Natural Causes: An Epidemic of Wellness, the Certainty of Dying, and Killing Ourselves to Live Longer

Great idea for a book but poorly executed by Ehrenreich in a very meandering disjointed way. Chapters have no connection to each other, although a few of them stand out as solid on their own (and perhaps would better live as standalone essays). Naturally, she shines in her scathing comments about the idiocy of Silicon Valley where bros create a problem (addiction to screens & attention issues) and then solve it with meditation apps.

I like what I thought was going to be her main focus of the book, a walking away from all the tests, pokes, and prodding of modern medicine; once she realizes that she’s “old enough to die,” she’s “no longer interested in looking for problems that remain undetectable to [her].” Very few people seem brave enough to voice this idea that time is better spent doing what you love in the little remaining time you have, rather than in waiting rooms of doctor’s offices for endless tests just looking for issues to jump on. I like the idea that some doctors have adopted of tattooing DNR or NO CODE on themselves so they don’t have to suffer the drastic end of life measures they proscribe to their own patients.

Ehrenreich has spent decades reporting about interesting societal issues and she weaves snippets of class and feminism in here. She mentions a friend’s reaction when doctors were getting huffy with ladies beginning to examine themselves for the first time in the 1970s complaining that the speculums were probably un-sterilized: her pal said “yes, of course, anything that enters the vagina should first be boiled for at least ten minutes.”

At the very least, I got leads for some other potentially good books on aging, such as Betty Friedan’s The Fountain of Age (incorrectly listed in this poorly fact-checked book as The Fountain of Aging) and Lynne Segal’s Out of Time.