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 fool proof 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.
©2012 Jon Ronson (P)2012 Audible Ltd
This is an interesting book, period. Non-fiction human interest-type books can sometimes be only moderately interesting when the writer is too heavy on just the facts, but this one is fantastic. The author writes about issues which are unusual or out of the ordinary, and all subjects are portrayed in an articulate way providing Mr. Ronson's observations as not to be overbearing. He is also a bit of a cynic, but not in a smarmy way. Just get the book, you won't be sorry you did.
There were several, but the most interesting story dealt with North Pole, Alaska and the social situation up there. Many good observations re the town's 24/7 Christmas theme. Most of the occupants seem depressed or angry with a veneer of "happy, happy, happy!!".
He reads the book he's authored. He's not a professional voice actor and his reactions to the things he's reading about are genuine - this shows through in his voice as he reads. Not a polished professional which is perfect for this book.
Enjoyable, thought-provoking and well worth the credit.
On the road quite a bit either solo or with kids in the car. Love finding entertainment for that broad range.
I LOVED the last chapter (~60 minutes) on America's Real Life Superheroes. Unlike the other chapters that had heavy or dark material, this one made me laugh out loud.
He gives his works a great voice, with meaning and intentions that may be lost if reading printed works.
For those of you who have heard the author read his works on weekend NPR, there's more where that came from. Probably best listened to in isolated chapters between other books.
This book started out very strange but light hearted, which I soon learned is Jon Ronson's specialty. Based upon the book's cover graphic (yes -shallow but true), I expected a pompous & aggressive style, but was surprised by how unassuming Ron is. He seems to be a person who has a simple unthreatening way to investigate our human frailties and which seems to win people over. I had to stay with it for 2 or 3 stories before I started to pick up on Ron's unique outlook on the world. He tries to be objective in a true journalistic way. You learn that he is a well known reporter in England, but I do not think he ever says it himself. As a north american, many British characters are lost on me, but the personal stories are still intriguing and there is enough US content to keep my interest.Overall, I enjoyed his personality and see why he has become successful. I look forward to more stories.
You'll recognize Ronson's narration from This American Life or other such broadcasts. He has a voice and style, like David Sedaris, that is perfect for his writing. A collection of subjects that he investigated/interviewed/tried to sort out - few people can find the subject matter and true life characters that Ronson looks at and narrate it with dead pan sincerity.
This book was not what i expected. Some of the topics seemed a but off beat and i would wonder if they would amount to good listening. I was at the least smiling to every story. some made me pause and think, others made me laugh out loud. overall a great listen!
A fun listen. Jon Ronson found peculiar stories and told them without scorn... even though there are some real crazies in here! Each is funny and insightful, but I especially enjoyed the chapter on Insane Clown Posse.
I'd recommend to anyone who wants to hear outrageous stories told honestly and with a fair amount of wit.
If you want to enjoy a book of disjointed stories then this is the book for you.
How to be Black
Quality accent and dry sense of humor.
This book was like This American Life, but not done nearly as well.
i have not yet finished listening to the entire book.. but tis allready a 10/10.. Jon will have to try awfull hard to bring that score down.. i do not see this occuring.. from the first few lines i was held captive.. & each story since has kept me a happy hostage.. a must listen for anyone.. really.. everyone.. twas exactly what i needed to start the year.. thankyou Mr Ronson.. i have just downloaded your other tittle.. 'the psychopath test'
I would listen to parts of it. The book is a collection of short stories, and it seems that the best ones are toward the end.
I wouldn't know what to say. I read the book because I saw the author on Jon Stewart and it was portrayed as a funny book. However, as I read it, I felt like it was a less-funny Seinfeld; a book without a purpose. Parts were funny, and other parts were sad. Was the point to entertain, make a point, or show that the world stinks? I'm still unsure.
His interview with the Insane Clown Posse... wow. Just... wow. Yet again, it was a mix of funny and chilling reality.
Whatever its purpose, the book was very well written.
I really like that this book was a series of essays. Ronson's writing style is witty and engaging and I couldn't imagine it being narrated by anyone else.
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