Tuesday, December 21, 2010

My Life as an Experiment by A.J. Jacobs~★★★★

Author: A.J. Jacobs
Title: My Life as an Experiment: One Man's Humble Quest to Improve Himself
Release Date: July 13th, 2010
Publisher: Simon & Schuster; Reprint Edition
Genre: Non-fiction

Book Cover: "Bestselling author and human guinea pig A.J. Jacobs puts his life to the test and reports on the surprising and entertaining results. He goes undercover as a woman, lives by George Washington's moral code, and impersonates a movie star. He practices 'radical honesty,' brushes his teeth with the world's most rational toothpaste, and outsources every part of his life to India---including reading bedtime stories to his kids. 
And in a new adventure, Jacobs undergoes scientific testing to determine how he can put his wife through these and other life-altering experiments---one of which involves public nudity.
Filled with humor and wisdom, My Life as an Experiment will immerse you in eye-opening situations and change the way you think about the big issues of our time---from love and work to national politics and breakfast cereal.  

Taryn's Review: I've never said this before, but I really feel like the book cover blurb didn't grasp the book very well. It even embellishes the truth somewhat; what we think of as going "undercover" is not what Jacobs did in the book. I don't know that I would label a picture that hid offending body parts an example of  "public nudity." The movie star Jacobs impersonated was not really a movie "star," but an actor that not too many people would be familiar with. Whoever wrote the book jacket blurb should be embarrassed.

I don't fault Jacobs for that though. His book made me laugh out loud quite a few times. I really laughed at the chapter where he outsourced his life to India. The things he had those poor women do! I also enjoyed the chapter where he was radically honest. Radical honesty is probably not the best policy!

There were many things in the book that did make me think. I loved how he tried to be rational and that, in turn, made him review actions from his past. Jacobs felt that some rationalities he had believed in were only believed because someone who he deemed an authority at some point in his life told him so. I used to be afraid to sleep with a necklace on after my mother told me that I could choke myself to death in my sleep. I had a revelation in high school when I fell asleep with a necklace on, yet found myself awake in the morning, not having choked to death by the grasp of a delicate gold chain. I understood exactly what he was saying and it made me laugh at my own "rational" absurdities as well.

This was a very quick read. Jacobs apparently recycled some older articles he wrote for various magazines over the years for some sections. I personally wasn't bothered by it since I hadn't read his stuff before. I can see how the re-use of material could be annoying if you picked up the book expecting fresh material. It was a fun read and I'd gladly read Jacobs other two books as well. Thought-provoking and funny are always a good mix.

1 comment:

  1. I read his book about reading the encyclopedia and enjoyed it. I'll have to add this to my tbr list.