Thursday, July 12, 2012

Book Review: Drop Dead Healthy by A.J. Jacobs

This is a guest review from my daughter, Carrie (formerly known as Daughter #1), who blogs at Fitness and Frozen Grapes.

College students live for summer vacation—at least the ones I know—and once finals finish up and warm weather rolls around, these budding academics can read whatever they want.  Don’t get me wrong; I love reading about rhetorical analysis and composition theory as much as the next Writing and Rhetoric major—OK, maybe more—but it’s nice to treat the noggin to some fun reading.  Drop Dead Healthy by A.J. Jacobs has been on my reading list since it was published in April, but I knew between my Honors project and graduation preparation I wouldn’t get around to it until the summer.

Brief Summary (from amazon):

 “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 python that swallowed a goat,’ A.J. Jacobs felt compelled to change his ways and get healthy.  And he didn’t want only to lose weight, or finish a triathlon, or lower his cholesterol.  His ambitions were far greater:  maximal health from head to toe.

“The task was epic.  He consulted an army of experts— sleep consultants and sex clinicians, nutritionists and dermatologists.  He subjected himself to dozens of different workouts—from Strollercize classes to Finger Fitness sessions, from bouldering with cavemen to a treadmill desk.  And he took in a cartload of diets: raw foods, veganism, high protein, calorie restriction, extreme chewing, and dozens more.  He bought gadgets and helmets, earphones and juicers.  He poked and he pinched.  He counted and he measured.

“The story of his transformation is not only brilliantly entertaining, but it just may be the healthiest book ever written.  It will make you laugh until your sides split and endorphins flood your bloodstream.  It will alter the contours of your brain, imprinting you with better habits of hygiene and diet.  It will move you emotionally and get you moving physically in surprising ways.  And it will give you occasion to reflect on the body’s many mysteries and the ultimate pursuit of health:  a well-lived life.”


Product Details
Publisher:  Simon & Schuster
Publication date:  4/10/2012
Pages:  402



My Review

Overall, Drop Dead Healthy was an easy and entertaining read, great for a fitness and healthy living fiend (like me!).  Not only did Jacobs employ a conversational tone, which helped him relay information in a lighthearted away, but he also let his voice and personality take center stage—there were several lines that had me laughing aloud!

In recent years, the demand and desire for healthy living has increased, and Jacobs becomes completely immersed in this trend.  As a journalist and writer, I was happy to see that he conducted extensive legwork—he referenced reputable books, interviewed appropriate individuals, and cited relevant studies.  There is so much data out there—and some studies and schools of thought contradict each other—and Jacobs did an excellent job of summarizing each side (when needed) and applying the information to common daily routines.

However, I would’ve liked Jacobs to delve further into his daily eats and sweat sessions.  Even though he included a “monthly checkup” at the end of each chapter, it would’ve been nice to see an itemized daily meal plan and workout schedule.  Also, as a buddy triathlete, I wanted to read more about Jacobs’ training, finishing times, and overall experience.  Yes, the book can only be so long, but I think these would’ve been worthwhile inclusions.  If you’re into working out, eating nutritiously, and living a healthy lifestyle, you will enjoy this book.  This memoir doesn’t attempt to share groundbreaking information—it’s all about Jacobs’ journey.

Carrie is hosting a giveaway of Drop Dead Healthy on her blog - click here for details.

12 comments:

  1. Hey JoAnn's daughter Carrie! Enjoyed your review of this book and I've been thinking about reading it. Wonder how it would work in audio? Love the title of your blog and I'll take a look around there too. It might be just the thing for this 54-year-old to get inspiration in my own quest for fitness.

    JoAnn, thanks for sharing Carrie (aka Daughter #1) with us!

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    1. Kay - Thanks! She is inspiring me, too, and I need all the help I can get! I'm hoping to begin a "No Boundaries" program in the fall. It's like a couch to 5K with a goal race as the graduation. We'll see...

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  2. Great review Carrie! I have this downloaded on my iPod and will be listening to it soon. I definitely have attitudes towards fitness that work for me, but I'll be interested in what he has researched!

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    1. Sandy - I am so impressed with your fitness journey, too ...you are such an inspiration! I'll be curious to hear what you think of the audio.

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  3. Welcome Carrie!! I loved your thoughts on this one and I do think those added bits would be great for someone like me reading it so that I could see what he actually did on a daily basis!

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    1. Staci - I have to take a closer look at this one. It seems we are all on a fitness journey these days - tips and inspiration are always welcome!

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  4. JoAnn, your daughter is adorable and talented! I checked out her blog and will be going back there!

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    1. Thanks, Jill. I'm so glad she decided to start a blog and chronicle her fitness adventures while she searches for her first 'big girl' job. We're very proud of her.

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  5. Thanks Carrie and JoAnn. I am actually listening to the audio version right now and enjoying it -- quirky but interesting as well.

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    1. Diane - Hmm, a couple of you have mentioned the audio now. I'll have to think about that... I like the Jacobs reads it himself

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  6. This sounds really interesting. I like the idea of someone exploring all of the options, fads, and theories out there and giving their first-hand knowledge. Thanks, Carrie, for bringing this to my attention!

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  7. Thanks for the guest review Carrie. I like the sound of this one and its conversational tone. There is so much information out there on diets and fitness that it is overwhelming. Obviously this is just one guy's take on it but still sounds like one to read.

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Thank you for taking the time to comment. These conversations are my favorite part of blogging. Please check back, I almost always respond to comments!

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