Drop Dead Healthy: One Man’s Humble Quest for Bodily Perfection by A.J. Jacobs

Drop Dead Healthy: One Man's Humble Quest for Bodily Perfection by
Hardcover, 402 pages
Drop Dead Healthy: One Man's Humble Quest for Bodily Perfection
Rating: 9/10


It seems like every day a new study emerges telling us what's good for us and what isn't. Jacobs decides to spend two years working on as many systems of the body as possible (heart, stomach, ears, teeth, etc) to get them into peak condition. Despite wildly conflicting information and beliefs (e.g. veganism vs. meat-driven diets), Jacobs sets out to become the healthiest man on earth.

Reason for Reading

I had a lot of fun reading Drop Dead Healthy, in which Jacobs spends a year trying to obey everything in the Bible as literally as possible.

Why you should read this book

Drop Dead Healthy is a quick and fun read, more for the fun of watching a guy subject himself to weird things rather than for actually achieving some sort of ultimate health and fitness goals. There are the occasional little snippets of ideas readers might want to incorporate into their own lives (which are sure to vary wildly from person to person), and different ways of looking at your health, but this isn't a guide book. Lining up nicely with the quest are Jacobs' visits with his grandfather, a man in his mid-90s who fought for ideas such as free public transportation. His grandfather points out the purpose of wanting to live a long and healthy life, surrounded by friends and family, fighting for our ideals. You may not discover the secrets to becoming Mr. or Ms. Universe, but you'll have some laughs, which is good for you (and there's a class for that, as a reluctant-but-willing Jacobs discovers).

Why you should avoid this book

Jacobs raises a lot of interesting points during his quest, but it doesn't mean you'll get any solid answers from the book. Even the stuff that works for Jacobs, such as wearing noise-cancelling headphones for as much of the day as possible. will seem unrealistic to a lot of people. Jacobs owns up to his health-freak smugness and there's enough humour in his situations to tone things down, but there are still some eye-rolling moments.

Opening Paragraph

I've made a list of more than a hundred diets. The Mediterranean diet. The USDA diet. The Michael Pollan eat-what-your-grandparents-ate diet. The Blood-type diet. The Paleo diet. The Okinawa diet. Veganism. Raw foodism. Not to mention the more outré ones, like The Cookie Diet. The Rastafarian diet. The Master-Cleanse diet.

Fabulous quotes

My shoulder injury has prompted me to devote this month to researching - and ridding myself of - pain. The first lesson: Thank God I was born in the age of painkillers. The majority of Americans are accustomed to living relatively pain-free lives most of the time. This situation hasn't been the case for most of human history. Pain has long been our constant, horrible companion.
Just contemplate the awful spectacle of surgery without anesthesia. if you read the absorbing book The Pain Chronicles by Melanie Thernstrom, you learn that doctors refused to tell their patients what day surgery was scheduled for. They simply showed up at the patient's house on a random Tuesday or Thursday for a surprise operation. Otherwise, the patients would commit suicide the night before. It was that bad.
I'm also, I discover, terrible at memorizing word lists. Oh, and NASA should think twice about hiring me to help with liftoffs - I'm in the eleventh percentile for counting backward.
So...a mix.
'Overall, you have a pretty good brain,' he says. Above average in many ways, below average in others.
My brain is not a Lamborghini. It's more like a Lexus, or a Toyota.
It's decent. I kind of expected that, but it's a little disappointing to hear it from a guy in a white lab coat.

Also by

The Know-It All; The Year of Living Biblically; My Life as an Experiment.

Fun Tidbit

I do wish I'd seen these photos while I was reading The Year of Living Biblically a few years ago.

Would I read more by ?

Yes, I'll check out future books and probably go back and read The Know-It All.

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