Monday, August 23, 2010

The Guinea Pig Diaries by A.J. Jacobs

The Guinea Pig Diaries

by A.J. Jacobs
published 2009
completed April 2010

Each chapter covers a mini-experiment conducted by A.J. Jacobs.  One month he outsourced everything possible to a company in India.  He also practices radical honesty for a month and an entire month of unitasking (doing strictly one thing at a time).

One of my favorite chapters was the first one where he posed as a woman on an online-dating service.  It was laugh out loud funny.  His young and attractive nanny was single and he wanted to help her get back into dating.  He talked her into signing up for an online-dating service and he wrote most of the correspondence for her.  This was the first chapter in the book and it was a great start.

I loved the outsourcing chapter as well, and the fact that he outsourced apologizing to his wife.  One of my other favorites was when he had pose nude for a photo shoot as quid pro quo for Mary Louise Parker posing nude for an Esquire Magazine article.  His picture is at the front of the chapter.  It is tastefully done but hilarious.  He is so self-deprecating and his description of the photography session and photographers instructions were very funny.

Most of the book was incredibly entertaining, but I found my interest tapering off as I got towards the end.  The chapter where he tried to follow George Washington's code of conduct for a month was quite dull.  It also had some political opinions in there that I wish he had left out.  Not that I mind people's political opinions, but it seemed self-indulgent of him to add it to this chapter when it didn't really fit with his experiment.

Overall it was a fun read and I look forward to reading more of A.J. Jacobs' books.

I read this book for the Take Another Chance Challenge as my genre switch-up.  I have never read a humor non-fiction book.  I'm excited to read more of this genre.


  1. I just love A.J. Jacobs but I did think that this book was his weakest (but still so amusing). You should try his "The Year of Living Biblically," where he tries to follow the laws of the Bible for an entire year. Pure genius.

  2. The one of his that I've read is "The Know-It-All", where he reads through the entire Encyclopedia Britannica (but makes it more interesting.)

  3. Jenners--I'll have to check out "The Year of Living Biblically." If it is better than "The Guinea Pig Diaries" I'm sure to enjoy it.

    Kathy--"The Know-It-All" sounds so strange but I bet with A.J. Jacobs writing it, I'm sure it's hilarious.

    I just moved to a little village in the UK from San Diego and my library is tiny, but I just looked it up and they have one copy of each and they are available.