Tag Archive | A.J.Jacobs

The Know-It-All: One man’s humble quest to become the smartest person in the world. by A.J. Jacobs

This book made me giggle, smile, tear-up, laugh out loud (even spurting my drink of choice) and repeatedly share bits to my children and husband.

He wrote this one earlier than the other two I read. In fact, I read them in reverse order of writing. I enjoyed all three but I loved this one.

The central premise of reading the Encyclopaedia Britannica in one year is not really the point. Clearly Jacobs sets himself unusual challenges and writes about them, and this one was the first. But it is how he weaves memories, tid-bits about his family and reflections on humanity that makes this so interesting and funny. Really this book is a memoir, not an account of an unusual challenge. While each chapter has entries from each letter in the encyclopaedia, Jacobs ties the year’s quest with a narrative structure that involves going onto Who Wants to Be a Millionaire and his wife trying to conceive their first child.

Jacobs professes to Googling himself, so if he still does that and by chance finds his way here: your family is quite amazing. Your father sounds like a really nice bloke. And you are deliciously funny.


The Year of Living Biblically by A.J. Jacobs

How better to spend the first day on leave, how better a sign of leading a gorgeous life, than to read a book?

I previously read and reviewed a book by Jacobs and thoroughly enjoyed it.

This one was brilliant too.

Initially I thought he might mock the bible and living according to different interpretations of it. But while much of the book is humorous, Jacobs researches his topics and is considered and measured in his analysis.

Double joy for me: to read something that entertains and enlightens me.


My Experimental Life by A.J. Jacobs


I love this book! The whole concept of reinventing, improving yourself; trying a new way of living, a new way of viewing things; this has been the premise of my blog.

Jacobs doesn’t just dip his toe into something. He lives it. For a month.

And his account of his experiences, his reflections and his analysis are humorous, witty and philosophical. It’s very personal (using everything in his life – his wife, his kids included) and at the same time very universal. Jacobs researches his topics and presents reasoned arguments with conflicting viewpoints.

I laughed. But I also learnt a lot. About topics as varied as cognitive bias and George Washington and mindfulness.

Brilliant read!

Today’s decluttered items = I bought a lovely set of Wedgwood dinner setting a few years ago. I have kept them packed away, whether from laziness, the old chestnut of “keeping them for good” or no room in the cupboard, I don’t know. But I have two sets of dinner plates that I really don’t like. Fat, thick crockery. They were Mr Sans and were bought cheaply. Why have I hung onto them? Ugly things, they are! Well, they still do their job. That is, they are plates and hold food. I do hate throwing things which are still useable into the bin. But why angst over plates? Out with the old, ugly ones that give me no joy. In with the attractive ones. If they break or fade in the dishwasher, at least they were used and not cluttering up the spare room. One set were already tossed in the bin before I remembered to take a photo. This is the other lot. And there is only three among this lot, so we couldn’t set the table with matching plates anyway. Not a crime I know. But we are not students living in shared accommodation. We own nice plates, so why not unpack them, put them in the kitchen and use them?