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So You've Been Publicly Shamed Paperback – 31 Dec 2015

4.3 out of 5 stars 294 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Picador; Main Market Ed. edition (31 Dec. 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330492292
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330492294
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (294 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,651 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Review

superb and terrifying . . . So You've Been Publicly Shamed brings together all of Ronson's virtues as a writer, to a more serious purpose than hitherto . . . Ronson is a true virtuoso of the faux-naive style. He is so good at it that it's not irritating . . . Ronson has beautiful comic-prose skills . . . but Ronson's self-description as a "humorous journalist" is not the whole story. Comedy is his disguise and also his weapon. He is a moralist. Some of his best lines seem casual but contain fierce social diagnoses . . . towards the end of his new book, someone accuses him of "prurient curiosity". This prompts what may be taken as a statement of the moral approach behind all his work. "I didn't want to write a book that advocated for a less curious world. Prurient curiosity may not be great. But curiosity is. People's flaws need to be written about. The flaws of some people lead to horrors inflicted on to others. And then there are the more human flaws that, when you shine a light on to them, de-demonise people that might otherwise be seen as ogres." At its best, this is exactly what his writing can do . . . relentlessly entertaining and thought-provoking (Steven Poole Guardian)

He is such an exceptional writer . . . an incredibly funny writer . . . a perfect sense of comic timing throughout, but he manages to deal with profound subjects . . . so enjoyable . . . you can be having a laugh while understanding a social phenomenon in a completely unique way; it's such a great book . . . We're buying it! (The BBC Radio 2 Arts Show with Claudia Winkleman)

A magnificent book, subtly argued, often painfully funny and yet deeply serious. . . I'm not sure I can recommend it highly enough (Daily Mail)

A work of original, inspired journalism, it considers the complex dynamics between those who shame and those who are shamed, both of whom can become the focus of social media's grotesque, disproportionate judgments (Laurence Scott Financial Times)

Ronson is our current master of smarter-than-average pop nonfiction that combines social science, investigative journalism and no shortage of style . . . Ronson and his subjects are strikingly candid about their fears, which is compelling if not always comfortable to read. But the book slowly turns out to be about something bigger than it seems: a survival guide to living with shame both public and private, an inevitable consequence of being human. (Saturday Paper (Australia))

Ronson's finely attuned ear for dialogue and his skilfully deployed nebbishness ensure a pacy but discomfiting read (Gillian Terzis The Australian)

Jon Ronson's great strength as a writer is his empathy with his subject, which seems to bring about trust and openness from his interviewees. Like all journalists, he is a voyeur, but he is sensitive with his material and self-analytical enough to realise his own part in the phenomenon. So You've Been Publicly Shamed is an interesting commentary on human behaviour and its consequences. (The Register)

immensely readable (Will Dean Independent)

[A] brilliant, thought-provoking book - a fascinating examination of citizen justice, which has enjoyed a great renaissance since the advent of the internet (Tatler)

Amusing and thought-provoking (Daily Telegraph)

Certainly, no reader could finish it without feeling a need to be gentler online, to defer judgment, not to press the retweet button, to resist that primal impulse to stoke the fires of shame (The Times)

As in his previous books, Ronson's style is to take us with him wherever the story goes, curiosity his guide. But unlike bestsellers The Men Who Stare At Goats (US new age warfare), The Psychopath Test (the mental health 'industry') or Them (ideological extremism), Shamed is not a critique of those at the fringes of our society, it's about us - or at least the very many of us who take to Twitter to heap vitriol on those we feel deserve it (Metro)

Jon Ronson is one of the funniest writers we have (Red)

Hugely entertaining (National)

Engrossing and terrifying (New Statesman)

Ronson specialises in writing witty, wide-eyed, free-wheeling books . . . He is full of curiosity, and writes in a friendly, slightly faux-naif voice, but with strong moral antennae (Craig Brown Mail on Sunday)

Compulsively readable (Rachel Cooke Observer)

So You've Been Publicly Shamed is possibly [Ronson's] most ambitious project yet . . . a brilliantly articulated, sensitively rendered attempt to reform the world (Charlie Gilmour Independent)

So You've Been Publicly Shamed is fascinating, insightful and amusing and should be read by everyone (Women24)

Everyone who has any kind of online presence - including anonymous below-the-line commenters - will find this book gripping . . . Ronson remains one of our finest comic writers (India Knight Spectator)

[A] simultaneously lightweight and necessary book (Esquire)

I was mesmerized. And I was also disturbed (Cheryl Conner Forbes)

Gutsy and smart. . . Without losing any of the clever agility that makes his books so winning, he has taken on truly consequential material and risen to the challenge (Janet Maslin New York Times)

Read this book. Then tell someone else about it. Make sure you leave it in a place where an unsuspecting teen is lingering, they too could benefit from these timely fables of the digital world (Elisabeth Marrow Wairarapa Times)

A gripping book, well written, articulate, honest and incredibly relevant in today's society. A book everyone with a twitter account should read . . . This is a book that will grip you and really make you think about 21st century society in a different way, definitely one to read, and one to read now (New Zealand Library Blogspot)

Ronson is adept at taking a topic and explaining it through a number of case studies . . . His facts are gathered first-hand, his experiences conveyed with sharp observations of scene and character, and his conclusions logical. As contemporary society becomes ever more connected, Ronson's lessons will become even more important (Sunday Star Times)

Witty . . .clever and thought-provoking (Publishers Weekly)

This book really needed to be written (Salon)

One of our most important modern day thinkers, Jon Ronson . . . has written one of the most therapeutic books imaginable (Howard Forman US News & Word Report)

I very much enjoyed Jon Ronson's salutary examination of what happens when the internet turns on you: So You've Been Publicly Shamed (Picador). One stupid picture, one misplaced joke, and your life can be completely trashed. The book examines a very dark corner of the times we live in but manages to be both entertaining and humane (Anthony Horowitz Telegraph)

So You've Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson is the non-fiction book of the year - an alarming examination of victims and victimisers in the new social media sport of mob justice. (Mark Lawson, Best Holiday Reads 2015 Guardian)

Jon Ronson is unreal. So You've Been Publicly Shamed - everyone should read that book.He's one of my favourite human beings. (Bill Hader)

We love Jon Ronson. He's thoughtful and very funny. [So You've Been Publicly Shamed] is a great book about the way the internet can gang up on people and shame them, when they deserve it, when they don't deserve it and it's great (Judd Apatow)

A chilling look at how social media encourages witch hunts (Helen Lewis)

An important start to a necessary conversation on internet hate mobs (Naomi Alderman)

[Ronson] takes on one of the most egregious perils of life in the age of social media - the whopping magnification of some gaffe or misstep or downright lie - to the point that it achieves life-wrecking power. . .there's a lot to learn from his funny, insightful look at this red-hot topic (New York Times, Top Books of 2015)

Yes, it's a breezy read at the sentence level, but Ronson's latest book evokes a sense of dread that lingers. (TimeOut, Best Books of 2015)

Simmering with humour, weirdness and pathos (Sunday Times, Books of the Year)

A fascinating exploration of modern media and public shaming. John Ronson has provided me so many dinner party conversation topics with this book. It's a great conversation starter (Reese Witherspoon)

It is difficult to read this book and not feel equal parts righteous (because we wound never do the horrible things that the people in this book have done) and guilty (because we all have done the totally benign things that the people in this book have done), it's a terrifying and keen insight into a new form of misguided mass hysteria (Jesse Eisenberg)

I'll read anything by my old pal Ronson, who always tackles serious topics with a sense of play and an appreciation for the absurd (Sarah Vowell)

Review

'A magnificent book, subtly argued, often painfully funny and yet deeply serious ... I'm not sure I can recommend it highly enough.' (The Daily Mail)

'A work of original, inspired journalism, it considers the complex dynamics between those who shame and those who are shamed, both of whom can become the focus of social media's grotesque, disproportionate judgments.' (The Financial Times)

'Certainly, no [listener] could finish it without feeling a need to be gentler online, to defer judgment, not to press the retweet button, to resist that primal impulse to stoke the fires of shame.' (The Times)

'So You've Been Publicly Shamed is possibly [Ronson's] most ambitious project yet ... a brilliantly articulated, sensitively rendered attempt to reform the world.' (The Independent) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As a great admirer of Jon Ronson’s work, having read other books (particular favourites The Psychopath Test & Men who stare at Goats), I can’t help but admire his audacity and often ‘devil may care’ disregard for his own personal safety – a braver man than I, yet retains a basic honesty and a sense of modesty about his own abilities. This book began because someone stole his identity on Twitter and I was pulled into a world where ‘public shaming’ can ruin someone’s life and career by a mere word or tweet.
The first example, where someone writes a quite innocuous quote purported to have been spoken by a celebrity (Bob Dylan), exposes the author to be a serial purveyor of ‘alternative facts’. Discredited though he was and publicly shamed, not to be deterred, he attempts a public apology in front of a screen showing live real time Twitter tweets from the televised apology audience. So whilst apologising, the tweets take on a more serious and sinister turn and he is shamed once again as the audience get bored with his speech.
It shows how surprisingly easy it is for a person to be destroyed by social media by a simple slip of a tweet or a post. Like all of the author’s books there is the inevitable humour in the way it is delivered or a character is described, whilst underneath there rumbles an element of intimidation and threat that is ever present.
It is informative, shedding light on the murky worlds of Facebook, Twitter and Google and led me to google myself for the first time - unbelievable!
This book is exceptional (I think I feel that after every book I read of Jon Ronson’s) and opened up a whole explanation for me, a fairly new social media person, on how things have changed quite dramatically over the past four years.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It's no secret that the internet runs, in many ways, on self-righteous outrage. It's tweeters rounding on tweeters, facebook demagogues whipping up the credulous into frenzies. It's cats versus dogs, Jets versus Sharks, Montagues versus Capulets. It's a never-ending war of one-upmanship, where a significant proportion earn their kudos through the aggressive denouement of those virtual entities they have considered to be beneath contempt. I'm no angel in that respect - I've been scarred in a hundred internet wars, and scarred plenty of people in turn. Recently though I've started to become more troubled by the fact that outrage on the internet is wielded so casually and so easily against the caricatures that we construct of 'the enemy'. Ronson's book is a very good exploration of the actual lasting damage that kneejerk outrage can cause, and how the self-righteousness of vindictive shaming can leave the participants looking, in almost every respect, like the villains of the piece. It's an important book - a sobering book. It's not a perfect book, but it has the same Ronson quirks that are present in every book of his I have read - the book's main flaw is that it leaves me wanting to know more about each vignette he sketches.

The insights into Justine Sacco in particular are fascinating - a woman who made a stupid joke to a tiny audience, and had her life systematically dismantled as a result. I find that particular section chilling, because almost every day online I will make jokes that make hers look like the kind of somber, respectful, deeply appropriate comment one might give to a grieving widow at a friend's funeral.
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A witty and easy to read tale of caution, which if anything since the advent of Trump and Brexit now seems a little tame, or perhaps under stated. The use of social media to distort and shape the "echo chamber" and the normalisation of abuse where there used to be debate has moved on apace . I think this book needs to be on school curricula or the internet risks becoming mind numbingly nasty, or full of cats, with little in between.
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This is a great book for anyone who's ever looked through their social media timeline and got angry at something that somebody said. I read this book on the strength of the Psychopath Test and I'm glad I did. What Ronson does so well is highlight that often unspoken truth that all humans ever really want is to be accepted and not revealed to be a phoney. This book focuses on that and the impact being shamed has. Must read for the 21st century!!
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Jon Ronson is sympathetic to the plight of those that find themselves at the end of a firestorm for writing or saying something intended for a small group but being seen or heard by thousands, due to the wonders of modern (social) media and the requirement to have an opinion that they believe needs to be heard.
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I've never read a Jon Robson book before but I found this really insightful an Interesting. I remember many of the mass shavings mentioned in the book so it is definitely interesting stepping back and looking at humans and humanity under the microscope. I feel I've learned something and it's definitely made me feel like I should be more careful.
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