New York Times best-selling 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 a couple of pounds, or finish a triathlon, or lower his cholesterol.
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 wife.
This latest work bursts with hilarity and warmth, all the while testing our culture's assumptions and obsessions with what makes good health and allowing the listener to reflect on his or her own health, body, and eventual mortality.
©2012 A. J. Jacobs (P)2012 Simon & Schuster, Inc.
“We can become healthier by learning from AJ's discomfort in this very funny book. He moves us from theory to practice by dragging his body through all the longevity practices. (Dr. Mehmet Oz)
"Can one man go from a 'python that ate agoat' physique to perfect specimen? From Roman soldier workouts to Areca palm plants, fromthe sublime to the absurd, AJ has tried it all. I laughed my ass off the wholeway and learned a ton ... including about my ass." (Timothy Ferriss, author of The 4-Hour Workweek)
"Who wouldn't want to be fitter, happier, more productive? In this riotous, madcap book, AJ Jacobs sets himself an ambitious goal: to become the person we all wish we could be. It's vintage AJ. Do your future self a favor and read this book." (Joshua Foer, author of Moonwalking with Einstein)
I am a longtime fan of the experimental books by AJ Jacobs who is best known for writing about the year he spent reading the entire Encyclopedia Britannica (the know-it-all) and the year in which he followed all the rules of the bible (The Year if Living Biblically) and now this one where he tries to get “healthy” but because everyone has a different idea of health and how to achieve it he spends a lot of time bumbling between one crazy idea to another without the normal discriminating gaze of an experienced athlete. He does eventually settle on some kind of routine but it is unclear what he was doing. I know that near the end of the book he was benching 185 lbs x 15 reps which is very good for a middleweight and fantastic for a person of his size with so very little experience- he could also do about 170 push-ups in one go. How did he achieve these feats? We may never know. The parts I was most interested in, like his exact workout routine and diet are seldom discussed- more time is focused on new experimental or silly fads. I do know that he spent a lot of time on the wii which gave him a training injury and that much of the book was written while on a treadmill allowing him to walk over a thousand miles – I may need to get one of those. I can't emphasize enough that this is not a “health book” it is a pseudo intellectual humor book about health. It is fun natured and he quotes a lot of the most popular currently trending health books that he got from TED (so he knows these people)- but I do not know what all he kept at the end of the experience other than a lot of tips on eating small portions- He said in an interview that the healthy lifestyle almost killed him- I may been dozing off a little here and there but I don't remember anything like that in there. So the book is very fun but terribly incomplete
The other books by AJ Jacobs are really just prequels to this one- same genre- same charicters- different experiments. One certainly has to admire his adventurous spirit, attempting everything at least once- reminding me of what a close minded curmudgeon I really am. I am glad to have his opinion of so very many angles of the health world including a couple I had not heard of before
I spent a lot of the book wondering when he was going to get down to business and start the REAL MAN exercises- He did do them at some point but didn't write about it. I feel cheated. Sounds like they worked well, too. Also, a Before and after PDF would have been nice.
This is the first introduction to AJ Jacobs. I guess I expected this book to be less narrative. I was expecting more about what was learned and less about what was going on in his life while he researched for the book. It's more a diary than a self help book.
Jacobs should have gotten a professional to read the audio book. I'm not sure what it is about his voice that distracts me from the words he is saying, but it is very distracting.
As a 50-year-old in search of better health and longer life, I purchased this book as a reference and found myself enjoying it as a well told story. A.J. Jacobs is a crafty writer who delivers thoughtful pearls like he's handing out candy. I found myself laughing often. And learning much.
I'm a fan of the author's antics -- his adventures delving into the validity of topics that we have often wondered about but not thinking too deeply on. I enjoyed his other books, "My Life as an Experiment" (practicing radical honesty and outsourcing errands and tasks to India, including reading bedtime stories to his kids) and "The Know-It-All" (reading the encyclopedia from A to Z). This book is still as entertaining as the others. Where it falls short is the book doesn't really go into the effects of the exercise and eating regiments he tries out. The problem with healthy eating and living is that it doesn't always materialize. However, it still left me feeling that the book was incomplete. So what become of drinking wine and coffee? Or cutting back sugar? Or extreme exercising? Or running without shoes? Or eating raw food? The author is feeling a little more energy. Is that it? It might have been more interesting if the author had more time with people following certain regiments (like caloric restriction or caveman diet) and see what their meals and lives are like.
The book title explains it all. I'm not sure what i was hoping to find when i decided to read this, but for some reason I was disappointed. I suppose I was hoping to hear more about cutting edge research and definitive advice.
But as Jacobs says fairly early in the book, there's not much in the way of definitive anything when it comes to exercise and nutrition. None of the experts or the studies can agree about much beyond the basic stuff.
Jacobs mentioned about 5-7 times in his book that he is a writer for Esquire magazine and it shows in his writing, which is witty and entertaining. But like most magazine articles, his writing just presents information (we can't call them facts because, again, the experts disagree a lot) and then moves on to the next thing. Jacobs doesn't appear to be much in the mood for drawing conclusions or even analyzing the information he's presented. He just randomly picked something to research and try and then waited to see if there was any change.
Even as the book draws to a close, there is little in the way of revelation or even a sense of journey's end. It all just seems like he set a 2 year limit for when he would stop trying new things and when the time came up he just stopped.
Essentially, reading this book was similar to listening to a friend tell a long winded story that they didn't think through to realize that didn't have an ending for. They just kind of trail off and the listener and the storyteller wind up staring at each other in awkward silence wondering how to get out of the situation. This book was kind of like that. It was amusing at parts but ultimately awkward.
Letting the rest of the world go by
The book excels when the author is laughing at himself and when he gives the best lines to his wife or family. I did laugh out loud multiple times. He does jump around frequently from fad to fad and even with that there is some good random advice. Best advice of all, he mentions that he listens to NPR on his podcasts and he learned he could speed up the playback. After realizing I could speed up his narration, I immediately did and his reading performance was much better. He's a much better listen at one and half speed.
At least in regards to lowering stress and the laughing club for example, there is some redundancy with Jonathan Haidt's "The Happiness Hypothesis". I noticed when they cover the same topic, I much prefer Jonathan Haidt's book.
QUESTION : DOES LISTENING TO AUDIO BOOKS MAKE YOU SMARTER? If so, I'm. Freakin Genius!
Yes, I would listen to Drop Dead Healthy again. I already have. There is so much information, good information, in this book. I wouldn't feel like I got my moneys worth if I didn't.
The author is scared of "all things germ ". So, when one of his sons drops his ice cream cone on the ground, and then gets down on his knees and begins to lick up his ice cream straight from the floor. It is great to listen to the author 's reaction (he is horrified) . All the while his wife is cheering him on.
The author is also the narrator, so you can hear his dismay and his pride as he tells his story.
He makes his stories come to life. It is like a 3D movie, compared to a standard movie.
Read my headline.
This is the second book that I have read by A.J. Jacobs. It was his first book. I would recommend that book too.
I expected this book to be a guy who total immerses himself in the health and or fitness culture. What it was, was a guy trying to get into shape, at times he sought out expects or tried some crazy form of working out but basically, it was a book about a guy that walked on the treadmill and tried to eat right. Great premiss, terrible execution.
I would listen again because I love the humor of A.J. Jacobs and the way he checks out the literal interpretation of whatever he's writing about. Bless his wife.
I also listened to "The Year of Living Biblically" which is even funnier than this book. Jacobs can get into some real predicaments. And again, God bless his wife.
I laughed a lot while listening to this book -- it's great for traffic time.
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