A.J. Jacobs, NYT Bestselling Author


Cool Tools Show 099: A.J. Jacobs

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Our guest this week is A.J. Jacobs. A.J. is the author of four New York Times best sellers including The Year Of Living Biblically, and The Know-It-All. CBS will be airing a sitcom based on The Year Of Living Biblically this winter. He is a contributor to Esquire and NPR.

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Show notes:

Ice Bandana ($18)
“Basically, you wrap it around your neck, and it’s a little scarf that has ice in it. Re-freezable ice. I wear it all summer long because we all know … Lots of people wear scarfs in the winter and no one thinks twice. But very few seem to wear these cooling scarfs in the summer. They are just as comfortable and just as helpful. What I do is just put it in the freezer overnight, and then it’s just this little black band. I tie it around my neck during the day, and it lasts a good four or five hours. You can switch them out. It’s like a little air conditioner for my neck. It just cools my whole body down.”

Walker’s Game Ear Low Profile Folding Muff ($13)
“I think last time I was on I talked about these great ear plugs that are like sonic defenders that are designed for the military. This is in the same area. They came about because when I was doing my book, I’m Trying To Be The Healthiest Person Alive, I read all of these studies about how noise is actually a health hazard. It’s an under reported, under valued health hazard and that it can raise your stress level. So I’ve become more aware trying to cut down noise in my life. They look like Beats By Dre. Not quite as cool, but they don’t have any music capabilities. They’re just like the earmuffs that they wear on the tarmacs of airports, but they’re smaller and slicker looking, and I love them. I wear them all the time. I’m wearing them right now. I wear them while I work. I wear them around the house, and they turn the volume down from 10 to five. It’s 31 decibels of noise reduction. My kids sometimes are embarrassed, but they are much better than those huge massive tarmac deals, and also, I used to wear the bose noise canceling headphones, which are great but they cost 300 dollars and I kept losing them.”

Easy Adjustable Reading Portable Desk ($54, 5ct)
“I do like working with my laptop on my bed. Even though I’m not sure it’s the most efficient because you tend to fall asleep. But it is enjoyable, but I do suffer from overheated crotch syndrome when I do that. So, there are several of these brands. I have one, but I’m sure the others are good too. These adjustable laptop trays that have these legs. They look like the AT-AP from Star Wars attached to a tray, so you can adjust the legs and they even have fans, which I don’t bother with. But they’ve got little built in fans to keep it cooler. I found out that does increase by productivity when I’m working on my bed because I’m not quite as distracted.”

Watching movies on double speed on YouTube Red ($10/month)
“This is one of my cool tools that might be a little controversial, and might be a blast from me, for some film lovers and film makers. So please forgive me. But, to save time, I like to watch movies on double speed. If you go on YouTube Red, for like ten dollars a month, you can download movies and then go to the little gear icon in the corner and put it at double speed. You can understand everything. It doesn’t go to chipmunk voice. It just, they speak very quickly. I watched Manchester By The Sea on double speed the other night and it was slow on double speed. So I don’t know how I would have sat in the theater and watched it real life. In addition to the Red, you still have to rent to download a movie. You don’t have to rent regular videos, but you do have to rent. I do pay that extra three dollars so I can watch it in double speed.”