2013-14 Season

Tate Lecture Series

A.J. Jacobs

A.J. Jacobs is the author of My Life as an Experiment: One Man's Humble Quest to Improve Himself. A compilation of essays, the book contains such experiments as life-changing quests featuring George Washington's rules of life, marital harmony, marital disharmony, and multitasking.

Jacobs is also the author of the New York Times bestseller The Know-It-All: One Man's Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World, a memoir of the year he spent reading the entire Encyclopedia Britannica from A to Z, all 44 million words of it. The book was featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show and Good Morning America. Time magazine called it "hilarious and touching." The book spent ten weeks on the New York Times Bestseller List and was translated into 11 languages.

His book The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible is also a New York Times bestseller and has garnered rave reviews around the country. For this book, he attempted to abide by the hundreds of rules in the Bible, from the famous (the Ten Commandments; be fruitful and multiply) to the often neglected (stone adulterers and avoid wearing clothes of mixed fibers). Jacobs manages to find humor in his attempts to comply with the more arcane strictures, but also, somewhat unexpectedly, finds comfort and meaning in both the rituals and the meaning of the Old Testament. The book has been optioned by Paramount Pictures.

Jacobs's most recent book, released in April 2012, is Drop Dead Healthy: One Man's Humble Quest for Bodily Perfection. The book (which Jacobs wrote on a treadmill!) documents the author's journey in following the latest medical advice to become his healthiest self—which included trying every diet plan, every workout routine, and every self-improvement tip he could find.

Jacobs is Editor-at-Large of Esquire magazine, where he writes feature articles. Universal Studios has optioned his 2006 article "My Outsourced Life." For the piece, Jacobs hired a team of assistants in Bangalore, India, to do everything for him, from answering his emails to reading bedtime stories to his son.

Jacobs has also written for The New York Times, New York Magazine, and Entertainment Weekly, and has appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, Fox News, and CSPAN, as well as Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. For two years, he was an occasional correspondent for NPR's "Weekend Edition." Jacobs was also senior editor at Entertainment Weekly and was a staff writer for MTV's animated show Celebrity Deathmatch.