From the Sunday Times top ten bestselling author of The Psychopath Test, a captivating and brilliant exploration of one of our world's most under-appreciated forces: shame.
"superb and terrifying" The Guardian
'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.
PRAISE FOR SO YOU'VE BEEN PUBLICLY SHAMED
"Immensely readable" The Independent
"A work of original, inspired journalism" Financial Times
"A magnificent book, subtly argued, often painfully funny and yet deeply serious ... I'm not sure I can recommend it highly enough" Daily Mail
"The book slowly turns out to be something bigger than it seems: a survival guide to living with shame both public and private, an inevitable consequence of being human" Saturday Paper
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Have you ever done something you’ve later regretted? If you’re human, the answer is “yes.” For most of us, profound regret is punishment enough—but for an unlucky few, a single mistake (and the social media fallout) can derail an entire life. In this incisive, expansive, and unendingly fascinating treatise on modern shaming, Jon Ronson deconstructs a handful of recent and very public humiliations. We were riveted by his explorations of the questions, why do we judge so quickly and who do we judge most harshly?
Bestselling author Ronson (The Psychopath Test) ruminates on high-profile shaming in the social-media age in this witty work. He interviews disgraced pop-science author Jonah Lehrer, fresh off a hellish apology tour, and the remorseful journalist who outed Lehrer as a plagiarist. PR executive Justine Sacco reflects on her own life, left in ruins after a single ill-conceived tweet, and elsewhere Ronson recounts how an inappropriate comment at a tech convention devolved into bedlam, with online threats of rape and death. For historical perspective, Ronson goes into 19th-century stockades, public whippings, and the theory of "group madness" popularized by Gustave LeBon, inspiration for the controversial Stanford Prison Experiments, in which ordinary students were transformed into sadistic guards. Ronson's explorations also take him to an S&M sex club, a ridiculous "shame-eradication workshop," and a therapy program for incarcerated women run by former New Jersey governor James McGreevey. Ronson is self-reflective and honest about his own complicity in the cultural piling-on he observes, recalling a spite-fueled campaign he orchestrated via Twitter against a journalist. Clever and thought-provoking, this book has the potential to open an important dialogue about faux moral posturing online and its potentially disastrous consequences.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Documenting our times
Jon Ronson does an amazing job of showing just how our society has evolved or devolved into using our mass social media to spread our self-righteousness. Very funny and engaging!