The Life Project

The Life Project

The Extraordinary Story of Our Ordinary Lives



'Eye-opening, extraordinary insights into ordinary lives' Financial Times

'Superb' Literary Review

The remarkable story of a unique series of studies that have touched the lives of almost everyone in Britain today

In March 1946, scientists began to track thousands of children born in one cold week. No one imagined that this would become the longest-running study of human development in the world, growing to encompass five generations of children. Today, they are some of the best-studied people on the planet, and the simple act of observing human life has changed the way we are born, schooled, parent and die. This is the tale of these studies and the remarkable discoveries that have come from them. Touching almost every person in Britain today, they are one of our best-kept secrets.

'If you ever wondered whether the circumstances of your early life steered you along a particular path, look no further than this book ... highly readable ... a goldmine of social history' Eric Kaufmann, Literary Review

'Hugely engaging ... the scientists are an irresistibly eccentric, passionate bunch' Nick Curtis, Evening Standard


  • An elegant mix of science and human drama, The Life Project was - by a considerable measure in my view - the best science book published this year
    Robin McKie, Best Science Books of 2016, Observer

About the author

Helen Pearson

Learn More

Sign up to the Penguin Newsletter

For the latest books, recommendations, author interviews and more