Rod’s Non-Fiction Pick:
(Simon & Schuster, 2012)
A.J. Jacobs has built a career out of being a Guinea pig. In his first book, The Know-It-All, Jacobs read the entire 33,000 pages of the Encyclopedia Britannica from cover-to-cover in an attempt to become the smartest person in the world. In his second offering, The Year of Living Biblically, Jacobs tried to follow the Old Testament as literally as possible for an entire year. Now, in his newest collection, Drop Dead Healthy: One Man’s Humble Quest for Bodily Perfection, Jacobs continues with his self-improvement formula, only this time he strives to become “the healthiest man in the world”.
Like his previous offerings, Drop Dead Healthy is a page-turner. It’s interesting, informative, and can be hilariously funny at times. However, needless to say, the sheer volume of information about health, diet and exercise is a lot to cover and Jacobs only gives us a sampling of what’s out there. At times, it seems that Jacobs is rushing and simply wants to finish the book rather than seriously exploring the different philosophies of being healthy. Just as he gets going on a certain health kick, the chapter is over and he’s onto another. I feel Drop Dead Healthy would’ve been much better off as a two-volume study, then Jacobs could’ve taken a little more time flushing out the details and exploring the results of his experiments.
With that said, Drop Dead Healthy is an enjoyable book. I laughed a lot and even put a few of Jacobs’s ideas into practice in my own life, but, while entertaining, it doesn’t quite measure up to his previous two works. If you’re looking for a book that investigates unconventional self-experimentation, my personal recommendation would be to pick-up The Know-It-All or The Year of Living Biblically (also available through Parkland Libraries). Then, if you like what you’ve read, move on to Drop Dead Healthy.