Extra Life

A Short History Of Living Longer

Steven Johnson

Published by Penguin Press in Hardback (£20.00) on 13-05-2021

As the world races to produce and distribute COVID-19 vaccines, Steven Johnson sheds light on past successes in public health and what will drive future advances.  As a species we have doubled our life expectancy in just one hundred years.  Modern advances have given us each an extra twenty thousand days to live on average—the most astonishing measure of human progress by far.  Extra Life is a close and fascinating look at the milestones of this progress— from the discoveries of vaccines and antibiotics, to the introduction of things that are now commonplace, such as pasteurized milk, chlorinated drinking water and seatbelts.

  • “Mr. Johnson’s erudition can be quite gob smacking”

    The Wall Street Journal

  • “Riveting… A deep thinker and gifted storyteller.”

    The New York Times Book Review

  • “A true page-turner”

    The Washington Post

  • “A maven of the history of ideas.”

    The Guardian

  • “An unbelievable book…it’s an innovative way to talk about history.”

    Jon Stewart on How We Got To Now

PR Collective’s current campaigns

See more campaigns →

Nine Nasty Words

Language evolves with time, and so does what we consider profane or unspeakable. Nine Nasty Words is a rollicking examination of profanity, explored from every angle: historical, sociological, political, linguistic. In a particularly coarse moment, when the public discourse is shaped in part by once-shocking words, nothing could be timelier.

Read more →

I Can’t Believe It’s Baby Food!

My aim is to help parents make both cooking and mealtimes as enjoyable and stress-free as possible. It’s all about sharing food that the whole family will love, with your baby in a highchair pulled up to the table. Apart from the first few weeks of weaning, there really is no need to cook twice. In fact, it’s much better that you don’t! Your baby will benefit both nutritionally and developmentally from eating with you; and, if you are not stuck in the kitchen all day preparing endless different meals, you’ll be happier and less frazzled, too.

Your child’s development depends on three key areas of health that are intertwined and are interdependent – these are the Brain, the Immune system and the Gut (BIG). The first thousand days seems to be the critical window to get this essential BIG nutrition trio functioning well, as that is when your baby’s mind, immune-resilience and intestinal health are being primed for the future.

Read more →

Extra Life

Steven Johnson will present a four-part television series with historian David Olusoga, also titled Extra Life: A Short History of Living Longer. As with the book, the series, set in the context of today’s COVID-19 crisis, explores the lessons learned from previous global pandemics—including smallpox, cholera, the Spanish flu, and others—and reveals how scientists, doctors, self-experimenters, and activists launched a public health revolution, saving millions of lives, fundamentally changing how we think about illness and ultimately paving the way for modern medicine.

Read more →