Magazine article Psychology Today

Hello, Cousin Judy

Magazine article Psychology Today

Hello, Cousin Judy

Article excerpt

ONE QUESTION FOR A.J. JACOBS

A few years ago, writer A J. Jacobs set out to explore his genealogy. He not only found out about 108 million relatives he didn't know he had, he also learned of the many possibilities of ancestral mapping and genetic technology. Jacobs recounts his discoveriesinanew book, It's All Relative: Adventures Up and Down the World's Family Tree, -jennifer bleyer

HOW DID DELVING INTO YOUR GENEALOGY AFFECT HOW YOU SEE PEOPLE, BESIDES MAKING YOU REALIZE THAT YOU MAY NEED A BIGGER TABLE FOR THANKSGIVING DINNER?

My nature is a little bit misanthropic. I'm more Larry David than Tom Hanks. But now when I get annoyed at someone, I make a conscious effort to remind myself-you know what, that guy who just cut me off in line at the drugstore probably shares a 20th great-grandfather with me. And shouldn't I have a little respect for my 20th great-grandfather? Shouldn't I forgive my cousin? If my ancestor were here, he'd say, "Hug it out, kids."

That feeling is something I've come to call the Judge Judy Effect. I'd always hated Judge Judy. I found her so obnoxious and shouty. …

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