The Guinea Pig Diaries by A.J. Jacobs

Unfortunately for Julie, this book is not about Eleanor Roosevelt. Fortunately for Julie, it includes a month wherein A.J. is her slave. This time around, Jacobs has published a collection of essays previously written for various magazines and since updated.

They include such shenanigans as outsourcing his life to India, living as George Washington did, and - as aforementioned - being Julie's slave. I found myself wanting to conduct some of my own immersion experiments, but given the presence of an 11 month old my only immersion is in sleep deprivation.

I think my two favorite experiments - ones which I would take on myself - are "The Rationality Project" and "I Think You're Fat" (aka: Radical Honesty.) In the former, Jacobs tempers everything with a cold sheen of rationality. It's a bit like Dr. Brennan on Bones, but with more humor and the awareness of what he's doing. The latter encompasses not only saying only truthful things, but completely removing the filter between what you think and what you say. An amusing endeavor...until you remember that society functions on niceties and white lies of omission and then things get complicated.

The beauty of all of these is that not once do you get the sense that Jacobs is trying to be funny. Or trying to be interesting. He has merely stumbled upon something that is interesting to him and is sharing it with anyone else who might have the same interest. The result is a candid look at what happens when you voluntarily change your habits and embark on what is frequently seen by others as whimsical folly.

Luckily it's lucrative enough for him that he continues to be published so the rest of us can enjoy his flights of fancy.

Here he is at TED - a little bit about the essays in this book, but also the Year of Living Biblically:

PS - The Year of Living Biblically movie is still slated for 2011...but Marlan Wayans signed on to star in it and I'm not sure how I feel about that.

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