoku.)

Neuroscientist and bestselling author Daniel Levitin is at the forefront of this research and on Feb 24 2020 he comes to the Intelligence Squared stage to share the findings of his book The Changing Mind: A Neuroscientist’s Guide to Ageing Well. Old age, he will explain, is not simply a period of decay, but a unique developmental stage with its own characteristics, just like infancy or adolescence. And we are never too young or too old to start planning ahead for decades to come. Joining Levitin will be Camilla Cavendish, award-winning journalist and campaigner, who has travelled the world interviewing leading experts for her book Extra Time: 10 Lessons for an Ageing World.

Together they will address the most fascinating questions about ageing. What are the most effective ways to keep our brains fit? Should we be learning a new language or using cognitive training apps? Should we ever retire? Will we soon be able to slow down the ageing process by taking special pills that work at the level of our DNA? (Cavendish is already taking an early version of them.) And given that it is the richer individuals in the Western world who are enjoying increasing healthy life expectancy, how will our societies cope with the growing inequality this will create?


Book Bundles

Book Bundle tickets include one ticket plus one copy of Daniel Levitin’s book The Changing Mind: A Neuroscientist’s Guide to Ageing Well, to be collected from the venue on the night of the event.



Daniel Levitin

Neuroscientist and cognitive psychologist

Neuroscientist and cognitive psychologist, whose research focuses on pattern processing in the brain. He is Founding Dean of Arts and Humanities at the Minerva Schools at KGI in San Francisco, and Professor Emeritus of psychology and neuroscience at McGill University. He has consulted on audio sound source separation for the U.S. Navy, and on audio quality for several rock bands and record labels, including the Grateful Dead and Steely Dan, and is the bestselling author of This Is Your Brain on Music, The World in Six Songs, The Organized Mind, and A Field Guide to Lies and Statistics.

Camilla Cavendish

Award-winning writer and broadcaster

Award-winning writer and broadcaster, and Senior Fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy School, where her research focuses on the emergence of the ’Super Old'. She writes a weekly op-ed column on current affairs for the Financial Times. She has been Head of the Prime Minister’s Policy Unit under David Cameron, a Non-Executive Director of the Care Quality Commission, and a McKinsey consultant. She sits in the House of Lords as a crossbench peer, Baroness Cavendish of Little Venice. She is the author of Extra Time: Ten Lessons for an Ageing World.


Speakers are subject to change.