It's All Relative by A.J. Jacobs

It's All Relative

New York Times bestselling author of The Know-It-All and The Year of Living Biblically, A.J. Jacobs undergoes a hilarious, heartfelt quest to understand what constitutes family—where it begins and how far it goes—and attempts to untangle the true meaning of the “Family of Humankind.”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. An...

Details It's All Relative

TitleIt's All Relative
Release DateNov 7th, 2017
PublisherSimon Schuster
GenreNonfiction, Humor, Autobiography, Memoir, History

Reviews It's All Relative

  • Angel Hench
    This book was interesting and amusing in some places, but I didn't get the sense that this was an A.J. Jacobs' usual in-depth ultra-obsessed project book. This felt more like A.J. Jacobs-lite. It did get me looking into my family history, which I'm thankful for. I've learned that my great-grandmother's second marriage was to a man almost 15 years her junior (go, grandma!) and my maternal grandmother's family was probably Amish. So, if you are int...
  • Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
    I have loved everything A. J. Jacobs has written so far, and I'm happy to say that I loved his new book, It's All Relative, too. Jacobs takes on huge personal projects in his writing. This time, he takes on genealogy. He does all the DNA tests, and researches his family members from the past, and decides to put on a huge family reunion. Everything he does makes me laugh, and laugh out loud, and it takes something good to have me laughing out loud...
  • Benjamin Thomas
    For those readers like me who have experienced an AJ Jacobs book before, we know that he has a seriously curious mind. And he doesn’t think small. This time around, he has been thinking of his own ancestors and the concept of the World Family Tree (i.e. that we are all, in essence “cousins” descended from a scientific Adam and Eve known as the “Y-Chromosomal Adam” and the “Mitochondrial Eve”). And, of course, Mr. Jacobs dreams up a ...
  • Caryn
    I became a fan of AJ Jacobs after finishing his first book, The Know-it-All. He expertly is able to combine humor with factual info and make a subject you wouldn’t expect to find entertaining, well, entertaining.His newest book starts with the idea that we are all related. It’s so timely, given the popularity of sites like and mail-in DNA kits.This book gives us some examples of his family history, but it also covers genealogical...
  • Randee
    Did you know that we share an estimated 99.9% of DNA with each other? Did you know that most homo sapiens have a small percentage of Neanderthal DNA? Or an atom of Beethoven's? How about that we share 88% of the same DNA with mice? If information like this fascinates you, you'll like the writings of A.J. Jacobs. I read his first book 'Know It All' when it came out. It was his account of reading his way through the encyclopedia. I have never read ...
  • Linda
    Who could get me to read an entire book about genealogy, without holding me hostage and/or threatening bodily harm? The list is very short, and A.J. Jacobs’ name is right at the top. He admits that it’s a topic he became interested in only after he had kids, and became old enough to start contemplating his own mortality. He also admits that it’s one of the most narcissistic pursuits ever. I like honesty in a person. He outlines the ways tha...
  • John Lamb
    Jacobs has a knack of making topics interesting with a gentle form of Dad jokes that are more endearing than annoying.
  • Jordan
    AJ Jacobs is always good for an entertaining read, and this latest book is no exception. If you've listened to AJ's podcast Twice Removed you'll already have an idea of what you will get in this book. (And if you haven't listened be sure to check it out. It was a short lived podcast, but kind of fun.) AJ is on a quest to show that everyone is all part of one big family.There is a light narrative through the book in which AJ is organizing a (hopef...
  • Alex O'Brien
    An interesting and funny account of Jacobs' efforts to research his ancestors, prepare a global family tree, and stage the world's biggest reunion. The book is well-written and will serve as a good guide for budding genealogists, but it's not as deep in content as Jacobs' previous works and I found the ending-his description of the actual reunion-a bit of a let-down. Unfortunately, Jacobs only touches on this event which the whole book had been b...
  • Blue Cypress Books
    Excellent primer on contemporary geneology/family science. I'm already a Jacobs fan and enjoy his cheeky humor in short form (magazine articles) but he was at his best when being serious about his immediate family and the power the past has over our present lives. Would have like more of this and without it, the book felt lighter than Jacobs normally comprehensive work.
  • Joe Jones
    A very fun look at what constitutes family and how it has changed over time. As someone who does genealogy research on my own family I really enjoyed the author's experiences as he traced his own family. A great primer for anyone thinking of doing their own genealogy research to show the highs and lows of what can be a rewarding and frustrating hobby.
  • Betty
    I read his book “The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible.” I wasn’t crazy about it, nor am I for this book. However, it does have its good points. His sense of humor is always welcome. I figure his wife Julie must have a LOT of patience. Can you imagine living with a man that comes up with these crazy ideas? In this book he tackles the World Family Tree. Never heard of it? It is a r...
  • Liesl
    Very informative and humorous, which is par for the course from Jacobs. His latest social experiment is a deep dive into the world of genealogy, and I enjoyed learning about the various aspects of this field and following where Jacobs' curiosity-fueled quest about his family tree took him. The updates that count down the weeks to the family reunion are especially amusing; while not everything came together perfectly in the end, it sounds like a v...
  • Janet
    From the publisher -New York Times bestselling author of The Know-It-All and The Year of Living Biblically, A.J. Jacobs undergoes a hilarious, heartfelt quest to understand what constitutes family—where it begins and how far it goes—and attempts to untangle the true meaning of the “Family of Humankind.” 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 y...
  • Onceinabluemoon
    Loved it, one big giant amazon forest, skip the bonsai tree, we are all globally related. Enjoyed it so much I am making this brief so I can order my DNA kit ;-)
  • Beth Jusino
    Meh. This would have been better if it spent more time exploring genetics, family trees, and human connections, and less time complaining about party planning.
  • Ann
    Funny, interesting and educational; I was sticking post it notes throughout the book. I'm excited to look further into my family tree.
  • Karen
  • Dlmrose
  • Jesse
    I can’t help but like this guy - every book he writes is charming and self deprecating and shows a strong appreciation of other people. This one is no exception.
  • Jen Petro-Roy
    Not my favorite of his.
  • Kyrie
    It's an entertaining look at assorted genealogy sites, groups that focus on ancestry, and how mankind (excuse me, humankind) is related. The binding factor is a family reunion Jacobs is trying to organize in order to get into the Guinness Book of World Records.Because Jacobs is writing it, it's funny, and sometimes a bit touching. It's not as laugh out loud as some of his other books. On the other hand, if you want to get into researching your fa...
  • Denice Barker
    Geneology and history are kissing cousins and I’m into both. I spent years looking for a relative for my grandpa and found a jackpot but there are still so many unanswered questions I think will never be answered. But you move on, don’t you?Not our author, A. J. Jacobs. Especially now, in our fractured, glass shard splintered finger pointing times Mr. Jacobs thought it was important to try to figure out what family really means and if we are ...
  • Michelle
    I love A.J. Jacobs' social experiments. My favorite will probably always be A Year of Living Biblically. Though none of his books disappoint.At a time where our country feels very divided, A.J's latest is about family. If we go back far enough in our family trees, we are all related. If we are all connected to each other, if we could acknowledge that, would we be a kinder society?A.J. Sets out to learn more about his family tree, the ties the con...
  • Red Book Buyer
    I enjoyed it enough. Jacobs has thoroughly established himself as the new Bill Bryson. But there was a LOT of repetition in this book. Like, paragraphs lifted and replaced 20 chapters later. Eh.
  • J
    Couldn't finish this one. Stopped at Chapter 10: Should Families Be Abolished. In this chapter, the author discusses that idea that instead of being building blocks of society, families are actually bad because they encourage an us-versus-them mentality. All people of goodwill should denounce their mothers, fathers and ancestors and embrace the Universe as your light-giving force. Or you might as well be a full fledged warlord. Okay, I exaggerate...
  • Julie
    When I was in my early 20’s, I discovered a wonderful genealogy document that listed all the marriages, deaths and births of this little district where my grandparent’s lived while they were young. The book was such a treasure trove of information. However, there were some discoveries I made that were eye opening to say the least. Genealogy is one of those things that once you start to dig, be mindful that the information you find may be diff...
  • Douglas Lord
    The massively readable Jacobs (Drop Dead Healthy: One Man’s Humble Quest for Bodily Perfection, etc.) pens an addictive book about genealogy and human connectedness that is fascinating and breezy. Akin to Michael Paterniti’s remarkable The Telling Room: A Tale of Love, Betrayal, Revenge, and the World's Greatest Piece of Cheese, this is a personalized journey both conversational and appealing. Though his book is packed with information, Jacob...
  • Meghan
    Yay! A fun read! I almost never have fun reads! So now, let's criticize my fun read! Yay!So Jacobs gets an email from a distant cousin, sparking an interest in genealogy, and decides to have a big ol' family reunion, where, basically, anyone can show up. Sister Sledge is going to sing. The genealogy companies are going to sponsor. Jacobs talks to some people about ... stuff ... Mormons, Hatfields and McCoys, and ... well, the who...