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Thanks a Thousand

A Gratitude Journey
Narrated by: A. J. Jacobs
Length: 3 hrs and 12 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (5 ratings)

Non-member price: $19.74

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Publisher's Summary

The idea was deceptively simple: New York Times best-selling author A.J. Jacobs decided to thank every single person involved in producing his morning cup of coffee. The resulting journey takes him across the globe, transforms his life, and reveals secrets about how gratitude can make us all happier, more generous, and more connected.

Author A.J. Jacobs discovers that his coffee - and every other item in our lives - would not be possible without hundreds of people we usually take for granted: farmers, chemists, artists, presidents, truckers, mechanics, biologists, miners, smugglers, and goatherds.

By thanking these people face-to-face, Jacobs finds some much-needed brightness in his life. Gratitude does not come naturally to Jacobs - his disposition is more Larry David than Tom Hanks - but he sets off on the journey on a dare from his son. And by the end, it’s clear to him scientific research on gratitude is true. Gratitude’s benefits are legion: It improves compassion, heals your body, and helps battle depression.

Jacobs gleans wisdom from vivid characters all over the globe, including the Minnesota miners who extract the iron that makes the steel used in coffee roasters, to the Madison Avenue marketers who captured his wandering attention for a moment, to the farmers in Colombia.

Along the way, Jacobs provides wonderful insights and useful tips, from how to focus on the hundreds of things that go right every day instead of the few that go wrong; how our culture overemphasizes the individual over the team; and how to practice the art of “savoring meditation” and fall asleep at night. 

Thanks a Thousand is a reminder of the amazing interconnectedness of our world. It shows us how much we take for granted. It teaches us how gratitude can make our lives happier, kinder, and more impactful. And it will inspire us to follow our own “Gratitude Trails”. 

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio. 

©2018 A. J. Jacobs (P)2018 Simon & Schuster Audio / TED

What listeners say about Thanks a Thousand

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  • A. Yoshida
  • 14-05-2019

Feel-Good Book

In addition to gratitude, there are interesting facts woven into the stories. When the author is thanking people like the coffee grower and people working in the water agency, he includes facts about coffee and water maintenance. There is one part where he goes off on a tangent and is talking about himself (what he's thankful for in his own life). He should have included more stories from people who made his cup of coffee possible. Other than that, it's a nice, feel-good kind of book.

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  • User
  • 27-03-2019

Light read with a lot of depth

AJ Jacobs did a marvelous job showing how everything in our world is so interconnected. The concept in an of itself is mind boggling, but he kept it concise, understandable, relatable, and applicable. My favorite aspect of this book is how it plants the seed to look for all the interconnectedness in my own life, as well as show how one seemingly mundane job is indispensable to the bigger picture. The book is uplifting and humbling at the same time.

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  • Jason Sanders
  • 05-01-2019

A Big Thanks!

This book is all about gratitude and how to put it into perspective. Great book, lots of funny points, and overall a big help to all. Thanks to A.J. Jacobs.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-12-2018

Good but not what I expected

It was not what I expected because when I read the description I got the impression that the story would be more entertaining, that it would be a little bit more about travel and adventure. Still, the book is good, it has a very good point and gets you thinking. We should all practice gratitude more. Overall I enjoyed it.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Robert I. Maccuspie
  • 26-11-2018

Become more grateful

I love how deeply this book makes me think about all of the gratitude I could choose to have for just one thing in my life, my morning cup of coffee.
A well written story into this personal journey of making one’s life better and being less angry and more appreciative of all the positive things in our world, and some not so positive things as a consequence.
Thanks to you for reading this review, Thanks to AJ Jacobs for writing then narrating this book, and Thanks to a mentor who recommended this book to me.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Chad B Wickland
  • 16-11-2018

Brilliant, witty, funny

What a great story of AJs journey of thanking everyone for coffee. As a coffee lover myself, I found this a really great listen. Thank you AJ!!

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 13-02-2019

Great if you like NPR

It's a great idea, but I found the writing and the reading annoying. AJ is sort of a metrosexual, postmodern guy and the book reads like an NPR piece or maybe a TED talk.If you like that sort of thing, this book is for you.

The book effectively recapitulates Milton Friedman's excellent analysis of the pencil which can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R5Gppi-O3a8

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  • Mel
  • 14-09-2020

Sound issues

great book as long as you don't use a Bluetooth device to listen. Bluetooth makes it sound like its skipping.

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  • Hallie Kloots
  • 09-07-2020

not what i thought

this book is more about coffee than anything. no real directions on thankfulness after 2nd chapter.

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  • W. & S. Green
  • 28-01-2020

Not exciting, but effective

Looking back on this book, it strikes me as not terribly interesting. It’s predictable, repetitive, and would seem to be a bit cliche. But at the same time, it was very effective. Since I started the book, I have found myself thinking about what I’m grateful for much more frequently than before. I have been using one of the techniques the author describes as I go to sleep and at various times throughout the day. So I highly recommend this short little book.

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  • walkietalkie
  • 25-03-2019

Short, sweet and thought-provoking

Another interesting and engaging AJ Jacobs adventure. I love that it makes you think about how you show gratitude, how people may receive thanks and how we should be more grateful for the everyday things we take for granted (and that can quickly frustrate us when they don't work quite right). It also reinforces the notion of interconnectedness, and reminds us that our social context shapes our expectations and our perceptions of others, and highlights that this is often as much about luck/chance as it is about our own efforts. So with that in mind I am grateful to AJ for taking the time to explore these issues and to share them with the world. I appreciate that he has the opportunity to do this so we can all learn from his experience. And I'm thankful for the joy and fun I had listening to this book, which brightened up my day, and was as much to do with AJ's style of writing and narration as it is the content.