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

guineaTitle: The Guinea Pig Diaries: My Life as an Experiment
Author: A.J. Jacobs
Genre: Non-fiction
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source: Print copy from my own library.
First line: Over the years, I’ve gotten a lot of suggestions.

I thoroughly enjoyed Jacobs’ first two books, The Know-It-All and The Year of Living Biblically, and so when my sister sent me a gift card for my birthday, The Guinea Pig Diaries: My Life as an Experiment immediately came to mind. I knew it would be a fun read – what I didn’t know was that I’d devour it in a couple days’ time!

Jacobs is a curious man, and one who is willing to try almost anything for the sake of what he will take away from the experience – and for writing material, of course. Each chapter of this book represents another experiment that he tried – most of them lasting for at least a month. There was the month that he posed as his beautiful nanny and signed up for online dating; the month that he lived by the tenets of Radical Honesty – no lying and no filter between brain and mouth; the month that he tried to live by George Washington’s 110 Rules of Civility; the month he spent uni-tasking; and the time he posed naked for Esquire. And, in response to all the letters telling him that his wife is a saint, he spent a month obeying her every wish and command.

Jacobs has a quick wit, a keen eye for human foibles, and a willingness to look like a fool for the sake of the story. I loved each and every chapter – and couldn’t help wishing my husband would try the “whipped” experiment. It’s not very often that I get as engrossed in a non-fiction book as I do in a novel, but this book grabbed me and kept me turning the pages, very often laughing out loud and wishing there was someone around that I could read a section aloud to. I will definitely be looking forward to Jacobs’ next book.

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28 Responses to Book Review: The Guinea Pig Diaries: My Life as an Experiment by A.J. Jacobs

  1. Sandy
    Twitter: youvegottaread

    I’ve heard so much about this book, and the whole idea just cracks me up. How many people would put themselves through stuff like this? I’ll have to remember this when I need a good laugh!
    .-= Sandy´s last blog ..Wifey – Judy Blume =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies

      Sandy – it is a very fun read – and his wife truly is a saint for putting up with all his experiments!

  2. All of this author’s books are on my enormous to-read list. Thanks for the great review. I’m looking forward to reading all of his work.
    .-= Amanda (A Bookshelf Monstrosity)´s last blog ..All Things Kid Lit: Mouse and Mole: Fine Feathered Friends =-.

  3. Kathy says:

    I love books like this, for some odd reason. I really want to read this one. Thanks for your review.
    .-= Kathy´s last blog ..Review: Push =-.

  4. M Light says:

    I haven’t read any of his books, but you’ve convinced me to try one!

  5. Vasilly
    Twitter: Vasilly

    Jacobs is such a great author! He’s funny and make readers wish his books were longer. I cannot wait to read this. Thanks for sending it.
    .-= Vasilly´s last blog ..Sunday Salon: A Year of Reading Deliberately =-.

  6. nomadreader
    Twitter: nomadreader

    I loved The Know It All and keep meaning to read more of his books. I’m glad to hear his shtick hasn’t gotten old. I’m hoping to start reading more nonfiction again, so I’ll put this on my list!
    .-= nomadreader´s last blog ..dinner and a movie: Invictus =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies

      Carrie – I’m so glad I found The Know It All – it introduced me to Jacobs.

  7. Amy says:

    Sounds like a good one!!!
    .-= Amy´s last blog ..40 LOAVES by C.D. Baker and GIVEAWAY =-.

  8. Belle
    Twitter: msbookish

    I am so glad you introduced me to Jacobs – the Guinea Pig Diaries was my first book by him, and I am so looking forward to reading his other two, one of which is sitting right here in my tbr. He is so funny, but so insightful at the same time!
    .-= Belle´s last blog ..My New Disclosure Policy =-.

  9. softdrink says:

    I’ve only read his Year of Living Biblically, but it made me feel for his poor wife!
    .-= softdrink´s last blog ..Say Everything =-.

  10. Stephanie says:

    I loved Jacobs’ other two books, so I am looking forward to this one.
    .-= Stephanie´s last blog ..Library Loot =-.

  11. I hope to read Jacobs book, The Year of Living Biblically this next year. This one sounds good as well. I like these types of books, especially the added humor factor. 🙂 Thanks for the great review, Carrie!
    .-= Literary Feline´s last blog ..The Search for the Perfect Gift – Virtual Advent Tour =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies

      Wendy – I love the way that he combines his humor with pretty astute observations about human nature.

  12. I really don’t like the cover of this book, so I haven’t felt drawn to it, but your review makes me want to read it. It’s definitely going on the wish list!
    .-= avisannschild´s last blog ..Similar covers: Hands (part 1) =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies

      Avis – isn’t funny how a cover can cause such a visceral reaction? I’ve had books that I’ve avoided because of cover art, and it usually takes a strong recommendation from someone whose taste I trust to get me to change my mind!

  13. Pingback: Mommy Brain » Bookish stuff

  14. S. Krishna
    Twitter: skrishna

    I really want to read this one, so I’m glad to know it’s good. Thanks for the review!
    .-= S. Krishna´s last blog ..The Girl Next Door – Elizabeth Noble =-.