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.
Long Time Shopper
Perhaps one of the greatest story tellers I have ever heard in 55 years on Radio or TV, falls flat with this collection of personal anticdotes, where he spends most of his time trying to justify himself and his opinions.I have no problem with his views on God, organized religion, homosexuality, the Orthodox Jewish life and lifestyle, his parents and family relationships and how he is raising his children. Although his views are different than mine, he of course has every right to feel this way. I simply wish he would have handled all of the above subjects as he did with Global Warming..I bought this book to be entertained, because that is what Penn Jillette is suppose to be, an entertainer. This book does not entertain, it justify's what I see as a unique life and made me wonder "didn't you learn to never leave out the funny", at Clown College?
Howie Carr's new novel.
Didn't really, seemed to take everything to personal. Language, did make me turn off book when going through a drive thru in the car.
90 Percent of the stories.
Where can I write to Mr. Jillette to get my money back.
Entertaining at the least, but lacks any substance. If you are an avid Penn and Teller devotee, then perhaps you'll find this worthwhile.
I enjoyed this rambling book that weaves together Penn's views on religion with his personal life and views p.
I would have preferred the author focus more on atheism and a little less on unrelated celebrity anecdotes.
This book was more of a collection of stories from Penn Jillette's life that were crammed into an atheist framework than an actual book about atheism. I am a huge Penn Jillette fan and was really looking forward to a more thoughtful treatment of atheism than this mostly anecdotal book provided. On the plus side: I was grateful to hear Mr. Jillete speak about the solace that atheism can bring and his discussion about the peace that comes from knowing that things just happen; that my father's COPD or my friend's pancreatic cancer aren't ot part of some sadistic entity's plan but rather something that occurred through no fault of anyone. Not enough gets mentioned about how much peace can be found when God is taken OUT of the equation and I appreciate Mr. Jillette for doing just that.
I wish I could say more about this book I finished the book about 2 weeks ago and I do not remember much about it. It has some touching and funny moments by Penn but nothing that really stuck in my brain. there is some stuff about his family and how he felt mourns deaths (a rather nice way with balloons) and going on a zero gravity airplane, there is also some great stuff about magicians and psychics (he hates them). There is also some interesting opinions about religion and politics. As a whole a great if not unmemorable book. Penn's narration was real fun but be warned the book is rather blue.
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.
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