The Year of Living Biblically

For a year he followed every single rule from the bible.

Bible followers are in fact picking and choosing what they believe in

A lot of people (i.e. 40% in U.S.) say they take the bible literally. They believe that homosexuality is a sin and the earth is 5000 years old. Jacobs followed all of the rules including obscure ones like: don't wear clothes of mixed fiber, don't shave corners of a beard, you should stone an adulator. Whoever is following the bible is in fact picking and choosing what they follow. The key part is to focus on the right parts like: commandments to be compassionate, grateful or to love ones neighbor.

Do instead of thinking

It is easier to act yourself into a new way of thinking, than it is to think yourself into a new way of acting ( at the end of ted talk)


Bible say: You should be thankful. So Jacobs took it literally and tried to be thankful for everything. When he pressed the elevator button – he was thankful that the elevator came. When he got into the elevator – he was thankful that he didn't plummet into the basement. He was thankful hundreds of times a day and discovered how powerful exercises of gratitudes are. There are hundreds of things a day that goes right but we often focus on three or four go wrong. This was inspiration for his other book.

Thanks a Thousand

I can get 100 compliments and listen to one insult and really focus on that. It is motivated by evolutionary psychology. In prehistory this might have been a good strategy. Early homo sapiens had to constantly look for threats because they lived in actually dangerous environment. They also had to be a lot more obsessed about being negatively judged (shame). In that times if somebody would be cast out from their social pack (think on average 50 members) it meant almost sure death sentence. We run the same software in our heads while being in socio-economic conditions that are much different. To run our lives this way is a terrible strategy. See more Psychology

Drop Dead Healthy

Similar to Bible project Jacobs followed all the health advice there is. He concludes that being healthy is very straightforward: eat not processed food, get a lot of sleep, move more (he said that idea of short bursts of high intensity interval training seems legit to him). But the biggest thing is how to make oneself follow this rules. He tried to force himself to be kind to his older self. He framed a photo of himself to make himself see it everyday. Similar strategy in Be Kind to Your Future Self from The Will Power Instinct

Here is me when I will be 80. Paweł, please be kind to this guy! Made with FaceApp.

Here is me when I will be 80. Paweł, please be kind to this guy! Made with FaceApp.

Rotten Tomato approach to health. There is always one scientist or one study that will disagree with some finding and because it is an outlier it will be visible in the media. It makes sense to stick to what 98% of scientist believes in.


A.J. Jacobs in on Sam Harris podcast, A.J. Jacobs "The Experimental Life" Talks at Google, A.J Jacobs The Year of Living Biblically, Three TED talks, On Daniel Koppelman Show