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What if society wasn't fundamentally rational, but was motivated by insanity? This thought sets Jon Ronson on an utterly compelling adventure into the world of madness.
Along the way, Jon meets psychopaths, those whose lives have been touched by madness and those whose job it is to diagnose it, including the influential psychologist who developed the Psychopath Test, from whom Jon learns the art of psychopath-spotting. A skill which seemingly reveals that madness could indeed be at the heart of everything . . .
Combining Jon Ronson's trademark humour, charm and investigative incision, The Psychopath Test is both entertaining and honest, unearthing dangerous truths and asking serious questions about how we define normality in a world where we are increasingly judged by our maddest edges.
From Jon Ronson, the Sunday Times top ten bestselling author of The Psychopath Test, this is a captivating and brilliant exploration of one of our world's most underappreciated forces: shame.
'It's about the terror, isn't it?'
'The terror of what?' I said.
'The terror of being found out.'
For the past three years, Jon Ronson has travelled the world meeting recipients of high-profile public shamings. The shamed are people like us – people who, say, made a joke on social media that came out badly, or made a mistake at work. Once their transgression is revealed, collective outrage circles with the force of a hurricane and the next thing they know they're being torn apart by an angry mob, jeered at, demonized, sometimes even fired from their job.
A great renaissance of public shaming is sweeping our land. Justice has been democratized. The silent majority are getting a voice. But what are we doing with our voice? We are mercilessly finding people's faults. We are defining the boundaries of normality by ruining the lives of those outside it. We are using shame as a form of social control.
Simultaneously powerful and hilarious in the way only Jon Ronson can be, So You've Been Publicly Shamed is a deeply honest book about modern life, full of eye-opening truths about the escalating war on human flaws – and the very scary part we all play in it.
With an introduction by Russell Brand.
What if a tiny, shadow elite rule the world from a secret room?
My worryingly paradoxical thought process could be summarized thus: Thank God I don't believe in the secret rulers of the world. Imagine what the secret rulers of the world might do to me if I did.
What if a tiny, shadow elite rule the world from a secret room? In Them Jon Ronson sets out to find this room, with the help of the extremists – Islamic fundamentalists, neo-Nazis, Ku Klux Klansmen – that believe in it. Along the way, he is chased by men in dark glasses, unmasked as a Jew in the middle of a Jihad training camp, and witnesses international CEOs and politicians participate in a bizarre pagan ritual in the forests of northern California.
A Sunday Times bestseller and the book that launched Jon Ronson's inimitable career, Them is an eye-opening, outrageously funny exploration of extremism, which makes both author and reader think twice about the looking-glass world of 'us' and 'them' . . .
Often funny, sometimes chilling and always thought-provoking, journalist Jon Ronson's Sunday Times bestseller The Men Who Stare at Goats is a story so unbelievable it has to be true.
In 1979 a secret unit was established by the most gifted minds within the US Army. Defying all known military practice – and indeed the laws of physics – they believed that a soldier could adopt a cloak of invisibility, pass cleanly through walls, and, perhaps most chillingly, kill goats just by staring at them.
They were the First Earth Battalion. And they really weren't joking. What's more, they're back and fighting George Bush's War on Terror.
Inspired the film starring George Clooney and Ewan McGregor.
Frequently hilarious, sometimes disturbing, always entertaining, these fascinating stories of the chaos that lies on the fringe of our daily lives will have you wondering just what we're capable of.
This updated edition of Lost at Sea includes the complete text of Frank: The True Story that Inspired the Movie.
Jon Ronson has been on patrol with America's real-life superheroes and to a UFO convention in the Nevada desert with Robbie Williams. He's met a man who tried to split the atom in his kitchen and asked a conscious robot if she's got a soul.
Fascinated by madness, strange behaviour and the human mind, Jon has spent his life exploring mysterious events and meeting extraordinary people. Collected from various sources (including the Guardian and GQ) Lost at Sea features the very best of his adventures.
Portions of this book have appeared previously, in slightly different form, in Out of the Ordinary, What I Do, the Guardian and GQ.
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.
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.
Jon Ronson's Adventures With Extraordinary People collects together in a single volume three of Jon Ronson's bestselling titles, Them, The Men Who Stare at Goats and The Psychopath Test.
Them charts Jon's discovery that extremists – Islamic fundamentalists, neo-Nazis, Ku Klux Klansmen – all have one oddly similar belief: that a tiny, shadowy elite rule the world from a secret room. And so Jon sets out to locate that room. Chased by men in dark glasses and unmasked as a Jew in the middle of a Jihad training camp, Jon's journey is creepy as well as comic, and perhaps the extremists are on to something . . .
The Men Who Stare at Goats tells the unbelievable story of the First Earth Battalion, established by the US Army in 1979 as a secret unit, they defied all known military practice, and even the laws of physics, in their belief that a soldier could become invisible, pass through walls and kill goats just by staring at them. And, as Jon discovers, they really weren't joking.
The Psychopath Test sees Jon set out on an utterly compelling adventure into the world of madness. He meets psychopaths, those whose lives have been touched by madness and those whose job it is to diagnose it, from whom Jon learns the art of psychopath-spotting. And it soon becomes clear that madness could indeed be at the heart of everything . . .
Often funny, sometimes chilling and always thought-provoking, these books combine Jon's trademark humour, charm and investigative incision whilst asking some very serious questions.
'The belly laughs come thick and fast – my God, he is funny' - Observer.
Jon Ronson's Frank: The True Story that Inspired the Movie is a memoir of funny, sad times and a tribute to outsider artists too wonderfully strange to ever make it in the mainstream. It tells the true story behind the fictionalized movie.
In the late 1980s Jon Ronson was the keyboard player in the Frank Sidebottom Oh Blimey Big Band. Frank wore a big fake head. Nobody outside his inner circle knew his true identity. This became the subject of feverish speculation during his zenith years. Together, they rode relatively high. Then it all went wrong.
Twenty-five years later and Jon has co-written a movie, Frank, inspired by his time in this great and bizarre band. Frank premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and won many prizes, including Best Screenplay (for Jon Ronson and Peter Straughan) at the 2014 British Independent Film Awards; it starred Michael Fassbender, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Domhnall Gleeson, and was directed by Lenny Abrahamson.
As hilarious as it is perturbing, Jon Ronson's What I Do is a treat for everyone who has ever suspected themselves to be at the mercy of forces they can barely comprehend.
In part one, read about the time Jon inadvertently made a lewd gesture to a passing fourteen-year-old girl late at night in the lobby of a country-house hotel. And about his burgeoning obsession with a new neighbour who refused to ask him what he did for a living, despite Jon's constant dropping of intriguing hints. And about the embarrassment of being caught recycling small talk at a party.
In part two, read some of Jon's longer stories, which explore manifestations of insanity in the wider world: the tiny town of North Pole, Alaska, where it's Christmas 365 days of the year; behind the scenes at Deal or No Deal, which Jon likens to a cult with Noel Edmonds as its high priest; a meeting with TV hypnotist Paul McKenna, who has joined forces with a self-help guru who once stood trial for murder – but can they cure Jon of his one big phobia?
One For The Trouble – Book Slam Volume One is the first publication from the UK’s premier literary event. Editor Patrick Neate approached eighteen Book Slam alumni, from household names like Irvine Welsh and William Boyd to newcomers like Kate Tempest and Sophie Woolley, to take a song title for inspiration for a new short story or poem. Simon Armitage’s poem, for example, reflects hauntingly on the suicide of Joy Division’s Ian Curtis, while award-winning young adult author, Patrick Ness, stretches his skills with a darkly comic take on ‘Let Me Entertain You’. The resulting collection is unique, diverse and thoroughly entertaining. One For The Trouble provides a perfect snapshot of the very best contemporary British writing.
The book, with its cloth bound, foil embossed cover, is a thing of considerable beauty that has been immaculately conceived by the brilliant Robi Walters. Only 1500 copies have been printed and each are individually numbered, and signed by every short story writer.
1. Grave Architecture(Pavement, 1995) by Richard Milward
2. New Gold Dream (Simple Minds, 1982) by Hari Kunzru
3. New Dawn Fades (Joy Division, 1979) by Simon Armitage
4. Comeback Girl (Republic Of Loose, 2005) by Irvine Welsh
5. I'm Going Slightly Mad (Queen, 1991) by Bernardine Evaristo
6. The Bed's Too Big Without You (Sheila Hylton, 1981) by Kate Tempest
7. When I'm Sixty-Four (The Beatles, 1967) by Joe Dunthorne
8. Tears Of A Clown (Smokey Robinson & The Miracles, 1967) by William Boyd
9. The Message (Grandmaster Flash And The Furious Five, 1982) by Paul Murray
10. Ascension (John Coltrane, 1966) by Roger Robinson
11. Violet Stars Happy Hunting! (Janelle Monáe, 2007) by Helen Oyeyemi
12. I Read My Sentence … (Radka Toneff, 1986) by Don Paterson
13. Let Me Entertain You (Robbie Williams, 1998) by Patrick Ness
14. Bank Holiday (Blur, 1994) by Luke Wright
15. I Am The Walrus (The Beatles, 1967) by Sophie Woolley
16. That Summer Feeling (Jonathan Richman, 1984) by Jon Ronson
17. Underground (Ben Folds Five, 1995) by Tim Key
18. Endless Art (A House, 1992) by Jon McGregor
About Book Slam:
‘Book Slam has single-handedly dragged the London literary scene into the 21st century.’ Hari Kunzru
‘Book Slam is an amazing and unique phenomenon — an incredible boon for readers and writers — we’re all very lucky to have it in our world.’ William Boyd
The Amazing Adventures of Phoenix Jones is an inside, intimate look at the world of amateur superheroes and a front row seat to their adventures.