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A.J. Jacobs Books In Order

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Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

The Know-It-All (2004)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Year of Living Biblically (2007)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Guinea Pig Diaries (2009)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Drop Dead Healthy (2012)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
It's All Relative (2017)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Thanks a Thousand (2018)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Puzzler (2022)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

About A.J. Jacobs

A New York Time bestselling author, A.J. Jacobs is an American writer with a lot to say and offer, having written for a number of years now. Largely focusing on memoirs and biographies, he’s known for capturing individuals and people, and then immortalizing them in his work. Highly vocal, he’s a hugely knowledgeable writer who speaks out on a whole range of different issues and topics. Appearing on numerous television shows too, from Oprah to Good Morning America, he’s a much sought after personality and name too.

Often funny and humorous too, he’s massively entertaining as well, something which his scores of fans worldwide have come to appreciate. Setting himself apart from other writers within his field, he very much has his own unique voice, as he’s become an idiosyncratic brand of his own. This approach to his writing has seen him become enormously successful worldwide, as he’s lauded by legions of fans from all over. Writing with confidence, he knows exactly what he wants to say and precisely how to say it, communicating in a clear and articulate manner.

As a commentator, he’s hugely talented and gifted in voicing countless outspoken ideas and beliefs, all whilst making a strong case for himself. Often undertaking large tasks too, he’s known for giving himself huge challenges, such as reading the complete Encyclopedia Britannica and then writing about his experiences. These books then make for interesting reading, as his extensive ‘experiments’ are followed with much anticipation worldwide. With lots more to follow still, he definitely won’t be stopping any time soon either, as his writing career carries on growing onwards and upwards.

Early and Personal Life

Born in New York City in the United States in 1968 on the 20th of March, Arnold Stephen Jacobs Jr. would grow up with a keen interest in writing. Growing up he would attend The Dalton School, followed by attending and graduating from Brown University, as he would continue to hone his craft. He was raised alongside his sister Beryl Jacobs, and born to secular Jewish parents Ellen Kheel and Arnold Jacobs Sr., a lawyer.

Later becoming a journalist, he’s written for extensive publications and outlets, really making a name for himself throughout the industry. He’s a member of the charity ‘Giving What We Can,’ which sees him provide 10% of his lifetime earnings to charity, along with the ‘Against Malaria Foundation.’ Currently living in New York, he’s still writing to this day, living with his wife Julie Schoenberg and their three sons.

Writing Career

The first book that A.J. Jacobs would publish was titled ‘The Two Kings: Jesus and Elvis,’ and it was released in 1994. This book would introduce his signature style of humor for the very first time, allowing him to really make a name for himself. Later, in 1996, he would go on to publish ‘America Off-Line: The Complete Outernet Starter Kit,’ which was a parody of internet manuals of the time.

It was in 2005 that he’d go on to begin his series of ‘immersion journalism’ though, with the book ‘The Know-It-All.’ This style of ‘stunt journalism’ as it came to be known, would see him become hugely popular, writing for numerous different publications and outlets. Winning awards for his work, he’d be well received by a large number of critics and the reading public alike, along with writing many essays and articles too.

The Know-It-All

Coming out through the ‘Simon Schuster’ imprint, this would originally come out on the 10th of October in 2005. Running under the subtitle ‘One Man’s Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World,’ this would be a non-fiction book. A humorous experiment conducted on himself, Jacobs undergoes a monumental task in order to discover its outcome.

Reading the Encyclopedia Britannica from A to Z in its entirety, A.J. Jacobs hopes to take in everything from the complete collection. Despite the protestations of friends and family proclaiming it to be an impossible task, he proceeds to read them all regardless. With thirty-two volumes in total he has his work cut out for him though, as it begins to take its toll on both his home and work-life. Looking to understand what intelligence and knowledge actually means, he also hopes to join Mensa, whilst gaining a place on the game-show Jeopardy!

Much of the humor here is derived from Jacobs and his attempts to cram as much information as possible into his head. With plenty of trivia along the way, it’s entertaining to see how this effects his life, whilst also providing some interesting insights into the nature of intelligence itself. Following what he himself is doing in his life as he reads certain section, it relates the contents of the the encyclopedia in an engaging manner.

The Guinea Pig Diaries

Initially released through the ‘Simon Schuster’ publishing label, this would first arrive on the 8th of September in 2009. Another piece of ‘immersive journalism,’ A.J. Jacobs uses himself as the test subject, seeing whether he can change his own outlook. Containing a series of different tests, it would also run under the subtitle of ‘My Life as an Experiment,’ as he’d become the Guinea Pig.

Another self-experiment, Jacobs this time conducts a number of thought-provoking tests, with himself being used as the ‘human Guinea Pig.’ Dealing with several challenges that could potentially be life-altering, he seeks to provide humor and insight to a range of issues. These experiments include such tests as outsourcing his daily life to a team in Bangalore, including arguing with his wife and answering e-mails. Then he heads off to the red-carpet in disguise as a movie start in order to understand fame, as well as using ‘Radical Honesty’ for a month, whereby he only ever tells the truth.

All of these ideas, whilst funny and entertaining on the surface, really lead the way for some interesting insights. Engaging to read right from the outset, there’s plenty of warm-hearted humor that definitely keeps the reader turning the page. There’s also an essay at the end from Jacob’s wife, and what she had to endure dealing with his many different stunts over the course of the book.

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