A.J. Jacobs life as a human guinea pig began posing nude for esquire (he says it was artistic) and spending 24 hours straight in a lazy-boy (for journalistic purposes) and now years later, he has lived a year by the laws of the Bible and journaling through the Encyclopedia. In his book, My Life as an Experiment, instead of embarking on year-long experiments, tells the story of multiple-short-term experiments that he undertook while working at Esquire.
In one experiment, Jacobs outsourced his entire life to India. From his emails, to returning phone calls, rejecting submissions to esquire and even fighting with his wife, every aspect of his life has been taken over by Honey and Ausha from India. Jacobs has Honey author his Wikipedia article (which was rejected by their editors) and Ausha played hearts online with people. The outsourced life was such a hit that Tim Ferriss, author of The 4-hour Work Week, used its theory to perfection.
The purpose of his experiments shown greatest through his Radical Honesty experiment. Jacobs spent a month being radically honest with everyone he meets. He makes it his goal for the month to say whatever comes across his mind. Channeling his other books, he does his best to research in preparation of his experiments. He went down to Virginia and met the guy who had written the book on Radical Honesty. The man was brash, confrontational, and had been divorced three times…kinda what you would expect really.
My favorite experiment that he undertook was one in which he signed his attractive 27 year old nanny up for online dating. He answered her emails, set her up on dates, and acted as the web-master for her online dating. He was appalled at some of the people on these sites and his stories of dealing with them sarcastically and satirically was worth the price of the book. Jacobs has a way during every book to utilize humor and narrative in a way unmatched by any other author I have come across.
This book was a great read throughout. Yet again Jacobs was the second most interesting character in the book after his wife. She played the straightman for another 8 experiments, but at least she was on the receiving end of a couple. In one experiment, called Whipped, A.J. had to cater to her every whim. He waited on her hand and foot, which after the Radical Honesty experiment and the Outsourced Life experiment, it was due to her. I would highly recommend this book, even before his other two, because it is a simple and shorter way to get a grip on the kind of person and writer that A.J. Jacobs is and what his story and life brings to his books.