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
The least helpful reviewer on audible.
Jon Ronson is EXTREMELY British!
I'm talking about jolly good show, have a spot of tea, God save the queen British. I was taken aback at first by his accent, but the shock didn't last long. The articles in this collection are so compelling that after a few minutes I didn't mind his accent. In fact, I got to where I kind of enjoyed it. I don't believe anyone else should have read this book.
Wow, these stories were awesome. They ranged from big credit companies taking advantage of the working class to the darkest side of assisted suicides. There was even one about Stanley Kubrick's estate and the huge collection of strangeness that was stored there.
He tells them all with an unbiased voice. It's a strange thing to explain. Once I understood what a particular article was about I would immediately have an opinion (and often an emotional reaction), but as the article progressed Mr. Ronson would have me sympathizing with the opposite view.
The one about SETI inspired me to read Paul Davies' book "The Eerie Silence." The one where he interviewed the father of a highschool student arrested for conspiracy to commit mass murder at his Alaskan school made me want to cry. The one where he patrolled the streets with real life superheroes made me laugh while at the same time scared the crap out of me.
Listening to this book was kind of like watching a documentary news program like 20/20 or Dateline, albeit a very British version of these shows. Did I mention how British Jon Ronson is? Sometimes the britishness was confusing. Like, when he talked about the English court system. What's a barrister?
If I haven't made it clear, I'm now a HUGE Jon Ronson fan. As soon as I get more credits I'll be purchasing more of his books.
I liked it. Jon Ronson has a knack for storytelling. The book is quite interesting although I think the psycopath test is his best yet. I gave it there stars because of the foul language and over detailed description of the deeds of paedophiles . I really don't care much for private lives and intimate acts of individuals on the fringe s of society
Jon Ronson is a very good reporter. His in-depth short stories are written, and read, with a sly and wry sense of humor. It is amazing how deep he delves into some stories, and how long he takes for some stories - months and years.
I wouldn't have been interested in most of the topics he chose to cover, but learned things that are kept out of mainstream media and that are good to know. Most reporters wouldn't be able to take the time it takes to do the stories Jon Ronson does.
There were a few laugh out loud moments in this audiobook, but for the most part the stories were captivating and fascinating.
This is a collection of short writings. As such, it lacks the compelling nature of the other books here, in my humble opinion. Still excellent, however, since Ronson narrates.
Not as good as some, but what it lacks in depth it makes up for in breadth. Ronson's usual wry humor is as good as ever.
Part of why I wanted to listen to Jon Ronson's books and not read them is because I loved his spots on This American Life. This is like a very long, Jon Ronson-only This American Life episode... and I LOVE it! All of the stories are so interesting, so unique and read so well. I'm addicted to his work and can't wait to hear more of his audiobooks.
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.
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