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Publisher's Summary

One Man's Humble Quest to Improve Himself by Living as a Woman, Becoming George Washington, Telling No Lies, and Other Radical Tests

One man. Ten extraordinary quests. Best-selling author and human guinea pig A. J. Jacobs puts his life to the test and reports on the surprising and entertaining results. He goes undercover as a woman, lives by George Washington’s moral code, and impersonates a movie star. He practices "radical honesty", brushes his teeth with the world’s most rational toothpaste, and outsources every part of his life to India - including reading bedtime stories to his kids.

And in a new adventure, Jacobs undergoes scientific testing to determine how he can put his wife through these and other life-altering experiments—one of which involves public nudity.

Filled with humor and wisdom, My Life as an Experiment will immerse you in eye-opening situations and change the way you think about the big issues of our time—from love and work to national politics and breakfast cereal.

©2010 A.J. Jacobs (P)2010 Simon & Schuster

Critic Reviews

“Jacobs' experiments are about understanding oneself, making life more interesting and showing the reader a good time. And I love them for it.” (San Francisco Chronicle)
“Off-the-wall and uproarious.” (Publishers Weekly)
"The virtuoso of this self-as-guinea pig genre." (Time)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Rikki
  • Raleigh, NC, United States
  • 09-12-12

Entertaining but hard to listen to.

What did you love best about My Life as an Experiment?

I'm a big A.J. Jacobs fan and have enjoyed all of his books. This book is very entertaining. But, Mr. Jacobs should get a new narrator. He narrated his own book and I equate his voice to that of Kermit. And, it is trivial, but the music played between chapters is really cheesy.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Jean
  • United States
  • 06-17-12

Incredibly entertaining anecdotes

My biggest complaint about this book was something that AJ Jacobs mentions himself, which is that his voice has a somewhat nasal tone. When I first heard his voice I thought "That is NOT how I imagined him sounding", since I've read his book "The Year of Living Biblically" and saw many photographs chronicling the growth of his beard. But after awhile I grew used to his voice, and he does a good job of being expressive.

I liked that each chapter of the audiobook was based on a different experiment which AJ tried in his life. My personal favorite was the one about outsourcing. It was really funny to picture AJ's Indian assistants actually finishing his chapter on outsourcing for him.

For anyone who is not familiar with AJ's work, I think the introduction that AJ gives at the beginning of the book does a good job of describing the type of experiments he has done for the purpose of his writing.

Since each chapter is based on a different experiment, this book is good for breaking up over a long amount of time as one chapter does no depend upon the previous chapter for reference.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • sarah
  • san francisco, CA, United States
  • 06-03-11

Exactly the right speed for my tired brain

After several heavy science books and a full load of school reading, I was ready to take on a lighter subject. This was perfect. Jacobs, the author, also does the reading and he has a great voice- even tone, lots of intonation, and clear. His stories are varied and all funny. The chapters are all stories of experiments he has done for articles in Esquire. These are great in themselves but Jacobs goes one step further and adds a Coda at the end of each chapter reflecting on the experiment, how much it changed his life, and how it compares to some of the other stories in the book. Some of the chapters might not seem that interesting at first glance (acting like George Washington), but Jabobs makes them interesting through his combination of facts, stories, anecdotes, and attitude.

This would be ideal for a long car ride with a friend or a summer read. It is not heavy material but it is poignant and funny.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • RadicalRed
  • South Lyon, MI, United States
  • 07-26-16

Not A Fan

I had read The Know It All and really enjoyed it, but in this book the author isn't as clever or funny. He comes off much more arrogant and the pieces seem thrown together.

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  • Erik
  • Glendale, AZ, United States
  • 04-29-12

Entertaining!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

This audiobook was entertaining! A.J. Jacobs generally writes short-form pieces for the men's magazine "Esquire" so he doesn't usually drone on-and-on. This is a series of some (8, 10ish?) different "experiments" that he tried on himself by adjusting aspects of his life and personality. Some were more funny than others, but all were entertaining. I don't know if it has changed MY life, but it definitely made my chores easier while listening. (Though, multitasking is apparently not as efficient as one might think, says Jacobs)

What was one of the most memorable moments of My Life as an Experiment?

When Jacobs outsources to India his apology to his wife.

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  • Nancy
  • Bala, Ontario, Canada
  • 04-10-12

A.J. Jacobs Fan

Any additional comments?

I had read his previous books and was looking forward to listening to this one. Did not find this as humorous as his previous works but still enjoyable. Looking forward to his next book.

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  • Rachel
  • Silver Spring, MD, United States
  • 09-26-11

Made the Miles Slide By

I listened to this book as I ran through a chilly autumn, and I was laughing practically from the very first few paragraphs. Jacobs is funny, yet also a bit thought-provoking. It never dragged, and it kept me absorbed so much that I often wished I didn't have to quit running so I could hear a little more.

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  • LillyO
  • Idaho Falls, ID USA
  • 07-28-11

LOL!

Self-effacing humor combined with new ways to look at the world made this a compelling story. My favorite part was the wrap-up after each experiment, showing what he learned, as well as what he "kept" (or didn't) and why. I don't want to spoil it, but the guest writer at the end had me laughing out loud! I look forward to more!

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  • jewels
  • Park City, UT, United States
  • 05-20-11

LOLed

I truly enjoyed listening to this book on walks and while spring cleaning. If you are concerned about laughing out loud in public, lock yourself inside to listen, especially for the first few chapters. It was a special treat to hear his wife speak at the end of the book. I wish we could hear her response after every experiment.

  • Overall

If James Thurber and Dorothy Parker had hooked up

The result would be A. J. Jacobs. Definitely the funniest man in the room. His earlier book, The Know-It-All, hit such a high water mark for wit and wisdom that I feared that book's level of sassy insightfulness would be hard to surpass. His latest entry, My Life As An Experiment, nevertheless, floods the mind with wave upon wave of comic brilliance. Behind all the hilarity, however, there are some 'deep thoughts' ~ but I imagine Jacobs would be the last to admit it. Five-star listen.