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From the bestselling author of The Year of Living Biblicallyand The Know-It-All comes the true and truly hilarious story of one person’s quest to become the healthiest man in the world.

Hospitalized with a freak case of tropical pneumonia, goaded by his wife telling him, “I don’t want to be a widow at forty-five,” and ashamed of a middle-aged body best described as “a python that swallowed a goat,” A.J. Jacobs felt compelled to change his ways and get healthy. And he didn’t want only to lose weight, or finish a triathlon, or lower his cholesterol. His ambitions were far greater: maximal health from head to toe.

The task was epic. He consulted an army of experts—sleep consultants and sex clinicians, nutritionists and dermatologists. He subjected himself to dozens of different workouts—from Strollercize classes to Finger Fitness sessions, from bouldering with cavemen to a treadmill desk. And he took in a cartload of diets: raw foods, veganism, high protein, calorie restriction, extreme chewing, and dozens more. He bought gadgets and helmets, earphones and juicers. He poked and he pinched. He counted and he measured.

The story of his transformation is not only brilliantly entertaining, but it just may be the healthiest book ever written. It will make you laugh until your sides split and endorphins flood your bloodstream. It will alter the contours of your brain, imprinting you with better habits of hygiene and diet. It will move you emotionally and get you moving physically in surprising ways. And it will give you occasion to reflect on the body’s many mysteries and the ultimate pursuit of health: a well-lived life.

Praise for Drop Dead Healthy

“I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this book, and once again, the brilliant A.J. Jacobs had me laughing out loud—and also deciding to change the way I live. Drop Dead Healthy is a rare mixture of the hilarious, the absurd, and the scientifically sound. Who knew it could be so entertaining to read about broccoli puree and shoeless jogging?”

— GRETCHEN RUBIN, author of THE HAPPINESS PROJECT

“We can become healthier by learning from A.J.’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, host, THE DR. OZ SHOW

“A.J. Jacobs is very, very bad for your health. He will keep you up reading ’til 2 a.m., disturbing your circadian rhythms, making you sleep through breakfast and overeat at lunch. He is delicious. He’s habit-forming. He will give you infectious titters and terminal glee. Don’t let that stop you. Indulge.”

—MARY ROACH, author of BONK and PACKING FOR MARS

“Who wouldn’t want to be fitter, happier, more productive? In this riotous, madcap book, A.J. Jacobs sets himself an ambitious goal: to become the person we all wish we could be. It’s vintage A.J. Do your future self a favor and read this book.”

—JOSHUA FOER, author of MOONWALKING WITH EINSTEIN

“Can one man go from a ‘python that ate a goat’ physique to perfect specimen? From Roman soldier workouts to areca palm plants, from the sublime to the absurd, A.J. has tried it all. I laughed my ass off the whole way and learned a ton . . . including about my ass.”

—TIMOTHY FERRISS, author of THE 4-HOUR BODY

A. J. JACOBS is the author of The New York Times bestsellers The Year of Living Biblically, My Life as an Experiment, and The Know-It-All. He has been called “inspired and inspiring” (Vanity Fair), “entertaining” (The New York Times), and “hilarious” (Time). He is the editor at large of Esquire magazine, a contributor to NPR, and has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Entertainment Weekly. He lives in New York City with his wife and kids. Visit him at AJJacobs.com and follow him on Twitter@ajjacobs.

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JACKET DESIGN BY JASON HEUER

JACKET AND AUTHOR PHOTOGRAPHS BY MICHAEL COGLIANTRY

COPYRIGHT © 2012 SIMON & SCHUSTER

ALSO BY THE AUTHOR

The Know-It-All

The Year of Living Biblically

My Life as an Experiment

Simon & Schuster

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New York, NY 10020

Copyright © 2012 by A.J. Jacobs

All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form whatsoever. For information address Simon & Schuster Subsidiary Rights Department, 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020.

First Simon & Schuster hardcover edition April 2012

SIMON & SCHUSTER and colophon are registered trademarks of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

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Designed by Ruth Lee-Mui

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Jacbs, A.J., 1968–

Drop dead healthy : one man’s humble quest for bodily perfection / A. J. Jacobs.

p. cm

1. Jacobs, A.J., 1968– Health. 2. Health. 3. Nutrition—Biography. 4. Exercise. 5. Health—Humor. I. Title.

RA776.5.J265 2012

613.2092—dc23

[B]

2011039172

ISBN 978-1-4165-9907-4

ISBN 978-1-4391-1015-7 (ebook)

To Julie and my sons

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Contents

Prologue

Chapter 1 The Stomach

The Quest to Eat Right

Chapter 2 The Heart

The Quest to Get My Blood Pumping

Chapter 3 The Ears

The Quest for Quiet

Chapter 4 The Butt

The Quest to Avoid Sedentary Life

Chapter 5 The Immune System

The Quest to Conquer Germs

Chapter 6 The Stomach, Revisited

The Quest for the Perfect Meal

Chapter 7 The Genitals

The Quest to Have More Sex

Chapter 8 The Nervous System

The Quest to Hurt Less

Chapter 9 The Lower Intestine

The Quest to Go to the Bathroom Properly

Chapter 10 The Adrenal Gland

The Quest to Lower My Stress Level

Chapter 11 The Brain

The Quest to Be

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