This audiobook is read aloud by the author himself, which I think adds quite a lot to it. As Ronson navigates madness - focusing primarily on psychopaths - he manages to include a surprising amount of humour, as well as his own varied emotions along the path of his investigation. He meets with a wide range of individuals as part of his research, and it is perhaps this wide scope that makes this both entertaining, but a bit scattered to listen to. There is an attempt to pull together the entire book in the mystery of a strange novel mailed to an international group of recipients (Being or Nothingness), but as a framework it really fails to support the meat of the novel - psychopathy.
From Scientologists to psychiatrists to psychopaths both imprisoned and free, Ronson collects a range of thoughts and opinions on the realms of mental illness. The entire industry from facilities, to patients, to doctors are tied in, The book moves along at a fast pace and it is genuinely impossible to predict what avenue Ronson will investigate next. With a narrower focus, the book would feel a lot more cohesive, but in this manner there are plenty of thought-provoking and fascinating ideas presented. All in all, it definitely made my commute a more interesting one!
I would change the Non-Fiction genre to Fiction. It didn't seem like it was informational, instructional or much useful to apply data. Seemed like a story being told
He earned his third star for being an exotic voice. So if there were something of a different nature I'd not rule it out.
Hello "my name is" Simon and the things I draw-er come true. (Nostalgic chalk character)
If I was Tony in the psychopaths hospital setting. I might even wear a fancy jacket.
Glad it was a quick listen.
Jon Ronson reads his own first person narrative here. This book was a very enjoyable 7 hour treat, and I will definitely get Ronson's other books for long car trips. The book touches lightly on many topics surrounding the issues of psychiatry, mental illness, and psychopathy, but it does so by focusing on specific people. Even though important topics are brought up (i.e. influence of the pharmaceutical industry on treatment), the book does not go into great depth about them. Maybe "infotainment" is the perfect label. Ronson ends the book still full of doubts about what's real and what's wrong.
Although this modern journalism where the author includes himself as a character can get tiresome and self-centered with some writers, I liked it here. Part of it reminded me of the movie Adaptation where Charlie Kaufmann wrote himself into his own script and said he's Ouroboros. In one scene from the book, Ronson goes into a house and describes it as something created by the Queen of Narnia. Later in the book, while he's making interview notes, he says "I put in my notes to be sure to say something about the Queen of Narnia."
I only gave the performance four stars because Ronson's voice got a little scratchy. Beware: there is a great deal of profanity and some disgusting imagery in this book (because there are descriptive parts about crazy people). You wouldn't listen to this book with kids in the car.
Delightful, thought-provoking, haunting
When Jon Ronson knocks over the tray in the train: I hadn't laughed so hard for a long time
Seldom does one come across a book that so surprises, delights, stimulates, teaches and questions. I have given eight copies to friends.
I would definitely recommend this book!
Jon Ronson has a way of presenting his experiences in a very emotionally connected way making you both anxious and scared at moments, and laughing hysterically at others.
It is hard to stop listening. Would be perfect for a long flight.
This is Ronson's second best book behind Lost at Sea.
Beth reads books. She holds them in her hand and she turns the pages and reads the words. I download, plug in, and listen.
usually i speed up a book towards the end, but not with this book. maybe it was the way he read it. maybe it was just the right length. maybe it was just that interesting.
I didn't know much about this book and never heard of jon ronson or the staring at goats story. and while listening i kept wondering if this was fiction or non-fiction.
Yes, and I have and they liked it! What a sense of humor this author has and funny insights into some pretty creepy people.
Jon Ronson of course, seeing these people through his eyes was just the best.
I don't want to give it away but when he goes into tracking down the psychopaths and gives his own twisted brain insights into what he thinks they're thinking.
I had heard reviews and stories about this book that tweaked my interest, but was not expecting to enjoy it as much as I did. First, I love Jon Ronson's voice. His delivery reminds me of Ricky Gervais, and his writing is frequently just as funny. But his method of reporting the story he has uncovered obviously involves extensive research as well as his perception of the comic aspects of the story. This book explained the amazing increase in the diagnosis of childhood disorders that I observed in my own work over the last 40 years and made me even happier to be retired. I look forward to listening to another of his books.
I'd heard about the Psychopath Test.. sort of on accident.. With a The Daily Show rerun playing in the background while I made dinner.. What.. A year? Several years ago? I made a point to stop what I was doing and go sit down for what remained of the interview, I remember. Now, I don't remember what the interview was about, except The Psychopath Test. I had come to think of it as one of those self-help books? With questionnaires for the reader to determine if they should be committed and hugging themselves in a nice white jacket, or at least drugged up.
Uhm. It's not.
It's not that at all, as you can tell from the summary. But that's what brought me back to it during the Halloween sale.It is sort of a collection Ronson has gathered on his sort of.. unintentional journey to discover what, exactly, goes on with mental disorders. Some of the things he writes about have me a little worried for the people who more or less run the country.. But take it all in with a grain of salt, just like he did. Though you will probably start analyzing everyone you know anyways.. Since he DOES include the checklist for the actual Psychopath Test. I've had some fun with it.
The book is a little dry and dragging at some points... But it is all very eye-opening. It's put yet another slant on the way I look at the world, which is what he was aiming for, I think. To educate people about this industry, and the industries these people affect and rule.
Besides, Ronson's narration brings a life and texture to the script that had me giggling all the way down the interstate. I've become a fan, of course, and his other books are on my wishlist, waiting for spare credits.
Full disclosure: I'm an enormous Jon Ronson fan. I heard "Lost at Sea" before listening to this book and it was mesmerizing. I feel the same way about this book. He's not only a really genius and accessible writer but a great narrator. Part of why I listen to his books and don't read them is because I want him to read them to me. The book is really, really interesting and you can't help but wonder how many psychopaths you know after reading it. It also makes you rethink psychiatry and psychology and the fact that they are not exact sciences. One man's ADD can be another's bipolar disorder. However, it also made me really respect the fields (and realize exactly how nuts Scientologists are).
Just really wonderful... A+++. I HIGHLY recommend this book!