Published: 2012 by Simon & Schuster
Source: Purchased at my local independent bookstore
Being healthy should be easy, right? All one needs to do is eat properly, exercise regularly, stay hydrated, and wash your hands – that should be enough. Well, according to A.J. Jacobs, being healthy and staying healthy is a full-time job in itself.
Jacobs has previously written about his other “humble quests” – reading the entire Encyclopedia Britannica, and following the Bible (specifically, the Old Testament) as literally as possible – much to my entertainment; so when his account of attempting to become the healthiest person alive was released, I had to read it.
He covers those basic healthy habits mentioned above, sure, but Jacobs takes healthy living to the next level and then a few steps further. He uses headphones regularly to avoid noise pollution (a common cause of stress), he adapts his treadmill to become a work station (sitting for too long apparently causes a change in the body’s metabolism, so he logged over a thousand miles just while writing the book), and he tries some unorthodox methods of answering the call of nature (my personal warning: don’t read chapter 9 while eating). Jacobs is on the obsessive-compulsive side so when he is addressing a certain area of healthy living he goes all out. It is apparent that the achievement of bodily perfection he sought is next to impossible simply because of its impracticality (he had to abandon his walking helmet because he couldn’t wear it and his headphones at the same time) but he learned many small things that can become new habits to make his life healthier. In turn, we as readers can learn from Jacobs’ trials and errors and have a laugh or two as well.
There are also some touching family moments brought up in this book; events that seemed well suited for the overall topic. And like all of his other books, I have to tip my hat to Jacobs’ wife, Julie; this woman has to be a saint and if she ever writes a book about her life with A.J. Jacobs and his humble quests, I’d gladly read it as well.