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

3.74 of 5 stars 3.74  ·  rating details  ·  8,422 ratings  ·  1,349 reviews
 From the bestselling author of The Year of Living Biblically and The Know-It-All comes the true and truly hilarious story of one person’s quest to become the healthiest man in the world.

Hospitalized with a freak case of tropical pneumonia, goaded by his wife telling him, “I don’t want to be a widow at forty-five,” and asha...more
Hardcover, 402 pages
Published April 10th 2012 by Simon & Schuster (first published 2012)
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The Happiness Project by Gretchen RubinThe Year of Living Biblically by A.J. JacobsAnimal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara KingsolverEat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth GilbertThe Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
A Year in the Life
12th out of 127 books — 217 voters
The Fault in Our Stars by John GreenInsurgent by Veronica RothGone Girl by Gillian FlynnCity of Lost Souls by Cassandra ClarePandemonium by Lauren Oliver
Best Books of 2012
340th out of 3,003 books — 9,223 voters


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Community Reviews

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Melki
Coffee is bad for you.

No, now they're saying it's good for you.

Well, how can avocados be good for you? They're full of fat.

Yes, but it's the good kind of fat.

There's a good kind of fat?

AAAAaAAAAAaaaaaAAA!!!


You can drive yourself nuts trying to figure out what is good for you and what is unhealthy. (Last time I checked, being nuts was definitely UNhealthy.)

Luckily, A.J. Jacobs is around to investigate, using his own body as his guinea pig, and give you the skinny on being healthy. (And, yes, bein...more
Alice
Now, this is a writer with whom I can sit down and drink organic smoothies. I consider myself a bit of a closet health nut -- I say closet health nut, because you might not be able to tell by the size of my thighs that I am much of a health nut at all. But A.J.'s humble quest to become the strongest, most virile hunk of masculine flesh alive is one that I'd empathize with. At the very least, I can read his book and feel justified in his inevitable conclusion that THIS is the reason why one shoul...more
Lena
This book is the latest stunt memoir by AJ Jacobs, the man who previously worked on his mind by reading the encyclopedia and his spirit by living according to the Bible. Now it's time for the body, and Jacobs spent two years focusing on how to be healthier in all areas from his teeth to his toes.

When it comes to matters of health, everyone has an opinion, and they usually contradict each other. Jacobs does a decent job of providing a balanced look at many of his subjects, including whatever actu...more
Peter
After this book I rate AJ Jacobs as one of my favourite authors. The book contains enough facts to make it a credible read. However, it is his OCD that adds the humour to his readers (but not necessary to his long suffering family). Well worth a read.
Megan Henrich
Reading this book made me realize how paranoid I really am, because, as I was reading it, the author kept talking about how much he was freaking out his family members with the drastic things he was doing, and I just kept thinking "Well, that's reasonable." In fact, the book might have made me MORE paranoid for a little while, just because I realized all of the things that I hadn't considered. Unlike Jacobs, I do read The Cat in the Hat to my son, but I do think the Cat could make a pretty infam...more
Mediaman
A.J. Jacobs is getting tired and flabby--and I'm talking about his book writing, not his physical condition. He has done the same gimmick for a number of books now, where he transforms his life by giving his all to a specific subject, and it's just not that interesting any more. It lacks creativity and proves him to be somewhat dim-witted.

In this case he tries to follow all the advice books, diets and research on health. The problem is that there are thousands to choose from and many of them are...more
Heather
For "The Know-It-All," A.J. Jacobs read the entire Encyclopedia Britannica. For "The Year of Living Biblically," he attempted to follow every rule in the Bible for a year. For "The Guinea Pig Diaries," he did a whole bunch of crazy stuff, including practice Radical Honesty and attend the Academy Awards disguised as a movie star. Now, in "Drop Dead Healthy," he chronicles his latest endeavor: trying to become the healthiest person alive. Basically, this means doing a ton of research and meeting w...more
Arminius
After listening to A.J. Jacobs talking about his book “Drop Dead Healthy” on the Doctor’s show on Sirius radio I thought to myself I need to read this. Mr. Jacobs tries many different fitness exercises and nutritional trends attempting to find out what works and what doesn’t.

I like how he systematically looks at each part of the body and then seeks the corresponding expert to tell him how to make it better.

I do not think he adds a significant amount of unfamiliar information about fitness howe...more
Jennifer Rayment
The Good Stuff

I think this is my favorite non-fiction books this year
Author is self deprecating and you know I adore that in a writer
Truly fascinating, unique and positively hilarious
Touched by his obvious love for his wife and children and the appreciation he has for them putting up with all his shenanigans
I need to read all the rest of his books now
Has a "Super Size Me" feel to it
He is a master at transitioning from one topic to the next - very impressive!
Classy and tactful
I have nev...more
Elliot Ratzman
Oh, AJ Jacobs—how I love reading your books! Let me consider the ways. First, they are chock-full of interesting facts, studies and expert opinion. In this one, he consults health professionals, eccentrics and innovative (or quack) practitioners that help him explore the world of the body, its enemies and its allies—from creating a treadmill desk, working out like a caveman to exploring raw food diets. Second, Jacobs is clever and laugh-out-loud funny. His intelligence and self-deprecation alway...more
Jerzy
As with Jacobs' other books, there is a breadth of laughs and aha moments, and less so on the depth. You won't learn the full ins and outs of every health fad, but it's good entertainment, and at least this book comes with appendices summarizing the health tips he really thought were worth keeping.

The sections with his grandfather are touching, and Jacobs' sons are friggin' adorable. Their logic puzzles are great:
The trick is, instead of offering three or four items, Lucas gives only two options
...more
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
I like to rate books the way I rate food; books and food can be (1) delicious and (2) nutritious. Some books, like chick lit and mysteries, are mostly just delicious. Some books, like history books, are mostly just nutritious.

A. J. Jacobs’ books are a little of both. Yummy and good-for-you.

Especially this book. Drop Dead Healthy, like all of Jacobs’ books, is the story of Jacobs attempting to challenge himself to do something very difficult. This time Jacobs takes on the challenge of becoming v...more
Crystal
Entertaining Brysonesque read. Originally, I wrote that this "isn't a book that you read to learn a lot about being healthy. It's not loaded with facts and studies but is nonetheless informative and reminds you to consider that there are many facets to healthful living despite how narrowly we focus on diet and exercise." However, as I read through my highlighted passages, it is in fact loaded with important facts. It's written in a light Bryson, humorous style that doesn't make it feel like a we...more
Judy
Dear A.J. Jacobs. I just love the fact that you are willing to devote years of your life for my education and amusement. Your "One Man's Humble Quest" series is a delight of the first order. I've talked about your first two books in the series, "The Know-It-All" and "The Year of Living Biblically" until my friends have asked me to stop. But "Drop Dead Healthy" is going to get that conversation going again. An excellent job. Congratulations. For those that I won't be seeing in the next few days--...more
Lisa
Best selling author, A.J. Jacobs writes about his attempts to adapt to life styles in a humorous way. You may remember The Year of Living Biblically, The Know-It-All, and My Life As an Experiment.

In this book he strives to become the healthiest man in the world by consulting experts and their advice and incorporating his funny version of that advice into his life.

In each of the first 26 chapters he focuses on one part of the body and searches for ways one could incorporate actions to perfect tha...more
Angie
May 23, 2012 Angie added it
This is a fun, shallow read on Jacob's attempt to become the healthiest man possible. If you keep up with health news, there isn't anything really new or noteworthy in this book. As a means of organizing, Jacob's tackles one body system or organ per chapter which is effective, but sort of forced and some of his transitions seem artificial/corny as a result. However, his voice is entertaining and engaging, he achieved some measurable results, and he offers some practical and up-to-date health adv...more
Amy T-D
Enjoyed listening to tbis book on CD while in the car. The author is an 'experiential' journalist who spent 2 years trying to be THE most healthiest man alive. He quoted a ton of epidemiology studies and I think he mostly did a very good job. Wasnt a fan of his praise of Gary Taubes, but I agreed with most of the rest of his conclusions. I especially liked his approach of trying (most) everything, including extremes, knowing that the best choice was somewhere in the middle. His general plan was...more
Derek
A.J. Jacobs must have a very good strategy when he proposes his writing projects to his wife. Drop Dead Healthy, his newest book, is perhaps his most ambitious yet: a plan to spend two years systematically trying to become the healthiest man alive. As with Jacobs' previous efforts in reading the Encyclopedia Brittanica in a year and following every commandment in the Bible over a year, Jacobs acknowledges the ridiculousness inherent in his project as he embarks, establishing the parameters as he...more
Erica
Oh how I wish I had the desire and motivation to do something like this - learn all about healthiness and then do something with that knowledge. But, I don't so I read about someone else doing it, instead.

As usual, Mr. Jacobs is delightful and sometimes irritating in his quest to learn all about a topic, health in this case. I again found myself adoring his wife, Julie, even if she IS a gym nut (I don't understand the lure) I also realized the problem with reading too much about another person's...more
Karen
I enjoyed this in its audio book version, but I might wind up picking up a paperback so I can reference it later. I'm always thinking about how to improve my diet and exercise habits, but this book helped me to think more holistically about my approach.

I think AJ is at his best when he's not just funny, but also able to demonstrate his earnest desire to turn his latest stunt into an opportunity for personal development. As AJ tries to become the Healthiest Human on the Planet (or whatever he ca...more
Leah Hortin
I'm actually surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. I can't really relate to a middle-aged father in New York City but Jacobs was funny and witty and kept things light but interesting. He never came close to coming off as an expert and always seemed to look at both sides of the coin which I can really appreciate. I get how he works - go from your typical, sedentary American, dive right into a 2-year long quest to get healthy and try a huge variety things, then settle into a nice balance that...more
Emilyn
After contracting tropical pneumonia on a family vacation to the Dominican Republic and getting a taste of his own mortality, author A.J. Jacobs decides to go on a two year quest to become the healthiest man alive. Jacobs decides to go about this by tackling one body part per month. He starts with the stomach and finishes up with the skull. Along the way, he focuses on everything from the adrenal gland (lower his stress levels) to the skin to the hands. Throughout the book, Jacobs shares interes...more
Kelly Hager
This is Jacobs' fourth quirky memoir. In this one, he decides to become the world's healthiest man by focusing on different aspects of his body and improving them. Obviously he changes his diet and exercise habits (as in, he begins to exercise) but he also does things like use moisturizer and apply sunscreen, have sex more often, and change what he uses to clean his home and laundry (there are many, many more changes). He tries several different diets and, best of all for my purposes, learns tha...more
Alaina
I had previously read this author's book, Year of Living Biblically, and liked it. I saw this new one was out and given my own recent quest for a healthier me, decided to give it a read. I think this book was great and well worth the read. Similar to his other books, Jacobs goes on a quest. This time he decides to become the healthiest man on Earth. He obviously does not become the healthiest, but does become healthier. He tried multiple diets, all fitness regimes, interviewed experts and makes...more
Missy
The same author wrote the book "A Year of Living Biblically", which I also want to read. This one is about the two years he spent researching the best ways to maintain optimal health by trying the various suggestions in the health-minded world. As you can imagine there were several "correct" ways to choose from and many of them contradictory. He isn't a fitness buff, by any means, so this is written so the average person can relate. The chapters are divided into whichever body part or function h...more
Cameron
I wish I could be the type of writer that A.J. Jacobs is. Not for his effortless ways of documenting experiments through life experiences, but for his ability to earn an advance from his publishers to live out whatever experiment he so chooses. The issue of his book advance definitely comes into play in Drop Dead Healthy as Jacobs mentions spending that advance to go through speciality exercises regimes and intensive cleanses and extreme diets. The need that Jacobs feels to outline the constant...more
Morgan Bridge
The great thing about this book was that a lot of the things I learned I can actually apply to my life and they were understandable. Yes, I will start walking more because we are not made to sit as long as we do. Maybe I will start thinking about what I'm eating (big maybe), but I will definitely start eating smaller portions (we eat too dang much). Jacobs does a superb job of explaining in a non-textbook way how to be healthy and gives you so many options that allows you to determine what would...more
Diane
I'm very fond of A.J. Jacobs and his quirky quests, in which he is usually a guinea pig for something more or less relevant to life in today's world. This time around, he is seeking perfect health of mind and body, hoping to turn his middle-aged lethargic flab into something that will take him into a healthy old age like his grandfather. The fun part of the book comes from his descriptions of the oddest things he tries and his self-skepticism. The relevant part comes from the fact that we all do...more
Susan
I finished in about 24 hours of reading. A very easy and entertaining read!

Short synopsis: Basically this guy goes on a 2-year quest to become the “healthiest man in the world.” While he doesn’t exactly reach the impossible, he does an exhausting amount of research and figures out for himself what he felt made him a healthier person, even if it required experimenting with awkward gym classes (read: pole dancing), juice cleanses, and uncomfortable medical procedures.

I highly recommend this as a...more
Clay Nichols
This is a generous 5. More like a 4.5.

I laughed out loud about a dozen times while reading this book, snorting at at AJ's antics as he tries to cram every popular heath and nutrition fad into a single year. Some of the laughs came a result of self-regonition, some at the absurdity of all attempts to achieve everlasting youth.

The character he creates for his wife is the perfect foil and stand-in for the reader, groaning tolerantly at the earnest and dedicated silliness this guy is capable of.

If y...more
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A.J. Jacobs is a New York Times bestselling author, Esquire editor and human guinea pig.

Among Jacobs’ life experiments:
--The Know-It-All. The bestselling memoir of the year he spent reading the entire Encyclopedia Britannica in a quest to become the smartest person in the world.
--The Year of Living Biblically. The bestseller about his life as the ultimate biblical man. He followed every rule of th...more
More about A.J. Jacobs...
The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible The Know-It-All: One Man's Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World The Guinea Pig Diaries: My Life as an Experiment Fractured Fairy Tales Esquire Presents: What It Feels Like

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“A 2002 Oxford study showed counting sheep actually delays the onset of sleep. It's just too dull to stop us from worrying about jobs and spouses” 7 likes
“The key to making healthy decisions is to respect your future self. Honor him or her. Treat him or her like you would treat a friend or a loved one.” 6 likes
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