A.J. Jacobs on Why Reading Books Can Save Your Life

Jacobs1[Our thanks to human lab rat A.J. Jacobs, author of Drop Dead Healthy, for this exclusive guest post.]

In my new book Drop Dead Healthy, I try to become the healthiest person alive. In doing so, I examine hundreds of activities to determine if they are healthy.

Is meditation healthy? Yes. Petting dogs? Yes, because it lowers the blood pressure. Sitting? Definitely not. Going to a noisy restaurant? No. Taking naps? Thank God yes.

One of the few activities I didn’t discuss: Reading. Is reading healthy? Or will it slowly murder you?

No doubt I’m a bit biased, but I’ve come to the conclusion that overall, books are, in fact, good for your health.

Before I get to the science, let’s take a look at history. In 1912, Teddy Roosevelt was giving a speech in Milwaukee, when a protestor shot him point-blank in the chest. TR only suffered a flesh wound. Why? The bullet was slowed by his reading glasses case and the manuscript of the speech itself. So there you go. Reading material can save lives.

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