Book Review-Drop, Dead Healthy

Drop, Dead Healthy: One Man’s Humble Quest for Bodily Perfection A.J. Jacobs


Years ago when I read My Year of Living Biblically with a book group at church, I loved the book. I loved the humor he brought to the task of attempting to follow every single rule, commandment, and suggestion in the Bible. Everything was so difficult for him to accomplish that it was funny. I was excited to discover this audio book to accompany me on my long travels.

I was disappointed in this book. The audio book is 11 hours long! When he got to month 12 and I still had many CDs to go, I wondered what was coming next. He did not feel he could complete the challenge in only 12 months and so he extended it to two years and then even longer.

While the Bible has many rules for him to follow, the sky felt like the limit with his quest for health. He kept coming up with more and more body parts and organs to try to improve. I wanted him to have a goal (not as lofty as bodily perfection) that he was going to spend 12 months trying to achieve. Every time he visited a doctor, specialist, or expert, he was left with many more healthy habits to explore.

I appreciated that he did seek out various experts in each challenge. For example, in Chapter 5, The Immune System: The Quest to Conquer Germs, he met with someone who is trying to eliminate all germs (extensive hand washing, etc) and a woman who only washes her hands when they are dirty. In the Prologue, he said, “Only by exploring the limits can you find the healthy middle ground.” And this seemed to be his point. He would attempt almost anything to try it. He was open to any “expert” who had health advice. I was overwhelmed by all the facts presented and challenges attempted.

I did appreciate learning that Protestant ministers live longer than Catholic priests. After sharing the results of a study about this, he did go on to talk about the difference between causation and correlation which led me to believe that I shouldn’t bank on living longer just because I am a Protestant minister.

He tells a story about how excited he was when he learned to listen to podcasts at double speed. I think this is a great idea. I might have enjoyed this book more if I had listened to it at double speed.

Let me sum it all up for you. It all boils down to three things. Eat less! Move more! Relax!

My recommendation for anyone who wants to read a book by A. J. Jacobs  is that you read My Year of Living Biblically.

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