The Guinea Pig Diaries: My Life as an Experiment by A.J. Jacobs


This is the second book I’ve read by A.J. Jacobs and it doesn’t disappoint. (I read  The Year Of Living Biblically  in 2009, but the review is kind of horrible so It’s not posted here) Jacobs is the type of author that I compare to the best teachers I’ve ever had. You’re laughing and learning at the same time.

In the Guinea Pig Diaries Jacobs spends a month at a time documenting his life while conducting mini experiments. One month he aims to live his life according to George Washington’s rules of civility and decent behaviour (110 rules exist) and spends another catering to his wife’s every desire. He does all this while doling out interesting facts and bits of research.

The chapter entitled “Outsourced Life,” is a favourite of mine. In it, Jacobs decides to use two organizations in India, to outsource his daily life tasks. The organizations set him up with two women who do everything from order flowers for his wife, to pre-interviewing sources for stories he plans on writing. Things get even more amusing when Jacobs realizes that no matter the request, these women always say yes.  He tests to see if they have a breaking point by asking them to complete more and more outrageous tasks—one being asking one of the women to read a book to his son, who complies and does it over the phone  (of course).

His foray into the world of radical honesty was amazing and educational, but I don’t know if I would personally be brave enough to try it. His attempt at unitasking (focusing and completing tasks one at a time, instead of doing a million things at once) is something I fail at daily, but would love to achieve.

In one sense task-juggling makes me feel great: busy, energized, fulfilled, like I’m living three lives in the space of one. But I also know I’m scattered. I’m overloading my circuits. I know, deep down, this overstimulated, underfocused world is driving us all batty…

I thoroughly  related too and enjoyed this book, what about you?


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