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The Guinea Pig Diaries: My Life as an…

The Guinea Pig Diaries: My Life as an Experiment (2010)

by A.J. Jacobs

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3.5 stars

A.J. Jacobs decides to put himself through a series of “experiments”, a month at a time. He will live in a different way each month. For example, one month is living rationally, examining and correcting for all his biases (at least as much as possible). Another month, he will tell the truth all the time, whatever comes into his head, he will say. Another month, he helped his nanny with online dating; that is, he mostly looked over the replies and replied back, etc (he calls this his month of living “as a beautiful woman”). He lives by George Washington’s 110 rules. He outsources his life, both his work and personal life. And more.

I enjoyed this! I think I enjoyed all of these. Of course, there were bits of humour here and there. Possibly my favourite was when he did his wife’s bidding for an entire month. This was in return for all the other odd experiments she’d had to put up with. Enjoyable book! ( )
  LibraryCin | Dec 17, 2017 |
Read before Goodreads ( )
  Emma_Manolis | Jun 27, 2017 |
I didn't care for this book too much. The concept is interesting, one man living his life in a different way for a month at a time, but the process falls flat. It wasn't terrible, but it wasn't good, either. I gave it 3 stars, but would have rated it 2.5 if that had been an option. I made it through once and doubt ill ever pick this book up again. ( )
  knfmn | Dec 22, 2016 |
I really loved this book. Interactive, investigative journalism is my favorite. I love when people immerse themselves in the story, or try to live that life for a set period of time. AJ Jacobs is the king of doing just that. He's written two previous books: The Year of Living Biblically and The Know-It-All, which I have yet to read, but I'm pretty sure I will. The Guinea Pig Diaries is a book of essays that could stand alone, but some call back to previous experiments. I think most were originally published as articles, but I like having them all combined here. Jacobs did some interesting experiments, like pretending to be a girl on an online dating site (filtering results for his kid's nanny), outsourcing work, daily tasks, errands - everything - to companies in India, and posing as a lesser-known celebrity at the Oscars. He does each experiment for a month. I'll admit, there were a few I wanted to try... Being brutally honest? Sounds difficult, not to mention dangerous. Focusing on being a "unitasker" instead of a multitasker.

The only one I kind of had a problem with, and therefore skimmed over, was the chapter about living by George Washington's rules. The idea itself was fine, but Jacobs couldn't keep himself from getting preachy. He spent several paragraphs praising Obama, saying he already seems like he'll be as honorable as Washington, blah blah blah. I know it's Jacobs' book, and he can say what he wants, but it alienated me, and affected the way I read the rest of the book. I think it should have at least been scaled back, if not removed completely. I'm sure the vast majority of his readership would agree with him, but he was so preachy and just wouldn't shut up about it, and it seemed a bit of a stretch to me, since this was written before Obama had been in the office for very long. But now I'm the one ranting, so I'll stop. ( )
  howifeelaboutbooks | Nov 4, 2015 |
Another very enjoyable book. Jacobs is so good at combining humor with meaning. There were lots of parts of the book I laughed out loud at, but also lots of parts that really made me want to be a better person. A good read. ( )
  klburnside | Aug 11, 2015 |
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A.J. explores the big issues of our time--happiness, dating, morality, marriage--by immersing himself in eye-opening situations. 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 drives his patient wife, Julie, to the brink of insanity.) Among the many adventures: He outsources his life to a team of people in Bangalore, India. He spends a month practicing Radical Honesty, in which you say what's on your mind. 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. He attempts to follow George Washington's rules of life. And, for a month, he followed his wife's every whim.--From publisher description.… (more)

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