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A. J. Jacobs


A.J. Jacobs is the author of two New York Times bestsellers: The Know-It-All and The Year of Living Biblically. His most recent work is The Guinea Pig Diaries: My Life as an Experimenta collection of his articles, both new and previously published. He is the editor at large at Esquire magazine. He has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Entertainment Weekly, and is an occasional correspondent for NPR. He lives in New York City with his wife Julie and their children. You can visit his website at

After his hilarious chronicle about reading the Encyclopedia Britannica from A to Z actually a-ak to zyweic our fearless author, A.J. Jacobs, tackles a new intellectual adventure an exploration of the most influential book in the world: the Bible. A.J. determined the best way to explore the Bible was to live it, as literally as possible. For one year.

There are 700 rules in the Old and New Testaments, A.J. discovered some wise, some general, some contradictory. Some from Jesus, some from prophets, some from God. A.J. assembled a board of spiritual advisors rabbis, ministers and priests, some conservative, some of them one four-letter word away from excommunication who would provide guidance and advice throughout his journey. But the journey was, by necessity, arbitrary. DIY religion.

In The Year of Living Biblically, A.J. explores the Bible chronologically, from Old Testament (crucial, given the Ten Commandments) to the New Testament (crucial, given Americas powerful evangelical movement and its literal interpretation of the Bible) and lives the Bible on every level. He obeys the Ten Commandments, he is fruitful and multiplies (A.J.s wife had twins during his year!); he remembers the Sabbath and keeps it holy. But he also obeys the oft-neglected rules, such as avoiding clothes of mixed fibers, and refraining from shaving the edges of his beard (Leviticus 19:27). So throughout the year A.J. is commonly mistaken for a member of ZZ Top. Or Moses.

While A.J.s wit and humor are irrepressible, The Year of Living Biblically is not acerbic satire. As with The Know-It-All, this is a quest for knowledge. While the struggle of a modern-day Manhattanite attempting to live by 700 Biblical rules is necessarily hilarious, A.J. also treats his subject(s) with great respect. Whether visiting Negev, the huge desert in southern Israel where Abraham, Isaac and Jacob once dwelled; or the Answers in Genesis Museum (under construction) near Cincinatti, Jacobs gainsand providesinsights into the humnan desire for a connection to the spiritual.