Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The goal is that you're able to keep the good parts and not descend into insanity

During my spree of the remainder tables I found this book My Life as an Experiment by A.J. Jacobs. If I wasn't already familiar with his earlier book The Know-It-All I probably would have skipped over this. But KIA was hilarious and this was on sale so how could I turn this down? I couldn't. Exactly.

It's not so much a single cohesive narrative like The Know-It-All was. It's more a series of experiments over a period of time. Some of those experiments are going on during his other books and they take place over a few years. And each chapter/experiment is sort of its own stand alone story. Which is fine because the chapters are hilarious. In one instance he tries Radical Honesty, in another he pretends to be a celebrity, then he does everything his wife asks. It's such a random selection of experiments. And it's fun to see someone that's no me try them. Because with his experiments there is something to be learned from each of them, but if you were to actually go to the extent he does, you're going to probably go insane. Or be that guy that tells everyone the truth all the time. And not just the truth but just says whatever pops into his head at any given moment. He gets slapped a lot, is what I'm saying.

My favorite chapter was "My Outsourced Life" where he he outsourced everything to an Indian company that acts as a personal assistant. Actually he had two assistants to cover everything from writing memos and scheduling dinner to bickering with his wife and reading bed time stories to his son. (It's less cynical that that sounds.) Because really, having a personal assistant sounds fantastic, even if they are halfway around the world.

Overall a funny and quick read and one I'm sure I'll pick up again when I want something light. It's a good get-out-of-reading-slump book. It didn't make me want to actually try out any of his experiments myself but it was fun to see him act like a human guinea pig. I'll just learn through his experiments. Plus, it makes me want to read his other book The Year of Living Biblically. Moar Jacobs please.

Title quote from page xiii

Jacobs, A. J. My Life as an Experiment: One Man's Humble Quest to Improve Himself by Living as a Woman, Becoming George Washington, Telling No Lies and Other Radical Tests. Simon & Schuster, 2009.