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Guinea Pig Diaries: My Life as an Experiment
     

Guinea Pig Diaries: My Life as an Experiment

4.1 54
by A. J. Jacobs
 

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ISBN-10: 1416599061

ISBN-13: 2901416599066

Pub. Date: 09/08/2009

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

For his first book, The Know-It-All, A. J. Jacobs read the entire Encyclopaedia Britannica from cover to cover in a quest to learn everything in the world. In The Year of Living Biblically, he followed every single rule of the Bible -- from the Ten Commandments right on down to stoning adulterers.

Now comes a collection of his most

Overview

For his first book, The Know-It-All, A. J. Jacobs read the entire Encyclopaedia Britannica from cover to cover in a quest to learn everything in the world. In The Year of Living Biblically, he followed every single rule of the Bible -- from the Ten Commandments right on down to stoning adulterers.

Now comes a collection of his most hilarious and thought-provoking experiments yet. In his role as human guinea pig, Jacobs fearlessly takes on a series of life-altering challenges that provides readers with equal parts insight and humor. (And which drives A.J.'s patient wife, Julie, to the brink of insanity.)

Among the many adventures:

  • He outsources his life. A.J. hires a team of people in Bangalore, India, to take care of everything in his life from answering his e-mails to arguing with his spouse.
  • He spends a month practicing Radical Honesty -- a movement that encourages us to remove the filters between our brains and mouths. (To give you an idea of what happened, the name of the chapter is "I Think You're Fat.")
  • He goes to the Academy Awards disguised as a movie star to understand the strange and warping effects of fame.
  • He commits himself to ultimate rationality, using cutting-edge science to make the best decisions possible. It changes the way he makes choices big and small, from what to buy at the grocery store to how to talk to his kids. And his revelations will change how you make decisions, too.
  • He attempts to follow George Washington's rules of life, uncovering surprising truths about leadership and politics in the twenty-first century. He also spends a lot of time bowing and doffing his hat.
  • And then there's the month when he followed his wife's every whim -- foot massages, Kate Hudson movies, and all. Depending on your point of view, it's either the best or worst idea in the history of American marriage.

A mix of Bill Bryson, George Plimpton, and Malcolm Gladwell, A.J. explores the big issues of our time -- happiness, dating, morality, marriage -- by immersing himself in eye-opening situations. You'll be entertained by these stories -- some of which are new, some of which had their start in Esquire magazine. But you'll also learn to look at life in new ways.

The Guinea Pig Diaries is a book packed with both laughs and enlightenment -- and that's a promise we can make with Radical Honesty.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
2901416599066
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster
Publication date:
09/08/2009
Edition description:
NE
Pages:
256

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The Guinea Pig Diaries: My Life as an Experiment 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was so unique and entertaining. The situations are hillarious and thought provoking. Great read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This isn't as good as his other two books, because it's kind of choppy. A bunch of mini-books instead of one long experiment. However - some of the chapters are stand-out keepers. Made me laugh. This is really a fun read.
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harpospeaks More than 1 year ago
In the familiar style he perfected in "The Know It All" and "The Year of Living Biblically" Jacobs takes us through his life as a series of "experiments", from outsourcing to India such daily routines as reading bedtime stories to his young children to trying to live according to the 110 "Rules of Civility and Decent Behaviour" that George Washington formulated for himself as a young man. In the chapter "The Truth About Nakedness" Jacobs shares with us the full range of emotions he experienced while posing nude for an Esquire Magazine (his employer) photo shoot in order to induce Mary Louise Parker to similarly pose (the book includes only the photo of the writer). And his effort to become a disciplined "unitasker" by (among other matters) reciting out loud (seemingly to to himself) his shopping list while in the supermarket, and the reactions of bystanding shoppers, was among the many moments of droll humor in the book. Perhaps my personal favorite of the Jacobs experiments was "The Rationality Project", his effort to identify, as rationally as possible, the "right" toothpaste from among the 40 or so on the shelf. To do so, Jacobs explains the need to remove from the decision making process the "Halo Effect", the "Availability Fallacy", "Confirmation Bias", the"Texas Sharpshooter Fallacy" and other of the "irrational biases and Darwinian anachronisms" that influence all of us in making the most mundane of our choices. And once again it is his wife Julie who, in her long-suffering style, provides the necessary dose of reality to bring his over-the-top eccentricities back down to earth. Fans of A. J. Jacobs will once again be amply rewarded.