The New York Times–bestselling author of The Psychopath Test, Jon Ronson writes about the dark, uncanny sides of humanity with clarity and humor. Lost at Sea reveals how deep our collective craziness lies, even in the most mundane circumstances.
Ronson investigates the strange things we’re willing to believe in, from lifelike robots programmed with our loved ones’ personalities to indigo children to hypersuccessful spiritual healers to the Insane Clown Posse’s juggalo fans. He looks at ordinary lives that take on extraordinary perspectives, for instance a pop singer whose life’s greatest passion is the coming alien invasion, and the scientist designated to greet those aliens when they arrive. Ronson throws himself into the stories—in a tour de force piece, he splits himself into multiple Ronsons (Happy, Paul, and Titch, among others) to get to the bottom of credit card companies’ predatory tactics and the murky, fabulously wealthy companies behind those tactics. Amateur nuclear physicists, assisted-suicide practitioners, the town of North Pole, Alaska’s Christmas-induced high school mass-murder plot: Ronson explores all these tales with a sense of higher purpose and universality, and suddenly, mid-read, they are stories not about the fringe of society or about people far removed from our own experience, but about all of us.
Incisive and hilarious, poignant and maddening, revealing and disturbing—Ronson writes about our modern world, the foibles of contemporary culture, and the chaos that lies at the edge of our daily lives.
British journalist Ronson amazes with a brand new, absurdly entertaining anthology of his Guardian and GQ pieces. The author has a knack for insinuating himself into the most entertaining of circumstances, whether that puts him behind the scenes of the Alaskan town whose citizens have for years been answering Santa Claus' letters, tagging along to a UFO convention with British pop megastar Robbie Williams, or enjoying unprecedented access to the archives and possessions of the late Stanley Kubrick. Ronson wrangles the most unlikely variety of nontraditional interview subjects, and cannily asks precisely the questions the reader didn't know needed asking. Some of the essays make for comparatively heavier reading than others, but the author continually shows his impressive aptitude for adapting his tone and style for the subject matter at hand; accordingly, an in-depth profile of Britain's community of assisted-suicide "midwives" manages to feel at home in the same volume as stories with much lower stakes, like his expose of a convicted game show cheat. The quality of Ronson's journalism, breadth of subjects, and bite-sized nature of the pieces makes this a great addition to one's nonfiction library.
Captivating yet Unguided
The stories within this book are intriguing and unique, yet there seems to be a missing underlying storyline. As an investigative journalist, Ronson presents these stories in an honest fashion with minimal bias and deductions. I felt at times that an overarching plot or some more personal input from Ronson would have helped. Overall, great book, a must read. Also note, great book to read in bits and pieces. Because the book has individual stories, you can read one and pick the book up months later(which I doubt you will wait) and not feel lost...at sea.
Fun, interesting read
You know when you're reading a good book and it comes to the end and you're like...dammit....now what? Interesting and entertaining. The Goldfinger bit had me laughing out loud and the six degrees of a billionaire left me feeling uneasy...barely better than the couple from Des Moine. Loved the book and am glad I read it.
A quick read. At times interesting. Not the best read of the year. Just decent.