Monday, January 23, 2012

'Drop Dead Healthy'

I've been a fan of A. J. Jacobs ever since I read his first book, 'The Know-It-All', his one-year expedition into the Encyclopedia Brittanica.  It was funny, interesting, and I learned quite a bit.  His next book, 'The Year of Living Biblically', is another one-year journey into living every rule in the Bible...literally.  Although his beard was rather unsettling (I pitied his wife), I learned a lot from that book, also.  And then came 'My Life as an Experiment', yet another year-long attempt to improve his life in many ways.  The internet dating episode was very, very funny.

'Drop Dead Healthy' is his newest book, and, as with the previous three, this one was very enlightening.  It is his year-long quest to improve his health, from every aspect, every organ, every method.  He covers diets, running, holistic medicine, vegetarianism, sex, sleep, the brain, appendages (the chapter on hands is remarkable).  You name it, he tries it.  Not only does he shed pounds (his concave chest must be thanking him), but he learns to respect his body and mind.

I feel sorry for his wife, Julie.  She and their children had to live with the insanity.  But the end result was a husband and father who not only became fit and more aware of his body, he grew more sensitive to the world around him.  The passages regarding his grandfather were especially heartwarming.

Mr. Jacobs opened my eyes to our nation's health controversies and the ways we can prevent many a medical catastrophe.  We need to practice preventive care, eat right, exercise (his use of the treadmill while using his laptop computer made a huge difference in his well-being), and become more focused on our bodies, minds, and spirits.

But I still feel sorry for Julie...

'Drop Dead Healthy' will be released by Simon & Schuster in April 2012.  A. J. Jacobs is an editor-at-large for Esquire magazine, and a contributor to NPR.

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