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Drop Dead Healthy: One Man's Humble Quest for Bodily Perfection Kindle Edition

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Length: 420 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews Review

Amazon Best Books of the Month, April 2012: You may know A.J. Jacobs as the man who attempted to read the Encyclopedia Britannica from cover-to-cover. Or you may have been introduced to him when he spent a year trying to follow the Bible as literally as possible. He returns once again with another seemingly impossible task--that of becoming the healthiest man alive. As with his earlier books, Jacobs brings his quick wit, self-deprecating humor, and journalistic eye to the experiment. He leaves no health stone unturned: from literally running his errands and wearing noise-cancelling headphones for hours a day to rigging a desk that he can work at while walking on the treadmill (there are instructions at the end for those interested), Jacobs chronicles the good, bad, and ugly of trying to attain "perfect" health. Jacobs's writing is breezy, informational, and entertaining, and he manages to achieve the near impossible--discussing issues of health without sounding preachy. --Caley Anderson


"A.J. Jacobs is very, very bad for your health. He will keep you up reading til 2 a.m., disturbing your circadian rhythms, making you sleep through breakfast and overeat at lunch. He is delicious. He's habit-forming. He will give you infectious titters and terminal glee. Don't let that stop you. Indulge."—Mary Roach, author of Bonk and Packing for Mars

“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, host, "The Dr. Oz Show"

“I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this book, and once again, the brilliant A.J. Jacobs had me laughing out loud—and also deciding to change the way I live. Drop Dead Healthy is a rare mixture of the hilarious, the absurd, and the scientifically sound. Who knew it could be so entertaining to read about broccoli puree and shoeless jogging?”—Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project

"Can one man go from a 'python that ate a goat' physique to perfect specimen? From Roman soldier workouts to Areca palm plants, from the sublime to the absurd, A.J. 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, A.J. Jacobs sets himself an ambitious goal: to become the person we all wish we could be. It's vintage A.J. Do your future self a favor and read this book." —Joshua Foer, author of Moonwalking with Einstein

"You'll burn calories laughing out loud."Shape

“While Jacobs’s attempts at health enlightenment can be hilarious, visits with his grandfather, famed labor lawyer Theodore Kheel, provide the most revealing glimpse into the secrets of aging well.”More

"Jacobs' light touch camouflages the impressive amount of research that goes into each chapter. He reads books and medical reports, interviews experts and scientists as well as enthusiasts on the fringe, then tries everything himself. He brings a skeptic's eye to each point of view, but he remains respectful of even the wackiest ideas... Yes, the results are funny, but this is, at heart, a serious book, with an underlying poignancy: As Jacobs works to get healthier, his beloved grandfather begins his slow decline, reminding us that no matter how healthy we are, it's all going to end the same way."—Laurie Hertzl, The Minneapolis Star Tribune

"You'll exercise your abdominals laughing over his adventures."Entertainment Weekly

“Why go to the gym when you can sit and read a funny book about it instead?”USA Today

"Bright, funny and even useful... Jacobs is methodical and savvy..."—Janet Maslin, The New York Times

"An entertaining guide to the skinny on a healthy life."—Jay Jennings, The San Francisco Chronicle

“His pursuit of perky pecs is sure to enlighten, but read it at your own risk: Side effects may include involuntary fits of laughter.” —Spirit (Southwest Airlines Magazine)

“You’ll learn fascinating facts, but really this book is a testament to the joys—and benefits—of moderation."People

Product Details

  • File Size: 21748 KB
  • Print Length: 420 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (April 10, 2012)
  • Publication Date: April 10, 2012
  • Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005GG0N3M
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #202,233 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

A.J. Jacobs is the editor of What It Feels Like and the author of The Two Kings: Jesus and Elvis and America Off-Line. He is the senior editor of Esquire and has written for The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, Glamour, New York magazine, New York Observer, and other publications.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

171 of 187 people found the following review helpful By takingadayoff TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 5, 2012
Format: Paperback
Magazine writer A.J. Jacobs calls it "experiential journalism." He takes on seemingly ridiculous, yet intriguing, challenges. He reads the entire Encyclopedia Britannica. He lives the Bible, even the apparently trivial parts, such as not shaving your face. He outsources his life to a team of personal assistants in India.

He learns along the way and shares his discoveries. It's very entertaining. Jacobs has an easygoing and, for someone who writes almost exclusively in first person, surprisingly non-egotistical style. He works hard at his projects, preparing ahead, and doing research throughout. He's a real pro at being an amateur.

In his latest undertaking, he attempts to become healthy. This is more difficult than it sounds. He plans to go from slightly overweight and out of shape to heroic fitness. And that's not all. He also intends to improve the condition of all of his body parts: skin, nose, hands, etc. All this in two years!

One of the first roadblocks he runs into is the sheer volume of information and theories on how to be fit. The second obstacle is that much of the information is contradictory. There is no agreed upon, guaranteed path to health. Even trusted experts don't agree with one another.

But the main impediment to super health is self control. No surprise there. Jacobs manages to overcome the problem with a variety of methods. When he has trouble giving up a favorite snack, he writes a large check to the American Nazi Party and vows to mail it next time he gives in to temptation. He finds this kind of negative motivation very powerful.
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248 of 279 people found the following review helpful By Caraculiambro on May 5, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm probably Jacobs' biggest fan. I have all of this books and have read, I think, all of his articles. With nearly every other author, I am loth to paid extra money for hardback and will simply wait until the book comes out in paperback. With Jacobs, however, I will immediately pre-order through Amazon as soon as I hear that he's about to publish a new book.

However, I think I've turned a corner with Jacobs and am starting to tire of his approach.

This book, while it was interesting and a page-turner, is something I would never read again.

Basically, Jacobs tries to be as healthy as possible for two years, trying out various philosophies and strictures of the health movement.

Although this "I did something kooky for a while and now I'm writing a popular book about it"-approach worked with the Bible thing, the George Washington thing, the cognitive biases thing, etc., it doesn't work so well with this material.

In short, I guess I was disappointed with this book and am starting to run out of patience with Jacobs. I accuse him of not treating his material fairly (at least here) and not taking his material seriously.

This project should have taken him 5 years, but instead he rushed through it in just two. Unlike Jacob's previous outings, you get the feeling on nearly every page that his real goal was to write and sell a book, not seriously explore the different philosophies, which is what really interests the reader.

Specifically, a lot of the health, diet, and wellness approaches required more than a friggin' afternoon to really take on board! I'm sure that the proponents of these various approaches -- almost to a man -- are probably frustrated with the book and feel that Jacobs sold them short.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Jiang Xueqin on November 25, 2012
Format: Paperback
Some of the details that AJ Jacobs presents in his first-person study of a hypochondriac's guide to staying healthy are funny and delightful. An example is how if people don't like germs they also don't like foreigners:

"[Two scientists] argue that the more obsessed you are with germs, the more politically conservative you become...They conducted an experiment in which they asked subjects about their 'moral, social and fiscal' attitudes. 'Merely standing near a hand-sanitizing dispenser led people to report more conservative political beliefs,' they write. 'Apparently, the slightest signal that germs might be present is enough to shift political attitudes toward the right.'"

That is funny, and interesting. But the majority of the tidbits and trivia that AJ Jacobs present are not. In fact, a lot of the activities that AJ Jacob engages or researches for this book seem very fringe, and we soon get the distinct sense that a lot of the health fads out there are merely a manifestation of people's psychological disorders. Before it was hip to do drugs, get into indie punk music, or be an anorexic if you were psychologically troubled -- nowadays, it's hip to be a vegan, run triathlons, and just outright starve yourself.

I'm reading this book simply because I really enjoyed AJ Jacobs' "The Know-It-All," which I found cute and endearing. "Drop Dead Healthy" is just plain annoying. In "The Know-It-All," AJ Jacobs had a self-deprecating humorous tone -- in this book, he can be outright condescending. In "The Know-It-All" we learn how perfect his wife is, and we can appreciate how lucky he is to have found his soulmate. But in "Drop Dead Healthy" we're introduced to his perfect kids and perfect grandfather and perfect aunt and it's all a bit too much to take.
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