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
Making the world better one review at a time.
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.
"Absolutely Brilliant !"
I first "met" Jon Ronson when i picked up a copy of "the men who stare at goats" in the airport. It took me a while to work out if i was reading a true account or a clever parody, it was the former - i was hooked. Since then i have read "the psychopath test" and "them" and enjoyed both very much. However, this latest book is by far the best. I listened from start too finish, only pausing to eat and sleep (i bought it on holiday) Every chapter was a little christmas cracker of bangs and surprises. Some left me feeling sad, some left me feeling incredulous, some made me laugh out loud (the james bond chapter was hilarious) others left me feeling furious. the last one left me breathless and smiling from ear to ear. I loved this book and it will undoubtedly go on my "read (listen) again" list. This is the best book i have read since Malcolm Gladwells' "Outliers" and "Blink" Absolutely brilliant. I cant wait for his next one!
"Take a walk on the left-side."
As much as he undoubtably hates the comparison, Jon Ronson is the more down-trodden, less well-connected, face-for-radio version of Louis Theroux. They both pursue the left-fields of culture, often in seemingly mundane territories such as interviewing semi-washed up TV-show hosts or attending motivational seminars with self-help gurus, but whereas Louis, whose natural habitat is TV, would play events so as to get the interviewee to paint themselves into an emotional corner from which the viewer sees the mask fall away, Jon is more likely to turn inwards into self.analysis and doubt. Often by the end of each story I feel I know more about Jon himself than the victim he is supposed to be dissecting, his inner demons are worn for all to see, and this is what makes Lost at Sea such an enjoyable read. With Louis you feel he is always calmly in control leading his subjects through the steps, but with Jon you always wonder if he'll actually be able to make it to the end of each assignment without first having a break-down. I imagine this is why so much of the material he's covered over the years has been on mentally questionable people of one kind or another, from derranged psychics and their belivers to the "I've been vetted" founder of the Indigo children movement. He seems drawn to the delusional and psychotic. However, I do sometimes wonder if somewhere inside Ron there is still a little child with a less cynical journalistic mission, who secretly hopes to find something truly awe-inspiring such as a UFO or real life super heroes. A few times in the book he does come across some truly amazing people, but most of the time he finds only crack-pots, all beit entertaining ones. A final comment I'd like to make is that in my opinion Radio is Jon's best medium and as such it was great to have Jon, with his almost whispery delivery, narrating his book. I'd also highly recommend Jon's free short stories on Audible. Hilarious!
"More please Jon"
I can't get enough of Jon Ronson's writings, tv programs and radio show. Fantastic story teller and a great view on the world.
"Reliably bizarre giggles from Mr Ronson"
This is the funniest audiobook I've listened to yet, and when it isn't amusing its baffling, shocking or touching. The situations Jon finds himself in are too hilarious to not be true, such as
Who would have thought Stanley Kubrick is the reason why we have post it notes in every pop of colour?
Who knew that Robbie Williams believes in UFOs and aligned being abducted by aliens as much like being in Take That as a teenager?
What happens when someone goes missing on cruise ships?
Jon Ronson's life must be a chain of very stressful or very ridiculous encounters, I would love to delve into his diary and just see what a week looks like. If you've never read his articles before, listening to this book is a great introduction. I'll keep going back to this more than I will a novel just to bask in the bizarreness and check that I heard exactly what he said right - that there are children in Christmas Town who answer letters to Santa as part of their school curriculum?!
Jon Ronson's voice is homely to me - my family are Welsh and his accent warms me. I couldn't imagine anyone else reciting his stories, his delivery is the funniest part.
I giggled on my dry morning commute and will be forever bringing up anecdotes from this book (alongside other Jon Ronson collections - the Psychopath test and Them are others which I would strongly recommend. I spend my spare moments narrowing my eyes at colleagues and weighing up their points on the Psycopath test at least once a week, and you should too, it's a brilliant past time).
Jon is working on a film I believe is called Frank at the moment which I can't wait to hear more about if it delivers more of the same humour as this.
I am now totally hooked on audiobooks by Jon Ronson, and this one did not disappoint - quite the reverse. Like the previous reviewer I found the James Bond chapter laugh-out-loud funny, it's worth buying just for that chapter. But the rest of the book is wonderful too, Ronson asks the obvious, child-like questions that we would all like to ask but generally don't. He is so interested in the people and situations he seeks out and he sometimes shines lights into places that intrepid, investigative journalists would normally go, whilst being rather timorous and only armed by his honest naivety.
I am already looking forward to his next book and also, please audible would you commission him to read his 'The Men Who Stare at Goats'? Please....
"A fabulous journey"
Jon Ronson at his best. Honest and insightful. Kept me entertained for days. You will not be disappointed.
"Jon Roson, as always, never fails to entertain."
Could listen to Jon Roson all day, every day. His mix of stories here told in a honest & intresting way keeps you hooked for the whole book. One of my favourite authors, I can't recommend enough!
This is a group of diverse tales, all weird, fascinating and unique. worth a listen!
"A collection of suprising real life stories"
This is quite a big collection of short stories/articles that Jon Ronson wrote over the years. His style of journalism is very distinct and it is not for every one, he makes himself part of the story. But I quite enjoyed that. I always like listening to a book read by the author because they know how they intended it to be read and for these stories that was definilty the case. I do have to say that I did expect more 'fun' strange stories but there were a couple of truly depressing ones. One of them I actually did not listen to because it is a subject which is bit tough for me personally. But overall I really enjoyed this book.
I did look for other material by Jon Ronson and found that he repeats himself in his books, so if you already own some of his books, make sure you realise there might be some overlap!
"Not a "Them""
Jon Ronson is a great researcher and tells the stories very well. The JK one just adds more fuel to the Saville fire
Less short stories
none in particular
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