Upon checking it out, I was reluctant to start it, since I generally don’t enjoy nonfiction, especially nonfiction with the primary focus being vegetables, fruits and exercise. But I must say A.J. Jacobs pleasantly surprised me here. Not only did his book make me laugh until I felt the need to share it with my family and friends, but it taught me a lot about health and what’s true versus what isn’t along with inspiring me to take better care of my body since I only get one.
Basically, A.J. takes a step back from his everyday life with his wife, Julie, and three kids, Lucas, Zane and Jasper, in order to go on a two-year long mission to be the healthiest person alive. Each month he takes on a new sense or body part to research and improve, some of these improvements stick with him and he continues them on while he does learns about the new topic, but others were so laugh out loud ridiculous that he can barely make it through the month, such as wearing a helmet while walking outside to prevent accidents. Within these two years he tries many new things like running a triathlon, doing a juice cleanse, literally running his errands, and going to a laughter club.
Throughout the book, he attempts to see both side of every health debacle we know of such as super foods, plant based diets versus meat diets, and indoor versus outdoor exercise. It was incredibly interesting to hear the experiences he had trying both sides of common arguments and seeing which side actually produced results.
Finally, at the end, he includes an index where he groups together all his findings into a hilarious synopsis for those who didn’t have the time or patience to finish the entire book. There he includes his favorite quotes from the professionals he has met with and the basic collection of tips for regulars and obsessive people.
As boring as this book may sound, I swear to you it was one of the best books I’ve read this year, I’m ready to check out A.J’s other two books on his experiments on improving his mind and improving his soul. His writing is addictive and his humor will hit everyone’s funny bones even if you are trying not to be happy while reading about health. I included some of my favorite quotes below if you are interested! This was kind of a short review considering there wasn’t an in depth plot or intense characters, but none the less it was a great book!
“The MRI has a repertoire of noises that resemble, in no particular order: a game-show buzzer for a wrong answer, urgent knocking, a modem from 1992, a grizzly-bear growl, and a man with a raspy voice shouting what sounds like “mother cooler!”
“I’m hungry enough that I started to salivate at the sight of lettuce. I repeat: lettuce.”
“On the other hand, if you’re too delusionally optimistic, you’ll be unbearable. You’ll refuse to save money or make backup plans. You’ll invade foreign countries and expect to be greeted as liberators. Like everything else in health, you need balance.”
“My immune system has always been overly welcoming of germs. It’s far too polite, the biological equivalent of a southern hostess inviting y’all nice microbes to stay awhile and have some artichoke dip.”
“I figured the government wouldn’t let poison flow from the taps. But in general, I’m too trusting of the government. I’m the polar opposite of the Tea Partiers. I have no problem with a nanny state. But in this case, the nanny state has been chatting on the cell phone and ignoring the baby as it plays with matches.”
“The dehydrator blows warm air on your food for hours, sometimes days. It reminds me of the temperature and intensity of dog’s breath. So imagine a German shepherd exhaling on your fruit for a weekend.”
“Pain is annoying and unnecessary, like getting an e-mail in all caps. It’s like a six-year-old who alerts you every fifteen seconds that he wants Hungry Hungry Hippos for his birthday. Yes, I understand. Message received.”
“Just eat a goddamn vegetable.”