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Yaaaaaaaay A.J.!

1 Oct

For as long as I’ve been an active reader of magazines, I’ve been a fan of A.J. Jacobs. As far as magazine writers go, he’s one of the best.

I first became aware of A.J. when he was a writer for Entertainment Weekly. A.J. would write some of the funniest articles EW published, including one where he spent, if I remember correctly, 24 hours watching TV and documented the experience. (Something like that.) Long story short, when I went for a job interview at EW in the summer of 1996, part of my excitement came from the fact that I might get the chance to meet A.J. On my way out of the office, after blowing my chance to work for my favorite magazine (one of the worst job interviews I’ve ever given), I passed by his office. The door was closed. Oh well.

A.J.’s made quite a career for himself. He is now an editor at Esquire and he’s kept on writing some of these stunty-type articles. A month or two ago, he outsourced his life by hiring two assistants in India, and turned that into a great article. And actually, he turned one of his ideas into a whole book: The Know-It-All: One Man’s Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World, which came out about a year ago and is now available in paperback. It’s a great, very funny book — and I don’t just say that because I got to interview A.J. (!) and he told me it was. It’s an easy, quick read and I highly recommend it. (You can read an excerpt of the book here.)

Anyway, A.J.’s at it again. According to CNet, he’s written a story about Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia that invites readers to post entries and edit others. Call it “the people’s encyclopedia.” Essentially, since the theory is that the Wikipedia readers can collectively rid the site of errors better than a small group of editors could, A.J. thought he’d put his story — which intentionally included a bunch of mistakes about the site — on Wikipedia and see what happened. Brilliant. I love it. This is classic A.J. Jacobs.

The story is going to appear in Esquire‘s December issue. You can get a good idea of its final version by clicking here. Good stuff. Check it out. And hey, help a brother out by buying his book next time you’re in your favorite book store.

Why Can’t We Be Friends?

1 Oct

Boston’s gone baseball crazy this weekend. And some are saying the editors of the Weekly Dig — one of the free publications you’ll find all over Boston — are just plain crazy. You be the judge.

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