Whether you love him or hate him, Penn Jillette's latest polarizing projects are always of interest to many. In this reliably wise-cracking collection of essays, the ex-carny turned millionaire magician continues his life-long ambition to keep calling it like he sees it, and he sees no god. There are several tidbits of straightforward philosophizing and even proselytizing on atheism as the choice of reasonably doubting people, but Jillette's giant personality frequently looms larger than rational argument, heading unpredictably but continuously into the territory he knows best, which is show biz. Ultimately, the book is a compendium of anecdotes tied together by the ideas of faith, trust, and belief, concepts that Jillette better understands through work and family than he does through any religion.
Nobody else could narrate this book, as Jillette's radio-ready and television-tried nasal rasp is too well known and too much fun. He is in fine form here with some of his best rants, and listeners will immediately judge him as honest, however else they judge him. Jillette earnestly recounts the deaths of his father and sister, pirouetting seamlessly between such sad stories and the more ridiculous moments of his life in Las Vegas. These include deflowering an ex-Kosher Jew with a double bacon cheeseburger, accidentally burning his genitalia on a hair dryer at an ex-girlfriend's in the middle of the night, and tossing his cookies while in zero gravity with Billy Gibbons. True to form, fast-talking Jillette doesn't leave much room for listeners to connect the dots between these tales and godlessness, but that's actually part of what makes them so magical.
Though this book is unlikely to convert to atheism anyone who isn't halfway there already, Penn Jillette's charisma certainly shines through. Surprisingly sagacious and genuinely inquisitive, this listen is guaranteed to both enlighten and enliven. And if it doesn't accomplish either of those noble goals, at least you'll have more than met your monthly quota for gratuitous curse words. Megan Volpert
From the larger, louder half of the world-famous magic duo Penn & Teller comes a scathingly funny reinterpretation of The Ten Commandments. They are The Penn Commandments, and they reveal one outrageous and opinionated atheist’s experience in the world.
In this rollicking yet honest account of a godless existence, Penn takes readers on a roller coaster of exploration and flips conventional religious wisdom on its ear to reveal that doubt, skepticism, and wonder - all signs of a general feeling of disbelief - are to be celebrated and cherished, rather than suppressed. And he tells some pretty damn funny stories along the way.
From performing blockbuster shows on the Vegas Strip to the adventures of fatherhood, from an ongoing dialogue with proselytizers of the Christian Right to the joys of sex while scuba diving, Jillette’s self-created Decalogue invites his listeners on a journey of discovery that is equal parts wise and wisecracking.
©2011 Penn Jillette (P)2011 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
As someone who was raised a strict Christian who only recently let go of her faith, I devour atheism books like I used to devour devotionals. With any ideological shift, there is comfort in hearing confirming views. While this book did have Penn's views on religion (no need for it) as well as the hook hinted at in the subtitle "you may already be an atheist," the book also goes into strange meanderings about his time in a space shuttle, his views on plastic surgery (pro breast enlargement), and also his views on government (bad).
I was confused about whether this was a book on his ideological positions, or a memoir, or an idea that wasn't fully fleshed out so he filled in with random stories of his life.
There are some entertaining and informative stories, but the book definitely lacks a coherent flow. If you're a big fan of Penn, there are enough "inside" stories to make you feel like you know the man. If you're beginning to doubt religion, this book may be persuasive enough to walk you down the road of that doubt. But if you're looking for a clear, concise picture of atheism, there are better books out there.
No. Expected something irreligious, but got instead a guy reporting on (fantasizing?) his adolescent sexual exploits in way too much disgusting detail, and obviously aiming it at the other guy market. It was so boring that I didn't/couldn't finish it. Mea culpa -- if there were reviews, I didn't take the time to read them -- a mistake I will not repeat. If I want porn, I'll get it, and not select a title that purports relevancy to atheism.
That used to be us by Tom Friedman.
Performance ok -- just couldn't take the content.
None that I found...
Jillette should stick to his performance act!
Fun, Funny, and Personal
The dath of Penn's parents. The care takers, the not missing a show and the balloons.
Giving someone their frist bacon cheese burger at the Rio Hotel.
Penn Jillette and the Naked Urinating Elvis
I like having things read by the author; one gains a true sense of what s/he is trying to say, rather than what a narrator/director team thinks is being said (word emphasis counts in verbal communication).
Having never seen a Penn and Teller act, I had no idea what to expect from this. Mostly, he is a bright guy who seems to like the sound of his own voice and enjoys the opportunity to use it. His stuff can be interesting but he gets lost in the rhetoric rather than tightening things up to a logical and succinct point.
Personally, I didn't find his stuff offensive or particularly enthralling. But I got to 'meet' someone who is often in entertainment news and scratched a curiosity itch. I won't do another, but it was something to do while doing dishes.
I would suggest that he pick a subject and stick with it. The atheism arguments are interesting, as are many of the personal anecdotes, but they just seem to be thrown together and shaken up. It's clear he didn't have enough material for the book he started to write and fluffed it up with personal stories. Don't get me wrong. If you like Penn's humor this book will probably work for you.
Yes, it was hysterical.
Who better than Penn to tell his story?
Yes, It is hard to stop.You keep wondering what he willl say next.
Always interesting stories from Penn and this is no exception.
Yes. I took every opportunity to listen to this book until I finished.
Just starting to listen
Remembering the 80's going to see Asperigus Valey.
Language a bit over the top
I would recomend this to certain people with the warning that only parts of live up to the level set by his
While I know Mr. Jillette often using harsh language his constant use in this book made it a hard read (or listen). The language often substracted from the point.
not too bad
Yes, it inspired me to read Richard Dawkins.
Audible rawks! My taste is beyond eclectic and Audible always has plenty to choose from, no matter what mood I'm in!
He's a pretty smart, funny guy and he wants you to know that. Unfortunately, like many a Rand-loving libertarian, his style leans towards ... well ... yelling. Or at least it felt like I was being yelled at when I listened to this for too long at a stretch.
Listened to in smaller doses, I'm sure this would have been more enjoyable. Still, it is worth a listen, especially if you're already a P&T fan or like fairly raunchy but funny tales of rampant hedonism. Warning: he does display a fairly schmaltzy side when writing about his own genetic pool, so be prepared.
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