Book 24 of 52: Love and Survival by Dean Ornish, M.D.

What I love about reading books is it opens up a long tunnel that you can just get lost in. Each direction is spearheaded by another book, recommended by the author of the words you have just swallowed. It’s an amazing journey and you never quite know where you will end up, or what you will find along the way.

Love and Survival was a recommendation of Brad Blanton. In fact I lost count of the number of times he urged his readers to buy it during the reading of Radical Honesty, and I want to go on record and thank Brad, as I have learned so much through the teachings of Dean Ornish. This is one of the most influential books I have ever read.

The book is separated into a ménage a trois of information. The first part of the book is a lot of scientific fact, the centre is a lovely slice of Ornish’s life – and how his sufferings connect with his teachings – and the final part comes directly from the mouths of believers. I was intrigued by the first part, absolutely loved the centre and felt a bit letdown by the ending. Maybe I am just getting too difficult too please as I digest more and more books. I am still waiting for a book to punch my in the guts and leave me winded by the time I have turned the final page. So far it is eluding me.

Dean Ornish is a clinical professor of medicine and his book is about life. Yes, I know life is a vast open space of a word but I feel he pretty much touched every part of mine. He took me to places that I never knew existed, left me with answers that I had been searching for, gave me worry and also hope. Love and Survival is a book that tells a story of how love and intimacy can save your life. The book contains plenty of scientific studies to show how love and intimacy can help improve the situation of people who are suffering from diseases such as heart disease.

The book really made me take stock of my own life, the behaviours of those that I love and the behaviours of myself. I have never truly understood how damaging hostile and anger can be. Yes I feel upset and tired after arguing…but I never dreamed that it could affect my mortality. I never knew that shutting myself off from the world could cause me harm. I never really understood the power of community, love, compassion and social structure. My eyes have also opened a little wider in the context of religion. I never realised that having faith – having a religion can be so healthy for you. For those of you who are religious this may be blindingly obvious, but to me it was a revelation. At least now I have a greater understanding. I can now see how religion has a purpose.

This book was a special one. I highly recommend it to anyone and everyone irrespective of your situation or circumstances. Fit, healthy, unhealthy, dying or just plain bored out of your mind; buy this book because it is a little gem.

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  1. Lee, you already know where I stand. I don’t personally consider myself religious but rather a person of faith. (“Religious” can have negative connotations because people can appear religious but not have love in their hearts.) This sounds like a wonderful book. Have you ever heard of the book “Laughter is the Best Medicine”?

    • Hi Linnea,

      I haven’t heard of it, but when I was in Thailand I bought myself a Laughing Buddha and each time I look at it I crack up. This book was amazing and I really would like you to buy it. I think you would love it.


  2. Hi Lee,
    Did you know that the Bible states that “God is love” (1 John 4:8 and 16). Pure love is so good for us. Is it any surprise that faith in a God who is pure love – who is the author of love – would be healthy for us as well?

    Speaking of love, I love your passion to read and learn and grow! Go, Lee! Gotta put this one on my reading list since you recommend it so highly. 🙂

  3. Great review, Lee.

  4. hi
    lucky you guys
    i don’t have the chance to read this book
    does any one have it’s eBook

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