Can a series of radical lifestyle experiments truly change a person?
Kansas City , Mo. –
A.J. Jacobs had a mission to understand the mysteries of modern life - from love to work to fame.
He immersed himself in a series of radical lifestyle experiments, changing the way he thought, talked and looked.
His journey as a human guinea pig allowed him to see the world from different angles - from strictly following George Washington's "110 Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation" to giving up lying, removing his personal filter and posing as a woman to better understand the male species.
Up to Date host Steve Kraske talks with Jacobs about his new book The Guinea Pig Diaries. They also discuss the experiments, how they altered his life, the fascinating insights he gained, how he came up with the idea, and how he pulled off each of his unique trials.
A.J. Jacobs is the editor at large at Esquire magazine and author of two New York Times bestsellers.
In 2004, Simon & Schuster published The Know-It-All. It subsequently spent eight weeks on the New York Times paperback bestseller list. It was praised by Time magazine, Newsweek, Vanity Fair, USA Today, Janet Maslin in the New York Times and AJ's uncle Henry on Amazon.com.
In 2007, The Year of Living Biblically was released. It has spent weeks on the NYT bestseller list, and was praised by Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, The New York Times Book Review, the Los Angeles Times, USA Today and others. It appeared on the cover of the evangelical magazine Relevant, but was also featured in Penthouse. (Jacobs is proud to be a uniter, not a divider).
In addition to his books, Jacobs written for The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, New York magazine and Dental Economics magazine, one of the top five magazines about the financial side of toothcare.
He has appeared on Oprah, The Today Show, Good Morning America and Late Night with Conan O'Brien (though Conan did decline Jacobs' offer to bring the remnants of his shaved beard in a plastic bag).
He is a periodic commentator on NPR's Weekend Edition Saturday, where he discusses important facts, such as the fact that opossums have 13 nipples.
The Year of Living Biblically is currently being developed by Paramount Pictures, and My Outsourced Life is being developed at Universal Pictures.
He's now working on a book called The Healthiest Human Being in the World. It continues Jacobs' experiential journalism series as he tries to perfect his physical condition while simultaneously dissecting the meaning of the word "healthiest."
Jacobs grew up in New York City. His father is a lawyer who holds the world record for the most footnotes in a law review article (4,824). His wife works for a highbrow scavenger hunt called Watson Adventures. He lives in New York with his family. He wonders if he fooled anyone with this third-person thing, or if everyone knows that he wrote this bio himself.