I like A.J. Jacobs. His books always focus on a particular area, which he tackles like the journalist that he is. He shares facts you might not even know you wanted to know! Because they are in the context of a memoir-type book, he also mixes in some humor and personal insight with the skillfully relayed information, and I eat it up.
His latest memoir is Drop Dead Healthy: One Man’s Humble Quest for Bodily Perfection, and when I saw the audio was available, I snatched it up.
Jacobs devoted two years to this project, exploring different health trends (both in fitness and in nutrition), and also devoting periods of time to specific body parts (ears, feet, etc.). For example, in the ear section, he wears noise-canceling headphones to reduce noise pollution and interviews an expert in the field about sources and ways to avoid this “danger.”
While Jacobs was working on increasing his health and longevity, his grandfather’s health was failing. This made for an interesting contrast, and also gave the book a personal and emotional element.
I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I enjoyed his other two books that I’ve read, however some of the facts have definitely stuck with me. For example, I try harder not to be sedentary as much, since I (and most Americans) spend far too much time just sitting. The facts he shared about more activity increasing health hit home. No, I won’t be building a treadmill desk like Jacobs did, but I do find myself choosing to stand while I’m on the phone or sorting the mail. Every little bit helps.
I still recommend Drop Dead Healthy for fans of A.J. Jacobs or those who are interested in health news and trends.
This book is read by the author, which is always a mixed blessing to me. With the rare exception, the quality is not the same as when it’s done by a professional, but the upside is that the person reading the book actually penned the words, so he or she obviously has a connection to the text. Jacobs has a nasally New York accent, which goes along perfectly with the setting of the book. I liked knowing that the “real” A.J. Jacobs was the one relaying these anecdotes. I actually first discovered A.J. Jacobs with the audio of The Know-It-All: One Man’s Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World, which was not read by the author, and though I thoroughly enjoyed it, it did seem a bit too professional for the style of the book.
A.J. Jacobs’ books are very conversational, which makes them good in audio format (regardless of who reads them). You can watch a video of A.J. Jacobs discussing this new book, and specifically why he likes to record the audio himself for his books at the Simon & Schuster Audio page.