Best-selling author A.J. Jacobs is no stranger to big projects. After reading the entire Encyclopedia Brittanica for his book The Know-It-All,Jacobs spent a year trying to follow the Bible as literally as possible for his 2007 book, The Year of Living Biblically. For his most recent release Thanks A Thousand: A Gratitude Journey, Jacobs tracked down everyone involved in producing his morning cup of coffee– from the farmer to barista and everyone in between — just to say thank you. Jacobs was kind of enough to answer our questions about the book, and, of course, let of know what coffee he’s drinking these days.
First of all, congratulations on your new book. Where did the inspiration to Thanks a Thousand come from?
It started a couple of years ago. I’d read about all the many health benefits of gratitude – both mental and physical health – so I decided to say a prayer of thanksgiving before meals. But I’m not religious. So instead of thanking God, I would thanks some of the people involved in my meal. I’d say, “I’d like to thank the tomato farmer, and the cashier at the grocery store who sold me the tomato.” And one day, my 10-year-old son said, “You know, dad, those people can’t hear you. If you really cared, you’d go thank them in person.” And I thought, that’s a great idea. That would make a lovely book. So that sparked the journey….