The Guinea Pig Diaries: My Life as an Experiment

A. J. Jacobs, Author . Simon & Schuster $25 (236p) ISBN 978-1-4165-9906-7

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.)

Reviewed on: 07/06/2009
Release date: 09/01/2009
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 256 pages - 978-1-4391-1014-0
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Hardcover - 365 pages - 978-1-4104-2081-7
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