Today’s Guest: A.J. Jacobs, author, The Guinea Pig Diaries, The Year of Living Biblically
I’m a little worried about A.J. Jacobs.
His latest book, The Guinea Pig Diaries: My Life as an Experiment, takes the social tests he put himself through in previous books such as The Know-It-All—in which he read the entire encyclopedia—and The Year of Living Biblically—in which he followed every single rule of the Bible—and reveals a funny, introspective man who may be in danger of becoming a caricature of himself.
The Guinea Pig Diaries compiles some of his most brilliant experiments for Esquire magazine, where he is an editor at large, and adds in several new trials. It’s all good, meaty reading, but I’m starting to wince more than laugh at A.J.’s escapades.
Where is the line for a man who once outsourced his life to India but more recently spent a month being whipped—figuratively, I think—by his wife? And how much is too much information for readers about a writer’s personal life?
A.J. JACOBS podcast excerpt: “I found this device on the Internet that I never knew existed: a chastity belt for men. If she’s going to be in control of my life, it would be interesting if she could also control my private parts. So I did order one of those for her and I did strap it on for a couple days…”
Don’t get me wrong. I’m a big fan of A.J.’s work—and have been for a long time. If I could have another writer’s career, I’d admit to wanting his. But I do wonder, honestly, if it might not be time for him to point that giant, sensitive brain of his in a different creative direction for a while.
I’m curious to see if he agrees.