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

So I was pretty excited to find out that Julie at Peanut Butter Fingers selected this book for her June Book Club selection – it was the perfect opportunity for me to finally delve into something outside of the Young Adult genre!  And to be honest, it has been a LONG time since I have read non-fiction…and I was ready to immerse myself in someone else’s thoughts.


“For the last few months, I’ve been assembling a list of things I need to do to improve my health.   It’s an intimidatingly long list.  Fifty-three pages.”


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

Copyright 2012 Simon & Schuster


Goodreads:  3.82 Stars (322 Reviews)
Amazon: 4.2 Stars (67 Reviews)
Barnes & Noble: 4.0 Stars (24 Reviews)
My Rating: 3 Stars.


This was my first time reading one of A.J. Jacobs’ books, although when I checked it out from the library, the librarian told me I wouldn’t regret reading any of his works!  His previous two memoirs detailed 1) his experience reading the entire encyclopedia and 2) his attempt to live biblically for one year, according to the moral codes detailed in the Bible.  I didn’t realize that a big part of his writing style is the use of humor – and his sense of humor is one that resonates with me.  And I thoroughly enjoyed his descriptions of his family’s reactions to his project.  To be honest, I’m quite amazed at how patient, even encouraging, his wife is!  However, even though some of the stories and reactions made me literally laugh out loud, I give it a solid three stars.  I think Jacobs did the best he could breaking down a complex subject like health, but by trying to cover so many topics, I felt that the book ended up shallow as a result.  There are only brief mentions of actual studies and diets and exercises, which made it feel like I was reading a series of magazine articles rather than a complete book (which I suppose shouldn’t be surprising, considering the author’s background).  I wonder if this book might have been stronger if Jacobs had focused only on trying various exercise programs or diets, or if he had focused the book on one specific project, like training for a triathlon (which he did do for the book, but, like everything else, it was mentioned only briefly).  The one upside to the organization of the book was that each chapter was really short, which kept me turning the pages.  On another note, this book made me realize that I read far too many health and fitness magazines, because there were only a handful of health tips and studies mentioned in this book that I wasn’t already familiar with.  I would imagine that someone who doesn’t constantly read fitness magazines might find it enlightening, though.  End result – I liked Jacobs’ voice and I think you might also enjoy being inside his head as he tries to figure out how to be “the healthiest man alive.”

One thought on “Book Report: Drop Dead Healthy by A.J. Jacobs

  1. Pingback: Drop Dead Healthy | Peanut Butter Fingers

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s