- Hardcover: 256 pages
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster; First Edition edition (September 8, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1416599061
- ISBN-13: 978-1416599067
- Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.9 x 8.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars See all reviews (124 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,092,124 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Guinea Pig Diaries: My Life as an Experiment Hardcover – Deckle Edge, September 8, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Having already read the Encyclopedia Britannica from cover-to-cover (The Know-It-All) and spent a year living by every rule in the Bible (The Year of Living Biblically), Jacobs, a kind of latter-day George Plimpton, tests our patience and our funny bones once again with his smart-aleck, off-the-wall and uproarious experiments in living. No cross-dresser he, Jacobs lives a vicarious life as a beautiful woman, the experiment growing out of his role in persuading his son's nanny, Michelle—a stunning beauty—to participate in an online dating service. He signs her up for the site, creates a profile for her, sifts through her suitors and co-writes her e-mails. Pretending to be Michelle, he learns not only the regret of rejection (having to let some guys down), but he also predictably discovers that there's a lot of deceit, boasting and creepiness in Internet dating. In another experiment, Jacobs outsources everything in his life to a company in India, from his research for articles to a complaint letter to American Airlines. This experiment worked so well that he continues to use this company every few weeks to make car rental reservations or to do research for him. Although a coda of reflection follows the tale of each experiment, they provide no clarity or wisdom about his experiences. Everybody plays the fool sometimes, and with this book, Jacobs seems to have made a career out of it. (Sept.)
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"Jacobs, the author of The Know-It-All (2004) and The Year of Living Biblically (2007), could be the funniest nonfiction writer this side of Bill Bryson.... The experiments themselves are fascinating and lead to genuinely surprising conclusions...and Jacobs's storytelling is lighthearted and frequently laugh-out-loud funny.... There aren't a lot of nonfiction books you want to read over and over, but this is certainly one of them."–Booklist (starred review)
"Whether he's posing as a celebrity, outsourcing his chores, or adhering strictly to the Bible, we love reading about the wacky lifestyle experiments of author A.J. Jacobs."–Entertainment Weekly
"Jacobs's third book . . . establishes his success as a humorist beyond doubt, and perhaps without peer."–Chicago Sun-Times
“We love reading about the lifestyle experiments of author A.J. Jacobs.”
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Top Customer Reviews
And his effort to become a disciplined "unitasker" by (among other matters) reciting out loud (seemingly 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.
Who among us hasn't wished to just dump all the minutia of everyday life into someone else's lap? Jacobs accomplishes this in his essay, "My Outsourced Life," starting off with little things, like shopping, and escalating to conducting arguments with his long-suffering wife, Julie, who deserves major props for putting up with all of these schemes. (By the way, she finally gets a measure of recompense as hubby caters to her every wish for a month in "Whipped.")
Some of Jacobs's experiments border on the dangerous, as when he resolves to spend a month being radically honest ("I Think You're Fat") or pretends to be a movie personality, crashing the Oscar Awards ("240 Minutes of Fame"). While published under the general category of humor, THE GUINEA PIG DIARIES could also be considered a philosophical treatise. In "The Rationality Project," Jacobs channels Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner of FREAKONOMICS fame when he deconstructs several behavioral theories to prove their irrationalities.
Some of the pieces seem to contradict each other. The book leads off with Jacobs masquerading as a beautiful woman as he attempts to play an online Cyrano for the family's lovely nanny.Read more ›
** on a Kindle note, the pictures are not at all clear so that was disappointing but certainly not a deal breaker
I find Jacobs to be funny, readable, and clever. I just wish he would let his intelligence shine a bit more. That said, I hope the author is working on many more books (don't let my minor critique slow you down!).
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Fun read and learned a little along the way. That's two good aspects we look for in any book we read.Published 28 days ago by Matt
Love his sense of humor and writing style. Still prefer Year of Living Biblically, but I think he does too, so not a problem. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Joy Host
A.J., you continue to be one of the most fascinating people of all time. Please never stop doing and writing about all of the bizarre experiences you choose to put yourself... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Beth Wecksell
I like all of these books where he goes in and experiments or tries new lifestyles and such. Good reads, sometimes a bit drawn out, but tons of neat info tucked into his writing... Read morePublished 8 months ago by SC23
Really enjoyed the book - I have been a fan of A.J. Jacobs for a while now. Highly recommend it, you won't be disappointed!Published 11 months ago by Rina
A strange mish mash of unrelated topics. More like short stories, but all about research. I liked "Drop Dead Healthy" better - the entire book had one main subject. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Nora M
Great author. Read his Other stuff in books, magazines, etc. Interesting and potentially valuable information. Read morePublished 14 months ago by cl