Drop Dead Healthy by A. J. Jacobs

51JPAteNBvLDrop Dead Healthy by A. J. Jacobs

One Man’s Humble Quest for Bodily Perfection

It’s January and all thoughts here at Book Barmy turn towards new beginnings. It’s time to clean out the fridge, toss the leftover Christmas cookies, make a salad or two and get back to the gym – or at least dust off and organize my gym bag — small steps, folks, small steps.  So what better book to read than this?

In terms of dusting things off, I’ve had Drop Dead Healthy on my shelves for ages and never opened it.  Strangely, I can’t remember where I got it.  I wonder if it was a gift from a well-meaning fit friend?  But then I remembered, I bought this book last January during what now appears to be my annual mission to transform myself.  As one of quotes on this books says, “Why go to the gym when you can sit and read a funny book about it instead?”  USA Today

During this month of repent and resolutions, we are bombarded with a myriad of health fads, hard-sell gym memberships, hundreds of different diets —  not to mention, legions of healthy living articles, cook books and television shows.  Mr. Jacobs, on his own quest to get healthy and fit, takes us through his experimental dips into many of these fads and trends .. all with very funny results.

He goes “Caveman” with the Paleo movement and enjoys their diet of nuts and berries (but passes on crushed insects, despite their reputed high protein value).  I laughed out loud when Mr. Jacobs tries a pole dancing workout class where he was the only man among fifty women wearing high heels and sporting an alarming amount of cleavage.

In an attempt to combat the “Crimes of Excessive Sedentary Behavior” and consume extra calories while working, he bypasses the webpage advertisements for $400 treadmill desks and rigs up his own version — with his laptop perched on a stack of four cardboard boxes that teeter on an end table at the end of the treadmill — and he even dares to include a photo.

Mr. Jacobs mystifies his family by bringing home a toilet seat that requires a third world squatting pose to navigate, which he read was healthier than the conventional sitting position – again a photo is provided — thankfully, with the author fully clothed

Jacobs tries veganism, raw food, Atkins, juice cleanses, along with dozens of other diets.  He tries Cross Fit, anti-gravity yoga, running barefoot though New York (ouch and yuck) and Stroller-cise with other new moms and dads — “I push Zane’s stroller through Central Park while jogging, jumping, stretching and getting stared at”.

What Drop Dead Healthy does best is detail the author’s personal experiences and reactions — much like sitting with friend over coffee (non-fat of course) and listening to his funny and self-deprecating stories of trying to get fit and healthy.  However, we are laughing WITH him….not at him.  In fact, we cheer along as he posts his periodic checkup results and his slow, but steady weight loss.

Even the appendixes are fascinatingly funny – from how to fit in exercise all day long; “wear a diving weight vest all day – be prepared for suicide bomber jokes”  (or potential police arrest, I’d venture) to best food advice; “Don’t be so obsessed with healthy food that you end up alone in the corner eating organic kale and silently judging your friends.”

There is humanity to Mr. Jacobs story.  He finds inspiration in his loved ones.  His 90-year old grandfather who remained active in community affairs long after his formal retirement, his eccentric Aunt Marti, those adorable but rambunctious sons, and his endlessly patient wife, Julie–all are a constant reminder that healthy relationships are paramount in any well-lived life.  In the end, we are motivated to get some exercise in any way we can and eat healthier —  but the larger lesson is that health is highly personal – each of us must choose what feels right and healthy for us – a  balance of body, mind and spirit.




I just have to show you the back cover~~~













N.B. I also learned that drinking ice water burns 8 calories a glass. If you drink 8 glasses, that’s 64 extra calories a day.  Now let’s see, a small glass of wine is 100 calories…


  1. Jeanne
    Jan 8, 2016

    If the book is half as engaging and humorous as the blog it is definitely on my list of wanted books. Hmmmm. Now who do I send that list to to obtain results??

  2. goldengategirl
    Jan 7, 2016

    Add ice to the wine and that’s only 92 calories. Hmm… room for more wine!

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