Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Drop Dead Healthy by A.J. Jacobs

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

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Goodreads: New York Times bestselling author and king of “immersion journalism” A.J. Jacobs tackles his most challenging experiment yet: a yearlong mission to radically improve every element of his body and mind—from his brain to his fingertips to his abs. 

Having lifted his spirit in The Year of Living Biblically and sharpened his mind in The Know-It-All, A.J. Jacobs had one feat left in the self-improvement trinity: to become the healthiest man in the world. He doesn’t just want to lose weight, or finish a triathlon, or lower his cholesterol. His ambitions were far, far greater. 

The task was massive. First, he had to tackle a complicated web of diet and exercise advice, most which is nonsensical, unproven, and contradictory. Second, he had to consult a team of medical advisers. And finally, he had to subject himself, over the course of two years, to a grueling regimen of exercises, a range of diets and nutritional plans, and a brutal array of techniques and practices to improve everything from his hearing to his sleep—all the while testing the patience of his long-suffering wife. 

This latest book bursts with hilarity and warmth, all the while testing our culture’s assumptions and obsessions with what makes good health and allowing the reader to reflect on his or her own health, body, and eventual mortality.

My thoughts: How do you review a book about a experiential journalist with far more courage than the average journalist (except the war reporters) and humor? While I am feeling accomplished in getting my children's and my own teeth cleaned once a year, a mammogram every two or three, and counting calories while berating myself for not exercising, Jacobs is immersing himself in his research. While I steer clear of anything that might set off my OCD, Jacob's feeds it. Terrifying.

Like his Year of Living Biblically, Jacob's does research then seeks out professionals to explain different theories relating to health. He then tries these different forms of exercise, diets, or enhancements much to the reader's glee and entertainment. The author experiments for two years. At least, that's all he covers in his book, although if he truly is OCD, it is still continuing. He goes through different facets of health each month, adding to his repertoire of healthy habits; heart, eyes, stomach, butt, ears, endocrine system, immune system, adrenal gland, brain, teeth, lungs, skin, genitals, gonads (not the same as genitals, apparently), sleep, etc.

Jacobs does what might make the rest of us uncomfortable, again much to my glee. He wears sound cancelling earphones 10 hours a day, runs barefoot, pretends to be a caveman, gets a colonoscopy, sees a proctologist, tries pole dancing, acupuncture, gets a personal trainer, tries multiple diets and allows his crazy aunt Marti to critique his abode. I find his wife, Julie, to be absolutely enchanting, by the way.

I stayed up too late at night reading this book, got kicked out of bed by my husband for laughing out loud, and ate Pita chips and Easter candy while reading about his experience with Clomid. It was a lot like fun.

*I received a free copy of this book from publishing company in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

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