A.J. Jacobs has received some strange emails over the years, but this note was perhaps the strangest: “You don’t know me, but I’m your eighth cousin. And we have over 80,000 relatives of yours in our database.”
And so begins A.J. Jacobs’s quest to build the biggest family tree in history. In an era of us-versus-them thinking, this book is a hilarious, heartfelt and profound exploration of what binds us all – where family begins, how far it goes, and the science that is revolutionizing the way we think about ethnicity, history and the human species.
This book is about A.J. Jacobs’s family. But it’s also about your family. Because it is the same family.
A.J. Jacobs is the author of the New York Times bestsellers The Know-It-All,The Year of Living Biblically, and The Guinea Pig Diaries. He is the editor at large of Esquire magazine, a contributor to NPR, and has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Entertainment Weekly. He lives in New York City with his wife and kids. Visit him at AJJacobs.com.
'The Sower", the Simon & Schuster logo, is perfect opening icon for this story about human seed sown by our common ancestors out of Africa and how you and I are related to the Jacobs clan. Like AJ's previous hilarious books, this one involves way-over-the-top performance art -- this time the mother of all family reunions, at which I sang "We are family" (and the rest of you 7.5 billion were expected to sing along). Genealogy is now, deservedly, tied for the top hobby, along with other ancient biotechnologies, gardening and sex. You could have no better guide than ace jovialist and awesome jester, AJ. Now, more than ever, we celebrate our connections, we read, we smile.'
– George Church, author of Regenesis
‘[An] enjoyable…light-hearted blend of popular science and sociology.’
– Irish Times
‘[A] reminder that family history bonkers and magnificent in equal measure.’
– Who Do You Think You Are?
'Over the years, many authors have weighed in on the mixed bag that is family, but few have done so with the keen eye, sharp tongue and big heart of A.J. Jacobs.'
– Washington Post
'It’s A.J. Jacobs’s best book yet!'
– Kevin Kelly, co-founder of Wired and author of The Inevitable
'It's All Relative is the funniest, most thoughtful, most original and entertaining book about family that you will ever read and wish you'd written.'
– Mary Roach
'An incredibly moving, funny and inspirational read, exploring the utopian dream that the endeavours of family historians across the planet can reunite us as one happy family.'
– Nick Barratt, consultant genealogist on Who Do You Think You Are
'A hilarious read from beginning to end.'
– Adam Grant, New York Times bestselling author of Give and Take, Originals, and Option B with Sheryl
'A terrific read and A.J. is a terrific writer…funny and super-interesting.'
– Michael Ian Black
'Esquire contributing editor Jacobs (The Year of Living Biblically) muses on the nature of family and the interconnectedness of humanity in this entertaining introduction to the world of genealogy...With short, lively chapters and an easygoing voice, Jacobs keeps the story flowing.'
– Publishers Weekly
'Whimsical but also full of solid journalism and eye-opening revelations about the history of humanity, the book is a real treat.'
– Booklist, Starred Review
'The astonishing discoveries he makes... remind us of the common bonds that unite us as a single global family. As Jacobs’s (however distant) cousin, I admit I may be biased in singing his praises, but as It’s All Relative proves, who isn’t?'
– Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
'Consistently thought-provoking...and his natural gift for humor lightens the mood of even the most serious discussions. A delightful, easy-to-read, informative book.'
'A.J. Jacobs... takes us on another unique adventure that pits idealism vs. practicality: Bringing about world peace and harmony by finding “cousin” connections among people throughout the globe and then hosting a “Global Family Reunion.”'
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