Thursday, February 19, 2015

The key to making healthy decisions is to respect your future self

Drop Dead Healthy by A. J. Jacobs might be the first book I've listened to exclusively as an audiobook. The other audiobooks I've listened to have all been books I've read, books I own and can go back to and look up. I can't do that easily with Drop Dead Healthy so forgive me if this makes even less sense than my normal reviews.

In the vein of other Jacobs books, like The Know-It-All and My Life as an Experiment, Jacobs decides to use himself as a guinea pig and learn as much as he can about a topic. This time around Jacobs learns how to be the healthiest person ever. He focuses on a different organ or area each month, learning all he can about eyesight, the dangers of loud noise on your ears, all of the benefits of exercising and eating healthy. Things are fairly obvious at the start. "Oh, you're saying it's healthy for me to eat right? And the sky is blue you say? Go on." But he goes into what does it mean to eat right based on a number of different people: a group of slooooooooow eaters, vegans, raw food, caveman/paleo.

This isn't a scientific book. He talks to experts (or pseudo-experts) about all of the different topics, and I believe (because the nytimes review told me so) he even references Mary Roach's Bonk a few times, but you couldn't/wouldn't really use this as a how-to book for being healthy yourself. But there are a few jumping off points to at least get you started. The idea of a treadmill desk sounds like a great idea. Too bad I don't have a treadmill.*

As with his other books, Jacobs is a funny guy. He never takes himself too serious, even if he is serious about getting healthy. He was prompted to start this two-year journey after getting pneumonia while on vacation in the Caribbean and was worried that he wouldn't be there in the long-term of his family. He honestly wants to get healthy and he's open-minded about it. Take 15 minutes to eat a blueberry might be impractical, but there is something to be said for eating slower. He learns about how sitting for long periods is just TERRIBLE for you. "It's like Paula-Deen-glazed-bacon-doughnut bad" in Jacob's words. So he made a point to move around. Hence the treadmill desk. And literally running errands. I recently got a FitBit and I realize how much time I spend not-walking. It's sort of depressing.

The book was entertaining and while Jacobs isn't my favorite reader (he narrates the audibook) he did a good job. It's not a book the necessarily requires you to pay a lot of attention so it worked well for me as an audibook. Plus I listened to it during our mini-readathon and audiobooks are perfect for readathons. Assuming you, like me, spend a lot of readathon time being on social media. (I am bad at readathons.)

Jacobs books are always entertaining and I'm sure I'll end up reading Year of Living Biblically.

Also, I would like you to all now this officially means I'm finally done reviewing books that I finished in 2014. PROGRESS!

Gif rating:

*We actually do have a treadmill desk at the office. I feel like I should give this a try sometime. Except for the fact that I'd probably spend the entire time being super self-conscious and wouldn't get any work done.

Jacobs, A. J. Drop Dead Healthy: One Man's Humble Quest for Bodily Perfection. Simon & Schuster, 2012. Audibook.