Hey everyone! I hope you are having a relaxing evening. I just finished cooking dinner (a delicious new Asian recipe to come tomorrow!) and now I’m watching the Olympic Swimming Trials on the couch. I figured this is the perfect time to finally write the Drop Dead Healthy book review as part of Julie’s book club. I really enjoyed this book and have already recommended it to a ton of my friends, so even if you don’t normally read my book reviews you should read this one!
Drop Dead Healthy follows the popular writer A. J. Jacobs on his mission to become the world’s healthiest man. As a writer for Esquire, Jacobs is no rookie at documenting crazy journeys like this one. He first began writing these types of books when he tried to become the world’s smartest man by reading an entire set of encyclopedias. He then moved on to attempt becoming the world’s most biblical man by trying to live his life completely by the bible. This time around, Jacobs aimed to be the world’s healthiest man by dedicating a chapter of his book to each body part and trying to make it as healthy as possible. Jacobs focuses on the normal aspects of a healthy lifestyle, like being more active and maintaining a balanced diet, however he also spends time talking about your ears, eyes, skin, fingers, etc. He interviews A-list doctors and world-renowned health experts on their opinions on how to be extraordinarily healthy. He tries out crazy fads like juice cleanses and caveman workouts and provides his own down-to-earth perspective on each.
Jacobs’ sense of humor makes this book a fun read, and he does a great job at taking all of the advice he receives with a grain of salt, so to speak. He often interviews experts with conflicting opinions (i.e. a germaphobe and a germ-embracer) and whittles it all down into advice you could actually follow. His dedication to the project is admirable and Jacobs is not afraid to try any healthy activity, no matter how crazy it might sound. By the end of the book, Jacobs provides an overview of the most important things he has learned through his journey and highlights the activities he plans to maintain in the long run.
As a person who generally is fascinated by health and is always striving to be as healthy as possible, I found this book very interesting. I was actually shocked by how many unhealthy habits I have that I didn’t even realize. This book definitely made me think twice about wiping the counter down with a sponge or letting my dog sleep on my pillow. It’s filled with a ton of random interesting health tidbits that I never would have known otherwise.
This is definitely one of those books that I couldn’t stop talking about to my friends and family. “Did you know that dolphins sleep with half of their brain awake while the other half sleeps,” I’d say to anyone who would listen, “that way they can come up for air even while they’re sleeping!” These kind of comments would pop out of my mouth at random and I’m sure I drove everyone nuts, but I enjoyed it. I really loved learning so much about the human race and how our bodies have adapted through evolution. It was all really fascinating to me.
Although I learned a lot from this book, some chapters were definitely more interesting than others (finger exercises? Come on…) and I felt like all of the most important ideas were summarized in a bulleted list at the end. After reading that list I kind of thought ok, now why did I just read that whole book? But it was still a fun and interesting read. As I mentioned above, I have already begged a bunch of my friends who are interested in their health to read this book, so I totally think it was worth reading.
Overall the big takeaways that I got from the book were:
- Humans were built to walk. Sitting around on your butt all day is horrible for your body, and you can’t counteract it just by exercising for an hour. Walk as much as you can, each and every day. Wear a pedometer to help remind you to keep moving.
- Germs are a serious thing and they are everywhere. Wash your hands with soap and warm water more frequently than you think you need to and always be careful not to touch high-traffic areas like light switches in hotels and doorknobs in the bathroom. And always wash your hands after holding the handrail on the subway. Yuck.
- Don’t be afraid of the doctor. I know personally, my health insurance card that I use to pay for things like medications and copayments for doctors’ offices just changed and I have been too lazy to look into the new card and set everything up. This is going to change ASAP and I’m going to schedule appointments with the dermatologist, the dentist, and a regular physician. I need to suck it up and go. Period. It’s stupid to ignore my health for such a minor issue.
Anyway, those are the big takeways I got from the book, but there were a ton of other interesting tips and pieces of advice in there. It was a great read for sure!
So tell me, if you read the book, what was your biggest takeaway? What habits will you change after reading this book? What did you find most interesting? Will you ever make a never-ending to-do list like Jacobs did to remember everything you’re supposed to be doing?