Thursday, May 10, 2012

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

DDHDrop Dead Healthy: One Man’s Humble Quest for Bodily Perfection A.J. Jacobs
Published: May 1, 2012
ISBN-10: 0434020109
Genre: Health
Source: Personal Copy/Kindle
Recommended for readers who want a broad survey of current health issues

A.J. Jacobs is a journalist who is probably best known for spending a year living every rule of the Bible (yes, even stoning women).  He has also spent a year trying to learn everything in The Know-it-All (which I have not read).  This time, he has decided to become the healthiest person alive by trying everything health-related, from a Paleo “Cave Man” workout in Central Park, to eye exercise to, yes, having sex more often.

I’m torn on A.J. Jacobs.  On one hand, I really like his writing style—it’s funny without being slapstick and informative without being preachy.  On the other hand, I’m not entirely sure his approach of making himself a guinea pig is successful.  The biggest problem, I believe, is his scope is far too large to really to do whatever subject he is working on justice.  In The Year of Living Biblically, for example, his goal was to live every rule of the Bible—the whole Bible.  Here’s the problem, once you get to the New Testament, the only new rules are to love God and to love your neighbor.  Needless to say, that book fell flat once he hit the Gospels.  (However, had he not gone into the New Testament, he would not have gone to Liberty University with is “slave”, Kevin Roose.  Kevin Roose, in turn, would not then have decided to spend a “cultural exchange” at Liberty University, resulting in his truly excellent book, The Unlikely DiscipleSo, I guess it wasn’t that much of a waste after all.)

Sadly, Drop Dead Healthy tends to fall into the same trap.  For this book, he spent over 2 years working on himself, instead of his customary 1 year.  The result is an example of “jack of all trades and master of none” work.  If you are looking for specific recommendations, just skip to the appendices at the end of the book.  However, if you are willing to meander through the world of healthy living, then you may find the rest of the book interesting.

There were aspects of this book that I did enjoy—as I’ve said, he has a very readable style.  I also enjoyed the stories of his elderly grandfather and health-obsessed aunt, that weave through the book.  However, I never felt like I could really dig into this book.  There was just too much.  I would have rather he had chosen to write a book on just the best nutrition or just the best workouts or whatever.  Still, though, Jacobs has convinced me that it is, in fact, a matter of life and death when it comes to lowering the toilet seat lid before flushing…

I was not solicited for this review and have received no compensation.  All opinions are mine alone.

Affiliate link: Purchase this book from Amazon.

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