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

3.75 of 5 stars 3.75  ·  rating details  ·  10,130 ratings  ·  1,479 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 ashamed of a middle-aged body best described as “a pyt
Hardcover, 402 pages
Published April 10th 2012 by Simon & Schuster (first published 2012)
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The Year of Living Biblically by A.J. JacobsThe Happiness Project by Gretchen RubinAnimal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara KingsolverEat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth GilbertJulie and Julia by Julie Powell
A Year in the Life
13th out of 138 books — 251 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 3,076 books — 9,405 voters

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Community Reviews

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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?


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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Another entry in the Jacobs formula: he'll breeze through a large number of activities, giving very superficial descriptions & background, making wisecracks, and recording his wife's reaction to everything.

The problem with this one is that ultimately, all his health interventions are lame. Tim Ferris may be a huckster, but at least in 4 Hour Body, he put himself out on the edge and wrote about interesting things which might make real differences if they panned out; while Jacobs recycles crun
Petra X
This whole genre of journalists deciding that they could make money from a series of really rather silly episodes is most amusing. A.J. Jacobs doesn't disappoint in this respect and even adds some vaguely interesting facts and things-we-ought-to-do. Unfortunately, amusing as it is, this genre also suffers from one major defect, all the books in it are entirely forgettable just as the journalists columns were. So I don't remember any tips to get healthy, stay healthy, be more beautiful and live l ...more
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
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
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
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
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
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
This is the second book by A.J. Jacobs that I've read, and it didn't disappoint. Jacobs is such a funny and clever writer that I chose "Drop Dead Healthy" to keep me company during a particularly stressful week of grad school.

In this book, Jacobs spends two years trying to be as healthy as he can. He tries new exercises, he experiments with different diets, he creates a "treadmill desk" so he can walk while he writes. He even went to a sleep clinic to try to fix his snoring. It's a fun look at t
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
I liked this book because the author doesn't take himself too seriously, is not a scientist and has no product or lifestyle to advocate, yet he finds a lot of useful advice in his 2 year quest for perfect health and shares it here with a grain of salt. His book is set up in short,easy to digest chapters which take each section of the body separately. No, he is not a doctor; that's what makes the book different from other get-healthy books. He is the editor of Esquire magazine and his writing is ...more
This was such a fun read. A.J. Jacobs is a funny dude. He writes well and always makes me laugh with his observations. And I love how he just GOES FOR IT when researching his subject matter. This time it is the health industry and his quest is to achieve perfect health. In order to do so he interviews the respected and the nutters. SO FUN. Read it.
Dec 06, 2014 Lorrie rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lorrie by: Judy
I definitely needed to read this book and was constantly reminded that a sedentary life is not good. The author even wrote the book while walking on his treadmill! Humor was sprinkled throughout the book which made it a light, interesting read while at the same time educational.
Great ,funny read. It's about a man's quest to be the healthiest person alive ,A.J.Jacobs started his project health to reach his goal as being the healthiest man alive ,the ironic part that he found out that he is so far from perfect but tried many diets ,exercises and products till he was more healthier than before ,sometimes he takes things to the extreme ,trying to find a balance.i liked the idea of taking care of your body for the sake of your future self .
Luved the idea of chewdism as well
This book is certainly amusing and entertaining, although perhaps not a good guide for attaining "bodily perfection." I did find it subtly nudging me toward being more active (though I doubt I will fit a treadmill desk in my tiny apartment, it did encourage me to walk the ten flights of steps up to said apartment instead of taking the elevator all the time). The appendix has some sane and reasonable tips for being more active, eating less, and avoiding potentially harmful chemicals.

Jacobs did co
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
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
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
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
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
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Mrs. Eriksson's S...: Drop Dead Healthy 2 3 Jul 28, 2014 08:23PM  
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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 about A.J. Jacobs...

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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” 9 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.” 8 likes
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