Journalist, author and “human guinea pig” A.J. Jacobs will be at SMU Tuesday, April 1 to deliver the Oncor Lecture of the 2013-14 Willis M. Tate Distinguished Lecture Series. The event will begin at 8 p.m. in McFarlin Auditorium.
Jacobs practices immersion journalism, which has led to four books, two times on the New York Times bestseller list and one film optioning. His first title, My Life as an Experiment: One Man’s Humble Quest to Improve Himself focuses on various rules and skills for life. His second, The Know-It-All: One Man’s Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World, comedically details how Jacobs spent one year reading the Encyclopædia Britannica from A to Z. The book spent 10 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and has been translated into 11 languages.
The Year of Living Biblically: One Man’s Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible also made the New York Times bestseller list and has been optioned by Paramount Pictures. The book describes following all biblical rules, and both the humor and the comfort of rituals he found in the process. His most recent book, Drop Dead Healthy: One Man’s Humble Quest for Bodily Perfection, was written entirely on the treadmill and goes over the latest diet and workout plans.
When Jacobs isn’t on his next humble quest, he spends his time at his day job as editor-at-large of Esquire magazine. He practices the same immersion techniques for the magazine, and his piece “My Outsourced Life” was optioned by Universal Studios. For the article Jacobs hired a team of assistants in Bangalore, India to do everything for him, from office work to at-home duties.
He is already planning his next book about a global family reunion and is giving everyone the opportunity to be a part of it. Jacobs received his degree from Brown University and currently lives in New York with his wife and three children.
The evening lecture is sold out, but SMU students may attend for free with their University ID if seats become available; meet in the basement of McFarlin Auditorium at 7 p.m.
Jacobs will answer questions from University community members and local high school students in the Turner Construction/Wells Fargo Student Forum at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 1 in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Ballroom. The Forum is free, but seating is limited. SMU faculty, staff and students are encouraged to attend; RSVP online to ensure a place.