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
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.
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.
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 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.
The narration makes it golden. Fun stories, super narration and Jon Ronson...what more can a person want!
Unique in itself
No, I savor it over time
This book makes you happy.
I think Jonson has credible stuff in this book, but his own neurosis comes through and muddies the water. Many topics covered were ridiculous and not worth the coverage, i.e. Costumed idiots looking to get shot by gang members. The book was more of a collection of anecdotes than anything else.
I think it's one of the better ones. It's more of a bunch of little stories so it's better if you are going to listen a little at a time.
The wacky world
Jon Ronson has real life super powers. I once saw a robbery about to take place outside of a dingy fish market in Chinatown. As the bandits exited the shop with dated 20s mafia accents, Jon Ronson landed with deafening impact in his gold and red super suit. In spite of his practical nature he also sported a gaudy long blue cape emblazoned with several sponsored logos for obscure indie bands. Jon's eyes then lit fire and he sprayed the stolen fish imbuing them with seasoning from his mystic breath powers. We all had a barbecue there. It was pretty cool.
"Bizarre, Fascinating & uplifting in equal measure"
I have a been a on and off again fan of Jon Ronson's over the years but this is the first of his audio book versions I'd bought. Totally 'unputdownable' if that word works in an audio context.
The series of oddball people and situations that Jon becomes involved in (and sometimes creates) are interesting and you leave each scenario feeling intellectually challenged but wanting more. Highlights for me include Robbie Williams and Jon at a UFO convention, the odd 'friendship' with Jonathan King
and the archiving of Stanley Kubrick's boxes the culmination of which left me literally in tears.
If you want to experience the range of human 'uniqueness' I heartily recommend this book and Jon's understated reading of his own work adds to the experience (rather than as some author read pieces can, detract).
The measure of a good audiobook for me is how it stands up on a re-listen and this one I think will be added to my re-listen list quite quickly.
"a real pleasure"
Listening to and audio written and read by the same person works so well in this context. Jon Ronson has a certain style to his writing and I feel this is enhanced by listening to him.
I love these short stories, they are a perfect length. By the time Jon wraps up one story you are ready to hear the next. Each story is as quirky and interesting as the last.
Consistently excellent, I would (and do) recommend anything by Jon Ronson. This is fascinating, insightful, funny and chilling. A 5 star listen.
"Ronson Is Consistently Interesting"
JRs subject matter is often bizzare and here they range from the funny to the frightening. The chapter sizes make it great for the commute as each one is a story in itself. JRs narration helps you get the emphasis at the right places, and although his voice isn't immediately gripping he presents it well. Really enjoyed it.
"lost at sea but certainly not drowning"
a 'pale little man' with a powerful turn of phrase - jon ronson's never less than sincere, probing and wittily perceptive journalism ceaslessly enthralls. A great colleciton of articles presented to perfection, his voice in your head reverberates with insightful observation. just brilliant !
"Great stories, but need updating!"
I'm strangely addicted to Jon Ronson's view of the world. He's so unassuming and unthreatening so somehow he manages to get the most amazing insight and takes on stories. This is a collection of old stories and articles, some of which I'd read, (and bought!), previously, so bit disappointed with the age of the stories, hence only 4 stars!! Interestingly, though, many of the topics sounded just as topical today, so would be great to see him revisit some of those stories.
"A really informative and entertaining listen"
Top 20, definitely
Ronson's delivery is hilarious and his writing is very engaging
His slightly whiny tone is very idiosyncratic and makes perfect sense with his writing style
I loved his James Bond Journey recreation, and exploration of Kubrick's boxes
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