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The Butterfly Effect

Length: 3 hrs and 30 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (282 ratings)
Regular price: £23.49
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Summary

[Contains explicit content] Join best-selling author Jon Ronson as he traces the story of one very strange butterfly effect: What happened after a teen in Brussels figured out how to make porn free and easily accessible on the internet. Traveling from the tech world of Silicon Valley to the San Fernando Valley, where most porn films were made, you learn the consequences of free porn, which turn out to be mysterious, shocking, sad, and, at times, even surprisingly sweet. A 7-part series takes you on a journey to places youll never expect. 

As an Audio Show - free for members - when you add The Butterfly Effect with Jon Ronson to your library you'll get all 7 episodes, each with a runtime of about 30 minutes.

©2016 Audible Originals, LLC (P)2016 Audible Originals, LLC

Critic reviews

"It makes for a gripping listen, a story that unfolds in a madly unpredictable way." (The Guardian)

"A sympathetic look at performers and producers in the porn industry, that's never once prurient or judgmental." (Rolling Stone)

"On the radio, Ronson comes across like Hunter S Thompson as played by Alan Bennett - an odd mix of gonzo chutzpah and cuddly politeness. He charms and is charmed by his interviewees. As a result, he has a rare gift for revealing the human side of people who have been dehumanised." (Daily Telegraph)

"The Butterfly Effect has the same level of detail and widescreen storytelling that you would expect from a television documentary." (Financial Times)

"Fascinating." (VICE)

What members say

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Jon Ronson's journalism at its best - and free!

I like Jon Ronson's writing style so I was curious about this free audio show when I signed up for Audible.
Even if I would have never guessed to be interested in the story of Pornhub, his research approach and sincere way of interviewing really makes it interesting and made me want to come back to it every day.
You do need to get used to Jon's voice, but after a few episodes it didn't catch my attention anymore. I'm glad I tried this show though before buying one of his audio books, because I might have regretted my purchase during the first chapters. Now I am used to his voice I know I'd be comfortable listening to him for 10 hours.

It's not as lighthearted as you would expect from the subject, but it really opened my eyes to how much effect a single website/platform can have on the rest of the industry. And this must go for many other, less "niche"/"extreme" companies. Always an interesting subject, the butterfly effect.

Since it's free for Audible members, just add it to your library and you can always decide to jump in when you don't know what to listen to next!

27 of 28 people found this review helpful

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A meandering and judgemental op-ed

It had the potential to be interesting, but instead it turned out to be a fairly inconsistent and oftentimes ironically judgemental piece. Example 1: What have sex dolls bought for dementia sufferers got to do with free porn? Nothing. Example 2: to a sex offender (who he views as harmless) the author says it would be terrible to have to live in a place with other sex offenders - in contravention of his distaste of the stereotypes he has just railed against.
There are quite a few interesting tidbits throughout, but they are fairly incoherently pushed together to seek to form a topic, which becomes a little frustrating.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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I loved it, I cried, but mostly I laughed.

I thought this was beautiful, which is something I hadn't expected to be writing in this review.

I wasn't really aware of Jon Ronson until today when I saw him, perhaps ironically, on YouTube. I fell in love with his style almost immediately, though at times it does feel a little 'gossipy'. I guess this is probably a technique adopted for the sake of drawing information from his interviewees and so my brain decides to accept that excuse and try not to cringe on the few occasions this occurs rather than throw out the baby with the bathwater and lose out on all the wonderful aspects of Jon Ronson's work.

There is a lot to love here in both the presentation style and the content being presented. Jon Ronson has a very relaxed style of presentation which is very engaging, somehow personal and confidential as if he was speaking directly to me whilst at the same time open and gregarious as if he's presenting a great gift to the world, and he is. The stories presented here are simply human stories, not sensationalised tabloid trash about the dark goings-on in the lurid world of a steamy sex industry. In my opinion each of the subjects of these stories is treated with equal sympathy and respect, even when there has been a little laughter regarding their stories initially as in the case of the stamp collector. I think this initial laughter and amused astonishment is a very human reaction to what seems to be a very bizarre situation and I'm glad these moments have not been edited away in fear of negative reception. In these moments I feel Jon Ronson becomes part of the story himself and probably represents many of us, the listeners, thereby giving me the feeling of being part of this huge, awful, flawed, judgemental, vulnerable, human family. I loved it.

In summary, this is a great book which is most often funny, sometimes sad, once or twice heartbreaking, but always packed to the brim with human dignity. It made a 47 year old man cry. Buy it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Love this!

This audio show haunts me, the theme is so exciting and it's told in a brilliant way. Would definitely recommend!

9 of 13 people found this review helpful

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Fascinating.

Would you consider the audio edition of The Butterfly Effect to be better than the print version?

I have not read the print version so cannot compare.

What did you like best about this story?

I liked the inter-connectedness of the pieces.

Have you listened to any of the narrator’s other performances? How does this one compare?

I have not listened to the author before.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Definitely.

12 of 22 people found this review helpful

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So moving

I'm on my second run through of this and it just gets better. Jon and Lina's voices and their questions are so empathetic and tactile that I find the whole series very moving. The use of the right music in the right places also adds to the depth of feeling. Truly a wonderful experience.

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The faux-nief thing gets old quickly

The narrator's voice got to me after a while. He seems to be trying to add a 'seedy' inflection which is just annoying. He's an adult, he can act like am adult.

The first episode isn't too bad. Decent history of the PornHub business. The stupid questions from the narrator weren't great.

The idea of fallow years in Ep 2 is something I haven't heard of before and I wonder if it holds up to more than anecdotal evidence. The niché porn bits of the audiobook were just them laughing at people's fetishes for 10 minutes.

While they were odd I didn't see the humour. People like weird stuff... is that meant to be surprising?

Also, the interviewer clearly struggled with the idea that the producers didn't push the clients for the reasoning behind their fetishes. They had some professionalism in that regard. The interviewer just said "Did you ask why they like X?" "No." "Oh, did you ask why they like Y?" "No." Painfully repetitive.

After another fetish episode the 4th was about the sex offender registry and it is quite tragic. I don't know what goes through Americans' heads that calling a 6 year old a sex offender is ok. Or locking an 11 year old up for 6 years for being naked. America is a strange place.

Episode 5 about Ashley Madison is interesting but the bit at the end with the pornstar interview was sad. Pornstars seem to be treated horribly in America despite all the porn consumed there.

Episode 6 is about sex dolls and isn't anything special. Episode 7, the last, features a quick interview with the guy who started PornHub who seems fairly decent and has a good sense of humour. This is quite funny. The ending is another custom porn shoot and could be uplifting/sad depending on perspective.

Overall, I'd say this is moderately interesting but there's nothing revolutionary or particularly noteworthy. If you're past the point of giggling about people having sex then you're probably going to be a bit bored.

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Journalism at its finest

I loved this book.
Fascinating! It just goes to show the effect of one person's actions.....

This is the first time I have heard of the author Jon Ronson. I love how he delves into the research and territory of people and places most journalists wouldn't....
I have since downloaded more of his books.

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a good well-made podcast

a good well-made podcast covering a subject that really gets treated this sensibly and thoroughly.

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Thought provoking

Not what you'd expect. It's a really gripping look into the consequences of tube sites

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  • Leigh
  • 01-02-18

Incredible story; couldn't stop listening

What did you love best about The Butterfly Effect?

The narrator/author is intensely compassionate, thoughtful, and respectful. His interviews are fascinating, touching, and often funny. The people he meets completely open up to him. The narrator is Welsh, but don't worry if you aren't good with accents. He's got a very engaging radio voice that I found soothing and completely comprehensible (I'm from the States).
The case the author presents on the ethics of free pornography is nuanced, not preachy. There is some sexual content, but this is not a sexy or sensationalist piece. There are a lot of big ideas here about public health, economics, change, and the human psyche. Like most well-executed analyses, this series doesn't really align with a particular political agenda. This series may be of interest to all kinds of people. Also, the narration and production quality are great.
This series left me thinking critically, especially about how to discuss pornography with kids. I feel enlightened but not depressed.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • mike
  • 31-03-18

Fascinating Subject

If you could sum up The Butterfly Effect in three words, what would they be?

Out Of Control

Any additional comments?

The subject of free porn might be too taboo for the media to cover but Jon Ronson takes it by the horns. He highlights the ripple effects free porn has caused from the struggling porn industry to the side effects it has on the youth. Backed up with fascinating interviews it will open your eyes and shock you.