Dan Buettner — a National Geographic writer who stumbled across his life’s work when seeking the key to spectacular longevity — has found a common theme in communities where people thrive in old age: effortlessness.

“If you look at the cultures around the world where people are living the longest, it’s never because individuals are trying to do it,” he said Monday. “They live in a culture that nudges them to do the right things, makes the right decisions for them.”

With teams of researchers, Buettner located and explored five places on the planet where residents lived exceptionally long and well — like Sardinia, Italy, home to 12 times more centenarians than anywhere else.

His 2008 book, “The Blue Zones,” profiled the folkways and lifestyles of these spots, and he brought their secrets to an audience at the Van Wezel, as part of the Ringling College Library Association Town Hall lecture series.

Read more…