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336 pages, Hardcover
First published November 7, 2017
A.J. Jacobs is a constant delight. As I recently mentioned in my spontaneous fan letter to him, he's able to represent himself so convincingly as this relatable everyman --- a good-natured, regular family guy who happens to be curious about a lot of things. Yet somehow he manages to turn that idle curiosity into an unlikely adventure, and then he manages to turn that adventure into a rousing yarn, as enlightening as it is entertaining. Despite his implicit assertions of normalcy, it's clear that he's a creative genius, but, as he demonstrates repeatedly throughout this book, a genius who believes in the equality and and kinship of all and is able to dispatch with pretension and ego. (He even responded to my fan mail.)
The premise of this particular work is that we all represent leaves on a shared family tree, that by studying genealogy we may better understand this fact, and that perhaps by coming to the realization that we are all related, we will learn to treat others with the care and respect they deserve as cousins. This is the story of his research, reflection, and attempt to create the world's largest "family reunion."