Book Review: Drop Dead Healthy by A.J. Jacobs

Published April 10th, 2012
Simon & Schuster
402 pages (Hardcover)
Hospitalized with a freak case of tropical pneumonia, goaded by his wife telling him, “I don’t want to be a widow at forty-five,” and ashamed of a middle-aged body best described as “a python that swallowed a goat,” A.J. Jacobs felt compelled to change his ways and get healthy. And he didn’t want only to lose weight, or finish a triathlon, or lower his cholesterol. His ambitions were far greater: maximal health from head to toe.

The task was epic. He consulted an army of experts— sleep consultants and sex clinicians, nutritionists and dermatologists. He subjected himself to dozens of different workouts—from Strollercize classes to Finger Fitness sessions, from bouldering with cavemen to a treadmill desk. And he took in a cartload of diets: raw foods, veganism, high protein, calorie restriction, extreme chewing, and dozens more. He bought gadgets and helmets, earphones and juicers. He poked and he pinched. He counted and he measured.

The story of his transformation is not only brilliantly entertaining, but it just may be the healthiest book ever written. It will make you laugh until your sides split and endorphins flood your bloodstream. It will alter the contours of your brain, imprinting you with better habits of hygiene and diet. It will move you emotionally and get you moving physically in surprising ways. And it will give you occasion to reflect on the body’s many mysteries and the ultimate pursuit of health: a well-lived life.  (From Goodreads)
If you are the type of person who tends to get bored reading non-fiction, pick up some A.J. Jacobs.  The guy knows how to write!

Drop Dead Healthy follows Jacobs' journey to be the healthiest man alive.  System by system, he records his progress towards optimal health.  As a future nurse, I'm kinda into that sort of thing, but even if you're not, Jacobs' witty humour and dedication makes for a great read.

Towards the end of the book, a close family member dies.  I cried as if it were my own family.  For an author I love for their light-hearted writing, Jacobs' wrote sad moments beautifully.  Word of warning though, this death I've referenced isn't the only.

If health isn't your thing, I'd also recommend The Know-It-All, which documents Jacobs' reading of the entire Encyclopedia Brittanica.  Less death, with all the awesome.  Whichever you choose, you can't go wrong.  I'm excited to read The Year of Living Biblically in the hopefully near future!

Much love, Samantha

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