It's All Relative

It's All Relative

Adventures up and Down the World's Family Tree

Book - 2017
Average Rating:
Rate this:
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. And we have over 80,000 relatives of yours in our database."

That's enough family members to fill Madison Square Garden four times over. Who are these people, A.J. wondered, and how do I find them? So began Jacobs's three-year adventure to help build the biggest family tree in history.

Jacobs's journey would take him to all seven continents. He drank beer with a US president, found himself singing with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and unearthed genetic links to Hollywood actresses and real-life scoundrels. After all, we can choose our friends, but not our family.

"Whether he's posing as a celebrity, outsourcing his chores, or adhering strictly to the Bible, we love reading about the wacky lifestyle experiments of author A.J. Jacobs" ( Entertainment Weekly ). Now Jacobs upends, in ways both meaningful and hilarious, our understanding of genetics and genealogy, tradition and tribalism, identity and connection. It's All Relative is a fascinating look at the bonds that connect us all.
Publisher: New York : Simon & Schuster, ©2017.
ISBN: 9781476734491
Characteristics: xiv, 336 pages :,illustrations, portraits, genealogical tables ;,24 cm.
Alternative Title: It is all relative


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Quote

ellensix Jan 08, 2018

The older I get, the more I'm aware that our current version of Homo sapiens is a link in a chain. Future links will think of us with a mixture of pity and condescension, the way we look at bonobos.

ellensix Jan 08, 2018

The concept of "family" is slowly declaring its independence from DNA. You no longer need to share chromosomes to call yourself kin.

ellensix Jan 08, 2018

It occurs to me that the tension is actually a concentrated version of the push-and-pull in all of us. On the one hand, we want to be a unique individual. On the other, we want to be a member of a family/tribe/community. It's a modern paradox: we aspire to both stand out and fit in.

ellensix Jan 08, 2018

I embrace all sorts of family structures, including gay marriage and gay parenthood. In fact, by pointing out that everyone on earth is family, I'm hoping to de-emphasize the "traditional" family and embrace a thousand variations.


Add a Comment

Nov 21, 2017

AJ Jacob's books are always enjoyable. In addition to the humor, Jacob tries (mostly successfully) to remind us that we are more connected than we realize, and that this awareness has the potential to heal the great divides that exist.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at Library

To Top