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Out of the Ordinary: True Tales of Everyday Craziness [Paperback]

Jon Ronson
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
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Book Description

6 Nov 2006

Jon Ronson’s subjects have included people who believe that goats can be killed by the power of a really hard stare, and people who believe that the world is ruled by twelve-foot lizard-men. In Out of the Ordinary, a collection of his journalism from the Guardian, he turns his attention to irrational beliefs much closer to home, investigating the ways in which we sometimes manage to convince ourselves that all manner of lunacy makes perfect sense – mainstream, domestic, ordinary insanity. Whether he finds himself promising his son that he will be at his side for ever, dressed in a Santa costume, or trying to understand why hundreds of apparently normal people would suddenly start speaking in tongues in a Scout hut in Kidderminster, he demonstrates repeatedly how we all succumb to deeply irrational beliefs that grow to inform our everyday existence. Out of the Ordinary is Jon Ronson at his inimitable best: hilarious, thought-provoking and with an unerring eye for human frailty – not least his own.

Praise for The Men Who Stare at Goats:

‘Not only a narcotic road trip through the wackier reaches of Bush’s war effort, but also an unmissable account of some of the insanity that has lately been done in our names’ Observer

Praise for Them: Adventures with Extremists:

‘A funny and compulsively readable picaresque adventure through a paranoid shadow world’ Louis Theroux, Guardian


Frequently Bought Together

Out of the Ordinary: True Tales of Everyday Craziness + What I Do: More True Tales of Everyday Craziness + Them: Adventures with Extremists
Price For All Three: 20.27

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Product details

  • Paperback: 328 pages
  • Publisher: Picador (6 Nov 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330448323
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330448321
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 50,554 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jon Ronson is an award-winning writer and documentary maker. He is the author of two bestsellers, Them: Adventures with Extremists and The Men Who Stare at Goats, and two collections, Out of the Ordinary: True Tales of Everyday Craziness and What I Do: More True Tales of Everyday Craziness. He lives in London.

Product Description

Review

'A comical and enjoyable read. This is a pleasure to indulge in at
any spare moment'
-- Easy Living

'Frank, searching and highly amusing...succeeds in eviscerating
the fragile illusions at the core of everyday life.' -- Western Mail

Ronson plays up to his charming buffoonery...But he is an acute
social commentator. He is compelling.
-- Times Literary Supplement

From the Back Cover

Jon Ronson's subjects have included people who believe that goats can be killed by the power of a really hard stare, and people who believe that the world is ruled by 12-foot lizard-men. In Out of the Ordinary, a collection of his journalism from the Guardian, he turns his attention to irrational beliefs much closer to home, investigating the ways in which we sometimes manage to convince ourselves that all manner of lunacy makes perfect sense - mainstream, domestic, ordinary insanity. Whether he finds himself promising his son that he will be at his side for ever, dressed in a Santa costume, or trying to understand why hundreds of apparently normal people would suddenly start speaking in tongues in a scout hut in Kidderminster, he demonstrates repeatedly how we all succumb to deeply irrational beliefs that grow to inform our everyday existence. Out of the Ordinary is Jon Ronson at his inimitable best: hilarious, thought-provoking and with an unerring eye for human frailty - not least his own.

Praise for The Men Who Stare at Goats:

'Not only a narcotic road trip through the wackier reaches of Bush's war effort, but also an unmissable account of some of the insanity that has lately been done in our names' Observer

Praise for Them: Adventures with Extremists:

'A funny and compulsively readable picaresque adventure through a paranoid shadow world' Louis Theroux, Guardian


Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Uncredtied Prequel 14 Jan 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have been a little spoiled regarding the Ronson catalogue, having introduced myself via "The Psycopath Test" which I found to be wryly humerous,(rather than "funny"),eye opening, informative and affirming on many levels. I bought copies for friends. Immediately, I went on to devour "Them", "Men Who Stare at Goats" and "Lost at Sea"; all very good reads, but also, as plots on an imagined graph, defining a slight downwards curve so far as my own enjoyment and perception of quality were concerned. Nonetheless, I remained hungry for more, (not that there was a lot left!), until reading "Out of The Ordinary", (first published 2006). It transpires that the main body of this tome, which is to say the pukka journalistic second section, is reproduced in "Lost at Sea", (first published 2012), which turns out to contain the whole second part of "Out of....". I can't find any confirmation on either book that large sections of one are reproduced in the other. That's naughty! If I had read these two books in the opposite order I would have assumed "Out of...." to be a barrel-scraping re-hash of some of Jon's more intriguing escapades bulked up with a seemingly random family diary which, whilst lightly amusing, is not Ronson at his best by a long chalk. The diary section begins without explanation on page 73 and ends abruptly and seemingly arbitrarily on page 161. It's as if his publishers had said to him, "Come on, Jon,...we need more than this.", and Jon, lacking any other proper journalistic material at the time, padded the book out with random domestic observations. NOT GOOD ENOUGH. The upside I guess, is that the better work followed, chronologically, so if in fact I had read the books according to date of publication I would no doubt be a bit less sour. That being said, I have enjoyed all of Jon Ronsons's work, (excepting the reproduced material), and if you haven't already read "The Psycopath Test" I would recommend it most highly!
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great read, not dated or dull 4 Sep 2009
By Lark TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
In contrast to some of the topics that Jon Ronson has written about the everyday or ordinary craziness could seem like a really dull subject matter but this book is anything but dull.

Here Ronson presents a two part piece, the first mainly involving his own stories and the second his encounters of everyday craziness involving others, stories from a newspaper column with post-scripts which sometimes turn out as interesting as the stories themselves. Sometimes these are even better than the story themselves, such as the postscript which follows a piece on a religious group called The Jesus Christians which insisted upon followers donating organs.

Ronson explains in the preface that he wanted to write about how people create bubbles of credibility in which they, sometimes they and their cohorts, are convinced they are rational while everyone else is crazy or do and say plainly irrational things as a consequence of "one thought leading to another".

I found the pace and style of writing pretty engaging, as easy to read and as interesting as his other more bizarre topics such as military scams, conspiracy theorists and paranoia in such books as The Men Who Stare at Goats and Them: Adventures with Extremists.

The real talent emerges in both accounts like that in the postscript to his piece on the Jesus Christians where he admits first becoming convinced of his own villainy by a deluge of obsessive e-mails and then uncovers the same sorts of manipulation and mind control adopted by cults operating a private nursery.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Illusion 12 Feb 2007
By GRBD
Format:Paperback
As an investigative journalist, Ronson's compelling forays into the bizarre aspects of modern culture has won him a cult following. This collection of his broadsheet columns focuses on the craziness closer to home, as he explores the irrational beliefs that every seemingly sane person harbours in his or her attempts to make sense of the world. Perhaps the most engaging aspect of his inquisitive focus is that he routinely turns the spotlight on his own perfidious nature, highlighting the likely emotional damage he visits on his son Joel in an attempt to create the most enchanting childhood imaginable. Frank, searching and highly amusing, it might lack the journalistic merit of his pseudo-political investigations, but it succeeds in eviscerating the fragile illusions at the core of everyday life.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not his best work. 19 July 2013
Format:Paperback
I'm glad this isn't the first Jon Ronson book I've ever read because I doubt I'd have read any others if I had. I bought Out Of The Ordinary because I'd read Them (which was great), The Men Who Stare At Goats (brilliant) and most recently The Psychopath Test (another excellent read) and I thought this book would be more of the same.

Sadly it isn't, really. I think the mistake made here is that instead of going off to interview interesting people in interesting situations the author is instead talking about himself. Ronson avoids the pitfall of talking about himself in glowing terms but falls headlong into the other extreme of making himself look like a prat. In fact he comes across as a needy and annoying man who isn't too bright stuck in an unhappy marriage (almost every mention of his wife is negative). Worse; seeing the author through his own eyes like this has slightly coloured my opinion of his other books. I'm starting to think that this guy isn't a smart journalist with an eye for what's interesting but just an everyday dummy asking questions of the kind of individuals smart people take pains to avoid. This was an uncomfortable feeling considering I had held him in high regard as a writer.

I must confess I only got about 3/4 of the way through the book before I announced to an empty room "I'm not enjoying this" and put it aside.

The anecdotes are mundane, the humour isn't funny, the outrages are reported so blandly they seem written as such out of convention rather than actual emotion and, as I said, Ronson comes across as a bit dim and socially awkward.

But I must say this is only how I felt about this book in particular. Stick to his other books and you're in for a fascinating read but, for the author's own sake, I'd say give this one a miss.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars jon ronson is a great writer, non-judgemental
jon ronson is a great writer, non-judgemental, open, and always open to doubt himself and his beliefs. great journalist.
Published 2 months ago by Valija
5.0 out of 5 stars Jon Ronson
Jon Ronson is a journalist of Jewish extraction who works for a British newspaper. He writes about the weirder elements of society. Read more
Published 2 months ago by JHvW
5.0 out of 5 stars Observational humour for smart people
Jon Ronson's writing is incredibly engaging, well-observed, intelligent and easy on the eye. He manages to find humour and intrigue in the most mundane of events, while not... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Discerning Reader/Viewer
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
Bought this for my daughter and she loves it - praise indeed as she doesn't have much time for reading - too busy. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Jan Rob
5.0 out of 5 stars So enjoyable
As a fan of Mr Ronson's previous books I wasn't sure if his more personal writings would match up to the brilliance of, 'Them' and 'The Men who stare at Goats'. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Sherston
5.0 out of 5 stars Funniest book
Supremely funny compilation of Jon's hysterical yet often frightening articles. He must be the funniest writer at large today. 5 stars.
Published 12 months ago by Eleanor Hamilton
5.0 out of 5 stars Really quick delivery
I ordered this just a few days before father's day, so I was really happy when it arrived the day before so I could wrap it and not have to embarrassingly tell my dad that he would... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Ellie
3.0 out of 5 stars A Mixed Bag
I bought this book having read and enjoyed "Lost at Sea", which has been published more recently. Read more
Published 14 months ago by G. Anderton
5.0 out of 5 stars Out of the Ordinary
I'm still reading the book and enjoying it. So far so good. Well written by the author and yes
I would recommend this book
Published 16 months ago by Maria Morris
4.0 out of 5 stars No ordinary writer
I am in a Jon Ronson phase of reading at the moment. I love the way he seeks out and pursues the quirky and the offbeat, observing and commenting on real-life characters through... Read more
Published 17 months ago by David Williams
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