Jon Ronson is fascinated by madness, extraordinary behaviour and the human mind. He has spent his life investigating crazy events, following fascinating people and unearthing unusual stories. Collected here from various sources (including The Guardian and GQ America) are the best of his adventures. Always intrigued by our ability to believe the unbelievable, Jon meets the man preparing to welcome the aliens to Earth, the woman trying to build a fully conscious robotic replica of the love of her life and the Deal or No Deal contestants with a foolproof system to beat the Banker.
Jon realizes that it's possible for our madness to be a force for good when he meets America's real-life superheroes or a force for evil when he meets the Reverend 'Death' George Exoo, who has dubiously assisted in more than a hundred mercy killings. He goes to a UFO convention in the Nevada desert with Robbie Williams, asks Insane Clown Posse (who are possibly America's nastiest rappers) whether it's true they've actually been evangelical Christians all along and rummages through the extensive archives of Stanley Kubrick. Frequently hilarious, sometimes disturbing, always entertaining, these compelling encounters with people on the edge of madness will have you wondering just what we're capable of.
This is an updated edition with new afterword, written and narrated by Jon Ronson.
©2012 Jon Ronson (P)2012 Audible Ltd
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My dad used to tell me, "The truth is stranger than fiction, Ange. You couldn't make this stuff up!"
My dad would love Jon Ronson.
Ronson is known for ferreting out strange people with strange beliefs or behaviors and exposing them to the world. He does it again in "Lost at Sea," a wonderful collection of tales about his odd encounters. Ronson makes himself a central character in all of his stories. He plays the good-natured skeptic who kind of wants to believe - the very role we imagine for ourselves in Ronson's place. His openness helps us empathize with his bizarre cast of characters. In the end, we, like Ronson, are a little bit better for having learned what they have to teach.
Perhaps the best part of this book is that Ronson himself narrates, and no one could do it better. Each emotion is clearly expressed through his lilting accent, which is at times quite hilarious. I've said it in previous reviews and I will say it again, you will want to talk like Jon Ronson for days after listening to his work because everything sounds funnier when you say it like Jon Ronson.
If you love the strange and bizarre, you will love this book. If you are a Ronson fan, you will not be disappointed by this latest installment of the strange and weird.
My top three picks:
1) Doesn't everyone have a solar? (Ronson interviews high functioning robots.)
2) Who killed Richard Cullen? (Ronson invents alteregos with various personality traits to see who is most likely to be solicited by ads for credit cards and bank loans.)
3) Is she for real? (Ronson signs up for a cruise featuring "grumpy" psychic Sylvian Brown.)
QUESTION : DOES LISTENING TO AUDIO BOOKS MAKE YOU SMARTER? If so, I'm. Freakin Genius!
I have read all of Jon Ronson's books. And I'm pleased to say, I have enjoyed them all.
Each book subject matter is different, which is refreshing, all the while he manages to convey a steady stream of self-deflecting observations. There is no way not to like this guy. Plus, you learn so much.
Would I recommend using your credit to purchased this Audio Book? That would be A Huge HECK Yes! Notice I didn't swear. And your welcome. SMILE
I loved The Psychopath Test so had high hopes for this. Unlike that book, Lost at Sea is a collection of various pieces Ronson has written over the years at the Guardian. As a result, this is something of a mixed bag. Some of the content here is great - Ronson's pursuit of the "psychic" huckster Sylvia Browne aboard a cruise ship, is one of many highlights. But there are far too many lowlights too. The longest piece here is about Frank, an eccentric former band mate of Ronson's whose shtick is that he wears a big fake rubber head. Not nearly as captivating a character as Ronson obviously believes him to be.
All in all, worth a listen but Ronson has done far better than this!
Every story was very interesting. I listened to it nonstop on a road trip.
Jon Ronson and his honesty
The slow pace.
A peek into the word of lunatics
I'll probably listen to all of Jon Ronson's books.
People say I resemble my dog (and vice-versa). He can hear sounds I can't hear, but I'm the one who listens to audiobooks.
A collection of Jon Ronson articles, read by Ronson, primarily concerned with what motivates people to do, um, unusual things. There are religious and health cults here, the cults of personality and celebrity, the occult (faux psychics and UFOs), predatory lenders and predatory sex, and all sorts of fringe behavior.
Ronson's M.O. is simple. He is a straightforward interviewer who knows how to get to the point while always making the interviewee feel like he's on their side. He's not about researching every angle or understanding everyone's side of the story. He is singularly focused on understanding his subject and their motivation. This can make him seem overly sympathetic to some bad people, but it's just his way of getting them to open up to him.
There are some clunkers here, but most are at least good and many are in fact stunning. My favorite is the chapter on Insane Clown Posse -- I could almost feel Ronson's jaw dropping along with mine. Also the Who Wants to be a Millionaire cheat, Stanley Kubrick's hoarding, and the school shooting conspiracy in North Pole, Alska, where it's Christmas all year round. It helps of course that Ronson's is reading his own material, even with his quirky delivery.
I listened to every chapter with great interest. I frequently wondered how the author found so much time to do the research and spend the time needed with each of the subjects. Needless to say, I learned quite a bit about a variety of different things from real life super heroes (and mutual combat), Stanley Kubrick, and human euthanasia.
The audio quality umped around a bit and it was apparent the recordings were made in different locations, sometimes within the same chapter. It was a bit distracting. The narrator also sounded tired at times and it was not the same quality as when he read Psychopath Test. Regardless, I will be listening to this recording again.
be humble for you are of the earth, be noble for you are made from stars.
very entertaining stories and a smooth narration make this a enjoyable and thought provoking listen.
Audiobook & podcast Junkie. I'm that annoying person who you see wearing earbuds 24/7.
I love Jon Ronson narrating his own books, which is rare. He's a great storyteller and this random collection is worth the purchase.
This is a series of articles written over the last ten years. He covers a wide range of topics. His observational style is engaging and the topics are interesting.
Very interesting stories, and very well told. Jon puts an interesting (twist? conclusion?) on his stories. I highly recommend it.
Love Jon Ronson's journalistic wanderings and his search for the nature of human experience, good and bad. Wonderful!
"Love this collection of stories"
Each story was interesting and very different from the last. You will get through this book so quickly! The only complaint I have is the audio quality of some of the segments, as some were recorded at different times and in different conditions. However, don't let this put you off, as Ronson it an incredible narrater.
"Fascinating, quirky, exciting stories"
Narrated beautifully by the author - I love listening to him. I've listened through twice already.
I loved Publicly Shamed. This is a collection of articles (excellent in their own right it has to be said) meaning there's no cohesion / guiding principle to drive the book.
If read all his other books first and then read this. It's good but not his best. Still a big fan.5
"Really enjoyed it "
I like the variety of the stories and how Jon Ronson tells and narrates them.
"Mixed bag of Jon Ronson's thoughtful articles"
No opinion - have not read in print.
V similar to other Jon Ronson title, but this is a series of articles. Some similarities to the likes of Michael Lewis or Malcolm Gladwell, but with a lighter touch, a more emotional view, and with Ronson appearing as a character in his own journalistic stories.
Story of the family of the Girl "Lost at Sea"
It is quite a mixed bag but the unifying theme (mostly) is Ronson's desire to get close to the "real" people behind unusual stories or events.
"No Idea What This Book Was About"
Have read many Jon Ronson books over the years and quite enjoyed them,this seems like a collection of oddities that didn't make the cut for other projects,there doesn't seem to be any theme other than poking a cheap laugh at some assorted weirdoes Ronson has interviewed for various reasons.Seems like he's realised he can make a few mortgage payments by sticking his name on anything.dissappointing.
"Another awesome book by Jon Ronson"
Yes as Jon Ronson reading it adds to the enjoyment and intrigue of the stories.
A mixture of stories about some weird and wonderful people.
yes, this one is just as good as the others.
the last story about the real life superheroes was really interesting and shows the kindness of humans.
"Fact always stranger than fiction"
Being a former documentary maker I have always believed real happenings and people are much more interesting than fiction and celebrities and this book absolutely proves that. Some moments of tragedy but mostly it made me laugh more than anything I've ever listened to before. I had my earphones on under a hat listening to it and people must have thought I was mentally unhinged bursting into laughter in public for no apparent reason!
Jon Ronson has the perfect voice for it and it's brilliantly read. It's an example of a case where I think being an audiobook really added to the experience as opposed to reading the book.
"Great slices of fascinating tales"
Loved this from start to finish. Jon gets into the heart of such a wide array of interesting stories its enjoyable from the first second til the last. If you like his work, buy on sight.
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