My Life as an Experiment is a hilarious account by A.J. Jacobs of his success and failures with various life experiments. Some are serious, some are completely ridiculous, but all of them have him headed toward one goal, self-improvement.
Who is to say what constitutes as living a good life? Everyone has a different theory. Well, A. J. Jacobs is testing out lots of them and telling us all about them. He begins the book with the “Unitasker”. In today’s society, we don’t think we are productive unless we are doing two, three or more things at once. AJ tackles this project with great focus, asking his wife if they can turn off the TV during dinner and then shushing her when she tries to start conversation. The task at hand is eating, so that is all he will be doing.
Other experiments include living by George Washington’s moral code, impersonating a movie star and my personal favorite, practicing “radical honesty”. While different experiments lasted different lengths of time, we still receive a full report on the results and an insightful look on the impact each had on his life. While many may complain about the effects of outsourcing, A. J. finds that outsourcing his professional and personal life to India actually has some great benefits. This includes having arguments with his wife outsourced and handled through email by one of his employees.
This book is filled with incredible wit and honestly evaluates how these experiments did or did not improve his life. Reading it might just have more of an influence than you realize. I found myself willing to try a number of these experiments on my own in an effort to see the outcome. But most importantly, it’s the lessons learned from the trials that have you examine yourself from the outside. Not only did I reevaluate my own decisions, but also took a closer look at other people and their actions. From work to home to relationships to how you deal with stress, this book will help you take a new look at them all.