A.J. Jacobs has turned the phrase "learn by doing" into an art form. For starters, he has read the entire Encyclopedia Britannica and followed every rule in the Bible for a year. In his latest book, The Guinea Pig Diaries (Simon & Schuster), he outsources his life to India , follows George Washington's rules of life , and practices radical honesty for a month, among other things. Curious about what he has learned from all this, we asked Jacobs to tell us his top four rules to live by.

1. Honor the Sabbath: "We live in a society where it's all work all the time. So there's something special about this one day each week where we can really connect with our families and just kick back."

2. Be grateful: "It feels good to be thankful for the hundreds of things that go right every day as opposed to focusing on the three or four that go wrong."

3. Value humility: "I've learned that humans are born to be delusionally arrogant. Something like 70 percent of people think they are above-average drivers, and that's obviously impossible. A dose of humility would make our world a lot better."

4. Stop gossiping: "I learned this one from my Bible experiment. It really helped my life because when I stopped speaking negatively about people, I stopped thinking negatively as well. I became much more positive about my species."

More from A.J. Jacobs: How much is too much to give to charity?

More Rules to Live By


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