What would life be like if you could outsource your emails, phone calls, and arguments? What if you could go to the Oscars disguised as a movie star or spend a month practicing Radical Honesty? In a collection of hilarious and thought-provoking experiments, author A.J. Jacobs becomes a human guinea pig, putting his life, his career, and his marriage on the line all for the sake of science (OK it’s not that dramatic, but you get the idea).
In The Guinea Pig Diaries: My Life as an Experiment, Jacobs spends a year committing to various social experiments. He begins by hiring a team in India to handle everything from unwanted emails to disagreements with his wife and quickly learns why so many companies decide to outsource overseas (I mean, after reading this…I’d consider it). He has a personal assistant to handle day-to-day dealings and also has someone to help him draft emails to pushy bosses and disgruntled friends.
After a quick jaunt outsourcing to India, Jacobs then spends a month practicing Radical Honesty – a movement that encourages us to remove the filters between our brains and our mouths…yup, it’s just what you expect.
An unnerving month spent telling the truth no matter what the cost is also followed by an undercover operation to the Academy Awards, a commitment to ultimate rationality, a religious following of George Washington’s Rules of Life, and then the coup de gras, a month spent at his wife’s every beck and call.
A funny and entertaining read, The Guinea Pig Diaries follows a series of other experimental books by Jacobs, including The Know-It-All, where he reads the entire Encyclopedia Britannica from cover to cover in a quest to learn everything in the world, and The Year of Living Biblically, where he follows every single rule of the Bible.
Witty and conversational in tone, The Guinea Pig Diaries never failed to entertain…and Jacobs did a great job keeping me intrigued in his conquests. Just like the Morgan Spurlock’s and the Michael Moore’s of the documentary world, Jacobs puts it all out there, ignoring his pride and accepting full-fledged embarrassment all to answer one simple question…why?
Fun, entertaining, and quick to read, The Guinea Pig Diaries answers questions we have all had at some point in our lives…and may even inspire you to lead one or two social experiments of your own!
Looking for a new book to read? Check in every Friday for a “Bee Happy” post, where I share reviews of books I’ve read or other book-themed lists.