The Guinea Pig Diaries | A. J. Jacobs

Have you ever wondered what would happen if you always told the truth (“Does this dress make me look fat”)? What if you outsourced your entire life—including arguments with your wife—to a call centre in India? Well, wonder no more. A. J. Jacobs has vicariously performed the sort of experiments on himself that we would never have the courage to try!

Jacobs has made a career out of experimenting on himself. His first book was the fruit of reading an entire encyclopedia. His second book recounted his year of Biblical fidelity. His current book, The Guinea Pig Diaries, collects a variety of different shorter experiments into one volume.

This is a funny book: not the sort of “funny” you’d pick up off the humour shelf at Chapters, but genuine intelligent laugh-out-loud funny. Jacobs doesn’t pull out of character when life gets awkward—he follows his experiments through to the end (and makes appropriate apologies after).

If you’ve read his earlier works, you’ll know the punishment his wife has had to endure. Jacobs listened to the emails of sympathy for his wife, and concluded this book with a month of doing absolutely everything she asked him to. That final essay alone is worth the price of admission.

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