Your audiobook is waiting…

The Butterfly Effect with Jon Ronson

Narrated by: Jon Ronson
Length: 3 hrs and 25 mins
Categories: Radio & TV, Documentaries
4 out of 5 stars (13,237 ratings)

$14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

OR
In Cart

Publisher's Summary

From best-selling writer Jon Ronson and the executive producer behind the TED Radio Hour and Invisibilia, Audible Originals presents a new seven-episode series, The Butterfly Effect with Jon Ronson.

[Contains explicit content] Hear the story of what happened when the tech industry gave the world what it wanted: free porn. Lives were mangled. Fortunes were made. All for your pleasure. Follow writer and narrator Jon Ronson as he uncovers our web of desire.

About Jon Ronson:

Known for exploring the fringes of society, Jon Ronson is a best-selling writer, noted documentarian, and screenwriter – including the award-winning Frank and critically acclaimed Okja. He is the author of international hits So You've Been Publicly Shamed, The Men Who Stare at Goats, and The Psychopath Test, amongst others. A TED Talk favorite, Ronson is also a regular contributor to public radio's This American Life, the New York Times magazine, and GQ magazine.


A Note from Jon:

Hi everyone,

Welcome to The Butterfly Effect. It's sort of about porn, but it's about a lot of other things. It's sad, funny, moving and totally unlike some other nonfiction stories about porn - because it isn't judgmental or salacious. It's human and sweet and strange and lovely. It's a mystery story, an adventure. It's also, I think, a new way of telling a story. This season follows a single butterfly effect. The flap of the butterfly’s wings is a boy in Brussels having an idea. His idea is how to get rich from giving the world free online porn. Over seven episodes I trace the consequences of this idea, from consequence through to consequence. If you keep going in this way, where might you end up? It turns out you end up in the most surprising and unexpected places.

So if you're thinking, why do I want to listen to a show about the tech takeover of the porn industry, I have two things to say:

1. Why wouldn't you want to listen to a show about the tech takeover of the porn industry? That's a great idea for a show.

2. Would you want to listen to a show about three women destroying a mysterious Norwegian man's stamp collection? Well, that happens at the end of episode 2. At the end of Episode 3 a woman becomes convinced that she played a part in a murder committed by an Italian priest. At the end of Episode 4 a boy in Oklahoma is forced to move to a house on the very, very edge of his town.

I hope you like our show,

Jon Ronson

If you don't already have the Audible app, download it now, in the iOS App Store or the Google Play store to listen to The Butterfly Effect.

©2017 Audible Originals LLC (P)2017 Audible Originals LLC

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    7,041
  • 4 Stars
    3,178
  • 3 Stars
    1,520
  • 2 Stars
    540
  • 1 Stars
    958

Performance

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    6,973
  • 4 Stars
    2,545
  • 3 Stars
    1,245
  • 2 Stars
    424
  • 1 Stars
    705

Story

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    6,520
  • 4 Stars
    2,679
  • 3 Stars
    1,348
  • 2 Stars
    515
  • 1 Stars
    836
Sort by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

I will never forget it...

It is a brilliant concept in reporting. Follow the consequences of people's actions without judgement. This time it is chiefly about the effect an internet guru, Fabian, with no direct connection to the porn industry, yet he has become its largest distributor. In the process, his companies have decimated the porn film industry, transferring all the wealth from its producers to himself.

Its impossible for me to feel sorry for the porn industry, and I am not alone. I am not judgemental, its a fact well documented by Ronson. Like the girl in one of Ronson's interviews said, "No, I don't want to name a deer I have shot, because then I won't be able to eat it." (She had been asked if she followed specific porn stars.) This is one of many butterfly effects for porn performers, no one cares about them personally, Even people who watch porn disdain its performers. Yet, because of free porn sights, all of their work is easily attainable by anyone, anytime, forever. It makes it difficult to have a career outside of the sex industry without being discovered.

Then there is the Ashley Madison hacking scandal. It turns out, very few women populated the site, making it improbable male users actually carried out affairs. Most of the "women users" were in reality, bots. Men would spend hours having sexual conversations online with bots. One of the tragic butterfly effects involved a Baptist Seminary professor who killed himself after being exposed. From the tragedy, his adult children learned an incredible lesson. Hiding shame is deadly.

No matter where you stand politically, spiritually or morally on pornography, The Butterfly Effect is an enlightening and thought provoking work.

12 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Better than you think.

I downloaded the book because I was taking a family trip and I needed a book fast. I was familiar with the title because of the movie. THIS IS NOT THAT STORY. Later, while driving alone, I listened anyway. This story is intriguing. The writer clearly did his homework and carefully delved into his research. As an added bonus, there are different interviews throughout the story. To say the least, it was gripping. By the end of the story, I found myself with different views about free porn.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Pros and Cons of free porn.

I have to admit the only reason why I got this is because it was free. i am so glad I gave this a chance. This podcast, interview, investigative journalism really made me think of what actually happens when porn becomes free. Jon Ronson does a very good job being objective. He not only follows the Grandfather of free porn but also the actors, the victims of free porn, the people who have anxiety becuase of the easy access.

I will never think of Pornhub the same way again.

21 of 25 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Everyone should listen to this

What an excellent series. Besides the in-depth investigation of streamed adult content and how it is affected business, I loved the interviews, framing each subject appropriately, letting them tell their own stories. Every human needs to listen to what is discussed here.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Pornography will mess you up

Fascinating listen on the side effects of pornpgraphy. Does not follow the popular belive that porn is harmless. I licked the navy study results and the difficulty that it can bring into ones life. I enjoyed the narrator Ron Robson does a great job, this sounds like a news story you would here on NPR

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Intriguing Story!!

The effect one person's idea has on the well-being of so many people he doesn't know is astounding. It takes you on an emotional roller coaster. It was a very enjoyable listen.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Lindsay
  • Denver, CO, United States
  • 09-11-17

Who knew free pornography would be so impactful

Would you try another book from Jon Ronson and/or Jon Ronson?

I've read the Psychopath Test and enjoyed that and this was decent too, so yeah, I'd try another Jon Ronson book.

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

There wasn't anything wrong with the book that needed to be changed to make the book more enjoyable, it was just an ok listen.

Did the narration match the pace of the story?

Yes, the narration and dialogues match the pace of the story.

Did The Butterfly Effect with Jon Ronson inspire you to do anything?

The Butterfly Effect did inspire some thought about how much other the internet has changed all aspects of our lives.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Fascinating and Frightening

Ronson is a uniquely talented researcher and storyteller and the Butterfly Effect is a brilliant application of his talent. In the spirit of true investigative journalism, he follows the story wherever he it leads and where it leads is frightening. He seems to be able to get people to receive him and share their stories when one would think they would lock him out. Ronson also seems to never judge, but only to observe. He doesn't shy away from the truth or confronting people about their part in it, but he also doesn't take it upon himself to place blame or force others to accept their accountability. Maybe that's why people are so open and honest with him. It took me awhile to get used to his accent. At first I hated it and almost stopped listening. I determined to rise above it and not let it deter me from the story. Then, little by little, it grew on me and I came to appreciate it. I found his cadence and pronunciation distracting until it became natural to me and then I began to really enjoy it. I'm now hooked and look forward to (hopefully) the next installment of the butterfly effect. In the meantime, I'm exploring other Ronson titles such as The Psychopath Test and The Men Who Stare at Goats.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Touching. Moving with empathy

I was really moved by the stories told in this wonderful series. Each subject was treated with such empathy that I could help but understand how a huge part of our culture is created.

It's an important story, well told.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

A "This American Life" sound like episode that just goes on too long.

I got this audiobook free in an Audible promotion. I thought it was the story that the movie was based upon and was curious to see the difference. What it turned out to be was a long article on how the Free porn industry has altered the established porn industry. While at times incisive and funny, it deteriorates into a self serving whine fest of how much money aging producers of this industry are loosing to free sites. Not once is the comparison made on the economical impact of the actual sex workers, their feelings and experiences are irrelevant and their exploitation by the free sites is the same as it was for them under previous management. There is an attempt to add a human element to custom porn producers and how the consumers of these services are human too, but this feels false and contrived, like putting lipstick on a pig. I like shows like "This American Life" but when the story is this long, I would like to get a variety of insights on the human psyche. This, like some of the films that are the subject of the piece, feels like it was shot by an inept camera man.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Sort by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Simon
  • Simon
  • 07-28-17

Something Literally From Out of the Blue!

Of course having recently completed some historical fiction and a very thoughtful Irish drama the obvious next step is to listen to a docu-drama about free Internet porn. Right? Okay, well it is if you've heard interesting things about Jon Ronson and Audible shove it under your nose, ironically for free!

I wasn't sure quite what to expect but I was genuinely fascinated by Ronson's journey. This wasn't gimmicky or judgemental, rather it was sympathetic to a multi-faceted subject. To my mind Ronson achieves what he set out to do and fully demonstrates something like a butterfly effect. It's often true that some of the most significant consequences of modern progress are the unintended ones as he ably demonstrates. Sometimes we improve trivial convenience to great fanfare only to sweep more consequential impacts under the carpet. I say "something like" a butterfly effect because it's clear that Pornhub had a rather heavier tread than your average fluttering insect.

He gets to a lot of the human stories behind the free porn scene and regardless of your views on porn in general there is a real story to be told. This is a decent piece of work and I'd recommend it to anyone with an interest on how the modern world works. With Ronson's production you can make up your own mind about the issues and people involved.

23 of 30 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Goddess Rem
  • Goddess Rem
  • 08-01-17

brilliantly done

i cried. i laughed and i overall learned.
awesome everyone should check it out now.

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Gabe Fleming (Audible staff)
  • Gabe Fleming (Audible staff)
  • 04-07-18

Pitch perfect reportage

Insightful, heartfelt reporting that reaches well beyond its subject matter. I finished it feeling educated about the effects of the free porn industry and depressed about some aspects of what it has done, but I also felt an unerring sense of hope and faith in people. Jon Ronson is simply brilliant at what he does: force listeners to look past their own assumptions.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for dean313
  • dean313
  • 09-08-17

Insightful

A subject matter that nobody wants to talk about but so many of us are reliant on in some way. A truly interesting story/Documentary.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Brayan Steven Quintero
  • Brayan Steven Quintero
  • 09-08-17

A diving into a ripple effect.

Wow! it is quite an eye opening to the porn industry, I quite liked how the chain of this videos can affect more lives that you can imagine.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for James F Dawes
  • James F Dawes
  • 08-25-17

Wow, just wow.

Cannot recommend this enough. A must for fans of Ronsons work but essential listening for anyone, especially those who on the face of it might normally avoid this subject.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Raphael K.
  • Raphael K.
  • 08-11-17

interesting!

Really interesting, wasn't expecting that. I wish there would be the same in other fields/sectors to see how big companies or monopolies affect small retailers or producers e.g. in the food industry...

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for WMA
  • WMA
  • 08-08-17

Filled a space

Was ok, not particularly in depth. Felt like listening to an extended Radio4 program. I downloaded because free and because I needed something to listen to that would last 3-4hrs.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Kalvin Page
  • Kalvin Page
  • 10-10-17

Classic Jon Ronson storytelling with captivating and emotive interviews.

Tightly woven human centred storytelling. Jon's childlike curiosity isn't out of place in the porn world. His questions encourage tales that manage to shock you, both through the content and sympathy you didn't expect to feel. The music and humour drive the investigation along and by the end I'm asking myself some important questions, but still smiling.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Borbála
  • Borbála
  • 09-12-17

A superb documentary

What did you like best about this story?

It is a thorough, very well made and unbiased work that looks at this very controversial topic from so many different angles. The topic of porn is such a divisive one and people have such polarised opinions it was a true novelty for me to hear the same person represent it from so many different viewpoints

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

It was somewhat traumatic to hear that the traffic on porn sites significantly increases after bank holidays and Valentine's Days as the intensity of a family program or "being forced" to be with their wives too long drives men to wanting a change.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 08-02-17

Amazing and consistent

I love Jon Ronson's work generally. This is no different. It is kind, insightful, poignant and wistful. And the ending is as beautiful as its subject matter.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Paul Kearney
  • Paul Kearney
  • 08-01-17

incredible

This is incredible journalism. Ronson approaches the subject from many angles with a deep empathy.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Tom Wilson
  • Tom Wilson
  • 10-30-17

Surprisingly interesting listen

I got the book for free and didn't expect to be blown away by Jon Ronson' s theatrics and ability to tell a story so interesting.

bought another Jon Ronson book and am expecting something amazing again!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 08-02-17

Beautifully binge worthy

Beautifully sensitive, a relevant current story for all of us to binge on. I enjoy the journey immensely

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Amazon Customer
  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-30-17

Brilliant

Eye opening, funny, sad, touching, multi-layered, very human and told gently and with empathy... well worth a listen.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Joseph Di Stefano
  • Joseph Di Stefano
  • 08-22-17

never thought I would want to read this

it's a touching and human view of an industry that not too many people think about. A behind the scenes look at the sex industry and how the internet has changed it, but more importantly how it has changed us.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Fay K Cleveland
  • Fay K Cleveland
  • 07-21-19

Fascinating

Captivating and extremely interesting learning how the develop of the internet changed so many lives.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 06-14-19

stunning. hooked the whole way

amazing story, got me so excited and horrified about the truth of online pornography. thanks Jon

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for keely
  • keely
  • 04-16-19

Great story

I didn't like the narrator at first, who is the writer. But the story none the less is a very gripping one, so It is enough to get over the voice. I do wish that they got deeper into some of the "butterfly effects" but I guess that would be a whole other book because I would here some of the effects and really want to find out more about the subjects but then all of a sudden it was on to the next effect which sucked. Id love more depth into the story!
Also do note that they literally have the start of each podcast in the audible recording, which gets a bit annoying as often I listen to audiobooks when exercising so don't always have my phone to skip that 30seconds.
The story itself though is a really good story which I enjoyed. Just a bit iffy with the audible recording itself!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for David Haill
  • David Haill
  • 03-21-19

Wow!

Fascinating! As I listened to the final chapter my hands legitimately began to tremble. Wow!