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
"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!
"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.
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....
The pleasure of reading Jon Ronson's books is surpassed by listening to his narration of them.
"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.
"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!
"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 !
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