New York Times best-selling author and king of "immersion journalism" A.J. Jacobs tackles his most challenging experiment yet: a yearlong mission to radically improve every element of his body and mind - from his brain to his fingertips to his abs.
Having lifted his spirit in The Year of Living Biblically and sharpened his mind in The Know-It-All, A. J. Jacobs had one feat left in the self-improvement trinity: to become the healthiest man in the world. He doesn't just want to lose a couple of pounds, or finish a triathlon, or lower his cholesterol.
First, he had to tackle a complicated web of diet and exercise advice, most which is nonsensical, unproven, and contradictory. Second, he had to consult a team of medical advisers. And finally, he had to subject himself, over the course of two years, to a grueling regimen of exercises, a range of diets and nutritional plans, and a brutal array of techniques and practices to improve everything from his hearing to his sleep - all the while testing the patience of his wife.
This latest work bursts with hilarity and warmth, all the while testing our culture's assumptions and obsessions with what makes good health and allowing the listener to reflect on his or her own health, body, and eventual mortality.
“We can become healthier by learning from AJ's discomfort in this very funny book. He moves us from theory to practice by dragging his body through all the longevity practices. (Dr. Mehmet Oz)
"Can one man go from a 'python that ate agoat' physique to perfect specimen? From Roman soldier workouts to Areca palm plants, fromthe sublime to the absurd, AJ has tried it all. I laughed my ass off the wholeway and learned a ton ... including about my ass." (Timothy Ferriss, author of The 4-Hour Workweek)
"Who wouldn't want to be fitter, happier, more productive? In this riotous, madcap book, AJ Jacobs sets himself an ambitious goal: to become the person we all wish we could be. It's vintage AJ. Do your future self a favor and read this book." (Joshua Foer, author of Moonwalking with Einstein)
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A comic tries a little of everything
I am a longtime fan of the experimental books by AJ Jacobs who is best known for writing about the year he spent reading the entire Encyclopedia Britannica (the know-it-all) and the year in which he followed all the rules of the bible (The Year if Living Biblically) and now this one where he tries to get “healthy” but because everyone has a different idea of health and how to achieve it he spends a lot of time bumbling between one crazy idea to another without the normal discriminating gaze of an experienced athlete. He does eventually settle on some kind of routine but it is unclear what he was doing. I know that near the end of the book he was benching 185 lbs x 15 reps which is very good for a middleweight and fantastic for a person of his size with so very little experience- he could also do about 170 push-ups in one go. How did he achieve these feats? We may never know. The parts I was most interested in, like his exact workout routine and diet are seldom discussed- more time is focused on new experimental or silly fads. I do know that he spent a lot of time on the wii which gave him a training injury and that much of the book was written while on a treadmill allowing him to walk over a thousand miles – I may need to get one of those. I can't emphasize enough that this is not a “health book” it is a pseudo intellectual humor book about health. It is fun natured and he quotes a lot of the most popular currently trending health books that he got from TED (so he knows these people)- but I do not know what all he kept at the end of the experience other than a lot of tips on eating small portions- He said in an interview that the healthy lifestyle almost killed him- I may been dozing off a little here and there but I don't remember anything like that in there. So the book is very fun but terribly incomplete
The other books by AJ Jacobs are really just prequels to this one- same genre- same charicters- different experiments. One certainly has to admire his adventurous spirit, attempting everything at least once- reminding me of what a close minded curmudgeon I really am. I am glad to have his opinion of so very many angles of the health world including a couple I had not heard of before
I spent a lot of the book wondering when he was going to get down to business and start the REAL MAN exercises- He did do them at some point but didn't write about it. I feel cheated. Sounds like they worked well, too. Also, a Before and after PDF would have been nice.
More of a collection of fun antidotes than a story. This is not a self help book.
- J. N. Manor