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, Science, Biography

Reviews It's All Relative

  • Carol
    Not what I was expecting and didn't find it that funny.
  • Melki
    This is one I picked up solely because of the author. I have no real interest in genealogy, but I'm ALWAYS interested in a new book by A.J. Jacobs. His books are packed with fascinating facts and tidbits. This one, however, is on a more personal level, and much of the information is about A.J.'s relatives. He has some fun tales to tell, but I'm willing to bet most of us have stories of immigrants and wartime heroes hovering in our backgrounds jus...
  • 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...
  • Wanda
    I would call this a book about genealogy for people who aren’t really all that interested in the subject. It is genealogy lite. Which is not to say that it isn’t a good book or that I didn’t like it. I enjoyed it a great deal.I’ve been doing genealogy since I was a teenager and discovered our family Bible, with my great-grandfather’s handwritten records of the family in it. It’s huge & heavy and he bought it from someone in a Californ...
  • 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...
  • 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.
  • britt_brooke
    I love AJ Jacobs but this wasn’t quite as strong as his other experimental ventures. I thought the idea of a global family reunion was pretty ridiculous, but the genealogy bits were interesting, and as always, his writing was very witty and fun. I know next to nothing about my family history so this might just inspire me to do some research.
  • 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...
  • Daniel Chaikin
    18. It's All Relative : Adventures Up and Down the World's Family Tree (audio) by A. J. Jacobsread by the authorpublished: 2017format: 8:07 overdrive audiobook (~225 pages, 336 pages in hardcover)acquired: Librarylistened: Apr 3-11rating: 2Not much to this. This is my first book by Jacobs, and he's charming and reads really nicely on audio and can make almost anything interesting, no matter how thin. And this is really really thin. In sum, we are...
  • J
    Couldn't finish this one. Stopped at Chapter 10: Should Families Be Abolished. In this chapter, the author discusses the 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 ...
  • 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 ...
  • 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...
  • Karyn
    At best, a very light introduction to genealogy and the world family tree.Not recommended for anyone with experience in genealogy seeking any insight.
  • 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...
  • Bob Andelman
    TODAY’S GUEST: A.J. Jacobs, author, “It’s All Relative: Adventures Up and Down the World’s Family Tree,” and his wife, Julie JacobsA.J. Jacobs is always a great guest because he is always getting himself into situations that most people would want to avoid.You know, like that year he spend literally following the life instructions found in the Bible.Or when he turned himself into a lab rat trying out all sorts of ways to get healthy.And...
  • 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...
  • Jeanene
    I really enjoyed this lighthearted look at the author's cousins genealogy project.
  • Ken Heard
    I'm not that interested in geneaology; I've often said I could hold a family reunion in a telephone booth because I have no living relatives and come from a tiny family tree (a sapling, so be it). I am the last branch on whatever family tree I'm involved in. That said, though, I will read anything A.J. Jacobs writes and I'm never disappointed.The thing that works best with his writing is that he seems to really put his heart into it. He truly see...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • Jeimy
    A. J. Jacobs recounts how he brought another one of his over-the-top ideas to life. This time his interest in genealogy leads him to try to break the Guinness World Record for largest family reunion.
  • Sarah
    This was a fun and interesting read--especially for this genealogy enthusiast--but the ending felt a little rushed. I wanted to know more about the Global Family Reunion this project was all leading up to!
  • 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.
  • 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 ;-)
  • Ann
    Funny, interesting and educational; I was sticking post it notes throughout the book. I'm excited to look further into my family tree.
  • John Lamb
    Jacobs has a knack of making topics interesting with a gentle form of Dad jokes that are more endearing than annoying.
  • Karen