Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “One On One” as Want to Read:
One On One
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

One On One

3.72  ·  Rating Details  ·  224 Ratings  ·  47 Reviews
101 chance meetings, juxtaposing the famous and the infamous, the artistic and the philistine, the pompous and the comical, the snobbish and the vulgar, each 1,001 words long, and with a time span stretching from the 19th century to the 21st.
Life is made up of individuals meeting one another. They speak, or don’t speak. They get on, or don’t get on. They make agreements, w
Hardcover, 358 pages
Published September 22nd 2011 by Fourth Estate (first published 2011)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about One On One, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about One On One

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 519)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Rebecca Foster
This is a fun “literary parlor game” of a book, with its chain of famous figures and their fortuitous meetings. Amongst my favorites, simply because of how bizarre they are, are two involving the Marx Brothers.

In 1931 the Marx brothers were staying in Los Angeles; Harpo just happened to be in a bungalow adjacent to Rachmaninoff. He was desperate to do his own musical practice on the harp, but his neighbor would persist in banging away at a piano. Harpo found out who his famous neighbor was and b
Jun 22, 2015 F.R. rated it really liked it
Here’s an interesting bauble of a Christmas book. The superb British humourist Craig Brown writes up 101 one on one encounters between the great and the good (as well as the not so great and the not so good), to shine a torch onto the darker – and probably somewhat inconsequential – corners of history. Each of these meetings follows on from the one before and clearly the more incongruous they are, the better Brown likes them. So we have Frank Lloyd Wright designing a house for Marilyn Monroe, Ma ...more
Jan 02, 2012 Charles rated it it was amazing
Craig Brown's insight as a humorist is that Marcel Proust lived in the same world as Simon Dee, that Churchill and Janis Joplin would have walked the same streets, might have known the same songs, or could have compared views on restaurants.

Such clashes - of our expectations more than anything else - have proved fertile ground for Brown's Private Eye diaries, his column in the Daily Mail and numerous other works.

But in One on One, he sets out to prove some of the links between unlikely pairs i
Jun 20, 2014 Parham rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
توجه: لطفا برای درست دیدن این متن کلیک راست کرده، جهت متن را تغییر دهید. باتشکر!

کتاب اصلی (one on one) شامل 101 برخورد تاریخی بین افراد مختلف است که در متن ترجمه شده (به گفته مترجم) به علت ناشناخته بودن بعضی از اشخاص یا "مشکل آفرین" بودن برخورد آن ها فقط 36 تا از این برخوردها آمده!
گرچه در پشت کتاب به نقل از جولیان بارنز نوشته شده "کتابی که بیش از همه چیز مرا خنداند" اما شاید در هنگام خواندن این کتاب حداکثر چند بار لبخندی ملایم بر لبتان بنشیند.
اما ارزش کتاب برای خود من از لحاظ اطلاعات تاریخی (
Jul 18, 2015 Wastrel rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, z-2012
A really great conceit, and an amusing and educational execution. Suffers a bit from repetition and lack of direction - may be better read chapter-by-chapter, now-and-then, rather than in one go.

Fuller thoughts here.
James Joyce doesn't say much to Marcel Proust! Hemingway is nasty to Ford Madox Ford, but only behind his back! Gorky thinks Tolstoy is wonderful, but then changes his mind, we don't know why!

When two famous, interesting people meet, nothing much happens. 101 times, in 101 words each.
This was okay - not as good as I first thought it would be. Some encounters were very interesting, like Dali fanboying Freud, Salinger hating on Hemingway, Chaplin hating on Groucho, Tchaikovsky avoiding Tolstoy in the street - that kind of thing. Proust meeting Joyce was pretty hilarious. Actually, it was a bit like reading Heat magazine without any pictures - which is sad. I like the pictures - those are the best bits. I would love to read the Heat version of the parting between Hitchcock and ...more
Feb 22, 2014 CuteBadger rated it liked it
At first glance this seems to be a bit of a gimmick of a book - it describes 101 meetings between the great and the good each in 1001 words, with the last meeting joining up with the first. In short a La Ronde of the famous.

Some of the individuals included are less well-known than others, but ever when a hugely famous figure is discussed there's generally a new angle or some previously unknown behaviour displayed so it's interesting even if you're quite familiar with all the people included.

Derek Collett
Dec 08, 2015 Derek Collett rated it liked it
Approached this with a lot of expectation, which was not really fulfilled. Many of the encounters are quite inconsequential, there is an unresolved) dispute about who said and did what and much of each 'one-on-one' is taken up by Brown filling in the background to each meeting. Inevitably, there is great variability in the interest and enjoyment evoked by each encounter. In general, I much preferred the late 20th-century ones to those from the early 1900s.

Nigel Balchin once said this: "The dange
Susan Rose
Feb 20, 2014 Susan Rose rated it really liked it
This book is a description chain of historical figures/famous/celebrated people meeting each other. For example the first entry is about how Adolf Hitler met John Scott-Ellis, the next John Scott-Ellis meeting Rudyard Kipling and so on. The sections are always interesting, sometimes funny and occasionally bizarre and are all exactly 1001 words long (about four and a half pages long).

I've been reading this book a few pages at a time since I got it at Christmas. This feels like the kind of book I'
Mar 30, 2012 Susan rated it it was amazing
This is really one of the most enjoyable reads I have had in a long while. A book describing 101 chance meetings, each described in exactly 1001 words, making it perfect to dip into or read in it's entirety. The random encounters lead off each other - so, for example, the first meeting is between Adolph Hitler, who is knocked down by John Scott-Ellis in 1931. This leads into John Scott-Ellis meeting Rudyard Kipling and Rudyard Kipling meeting Mark Twain, etc etc. The whole book comes full circle ...more
Dec 04, 2012 Jim rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, humour
This is a selection of pieces written to portray an instance from history when somebody famous bumped into somebody else famous and recorded the event. I struggled with this book at the start, as I am used to Craig Brown writing and taking on the persona of the person he's viewing the world from. So, were these meetings between the great and the good "encounters" made up, embellished, wished for or just a straightforward true account? Once I got my head around the fact that it was the latter cas ...more
Dec 22, 2012 Hannah rated it it was ok
Have you ever fallen into a Wikipedia rabbit hole, where you start out reading about, say, Winston Churchill, and an hour later, after having clicked from entry to entry, find yourself learning about the medicinal qualities of mulberries? This book is sort of like that: reading about one historical figure who met another historical figure, and then that second figure who encountered yet another... And on. Which is a pretty interesting concept for a book, but I think that it suffers both from man ...more
Charlotte (Buried in Books)
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 13, 2013 Longtallfran rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Consisting of 101 meetings between the famous and the notorious, each detailed in 1001 words, Craig Brown's 'One on One' is an entertaining light read.

Zig zagging back and forth in time from 1876 (Tolstoy and Tchaikovsky) to 2007 (Dominick Dunne and Phil Spector), each encounter is linked to the next via one of its participants. Starting and ending with Hitler, Craig Brown judges his audience deftly, and is happy to used each meeting as a device to speak broadly about it's participants and their
Sep 22, 2014 Konsumschnecke rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ich habe meinen Urlaubstag 1 mit diesem Buch verbracht und habe mich zum Teil köstlichst unterhalten gefühlt. 101 Begegnungen berühmter Menschen und es fühlte sich beim Lesen nicht so an, als ob man Schundblattleser wäre, sondern irgendwie einfach nur Zeitzeug. Das macht das Buch sympathisch.
Annie Harrison
Apr 04, 2013 Annie Harrison rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed One on One - for its sharp writing style, the intriguing insights into people who have shaped modern history and the underlying humour. We live in a world of celebrity and media hype. The images of world leaders, rock stars, royalty, actresses and influencers are portrayed with a layer of gloss. Craig Brown removes the veneer and shows that underneath all the hype, they are flawed humans just like the rest of us. This is as close as one can get to being a fly on the wall in ...more
Nov 04, 2011 Whitley rated it it was amazing
What a delightful surprise! I read a review of this is the UK Spectator, and I could not be happier that I bought it from (It is not published in the US). It consists of short anecdotes about meetings--often moving, always enlightening and revealing--between famous people. For example, did you know or ever even imagine that a young English aristocrat knocked Adolf Hitler down with his car in 1931--and regretted for the rest of his life that the then minor German politican was not k ...more
Khairul H.
Oct 26, 2011 Khairul H. rated it liked it
Another title for this book could be "A Hundred and One Degrees of Separation". Beginning with Hitler getting knocked down by John Scott Ellis (who? He was also known as Baron Howard de Walden...yeah, that name means nothing to me either), it links a myriad of famous and infamous people throughout 20th century Western history through their brushes with each other.

Each entry is short (the author claims each and every entry contains exactly 1001 words), filled with interesting tidbits and many irr
Feb 11, 2013 Emma rated it liked it
I started reading this book thinking how clever it was. a 1001 words on meetings between certain people through time, all of whom are linked to the next person in some way.Some of these chapters/vignettes are really interesting and amusing but, after a while it seems more a book to dip into, rather than to read through.
Some of the meetings seemed quite unlikely and very interesting historically from that point of view.
Seems to me to be the sort of book to put in the spare bedroom for guests to d
Sep 22, 2013 Howard rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: goodreads-read
Hugely entertaining collection of anecdotes from 2012 involving meetings of 2 figures from across various fields - painting, films, music, royalty etc. - from mostly C20th. Usual suspects like Churchill, Groucho, Dali, Houdini and Howard Hughes rub shoulders with less well known but equally fascinating characters such as the guru Gurdjieff and the 'muse' Isadora Duncan. A meets B, B meets C and so on. Brown packs each 1001 word sketch with juicy quotes and bizarre details.
Dec 29, 2014 Eugenia rated it liked it
Terry Clague
Nov 18, 2012 Terry Clague rated it liked it
A one-hundred-degrees-of-separation anecdote-gasm care of Private Eye's in-house satirical diarist Craig Brown , which takes the reader on a journey (yes, a journey Simon Whitmore) around meetings (some rather unlikely) between the famous and the infamous. It's very enjoyable, though loses a couple of marks for strenuously sticking to the present tense throughout which is never anything other than irritating. Highly recommended though - thanks Hywel!
Drew Buddie
Aug 24, 2012 Drew Buddie rated it it was amazing
I really like books that make you think differently. This book which features fictionalised accounts of well known, and not so well known historical encounters between famous people, hit all the right spots with me. It consists of 101 chapters each of which contains 1,001 words and begins where it ends. A nice easy read, which although I read it in 2 consecutive sittings, could also be dipped into on a more drawn out basis.
James Robertson
Aug 01, 2013 James Robertson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I didn't think that the notion of linked encounters between famous individuals would hold my attention and interest for long, but about 50 pages in I found I was completely hooked, and read rapidly and keenly to the end. A dazzling and at times very funny, though also sympathetic and even moving, exploration of human vanity and folly. I learned a great deal too, but never felt I was being anything other than entertained.
Feb 02, 2013 Johanne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Clever idea - it takes 6 degrees of separation and makes a whole book out of it, each piece is about the meeting of two famous people people and each is linked to the next by one of those people like a story telling daisy chain. The vignettes are often fascinating and make you want to read more about that person (& just ocassionally less!) and there are some really funny bits (which are sometimes tucked in the foot notes.
Michael Sanderson-green
Jun 01, 2012 Michael Sanderson-green rated it did not like it
I have steadily ground to a halt with this badly written drivel , such a great idea and I started off reading with such great enthusiasm but his stupid idea of making each chapter 1001 words long and monotonous style of each chapter has left me cold and half way. I will proberly finish it chapter at a time over the next year so I don't believe I'm waiting too much time.
Apr 04, 2013 Ade rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: partly-read, essays
Began to pall towards the end but still plenty to savour. Think the 1,001 word count per chapter is a fairly pointless & simple conceit; Brown simply writes the core of the encounter, fills in some vaguely relevant anecdotes to either party and then edits to hit the limit. It's just a formula. That nitpick aside, passes the time enjoyably.
Jan 12, 2012 Venuskitten rated it it was amazing
An intriguing, original and fascinating book comprising 101 factual accounts of meetings between two well known people, ranging from Hitler to the Queen Mother to Madonna. Each chapter comprises exactly 1001 words and one of the parties is a party to the next meeting, and so on, so the book forms a sort of daisy chain. Recommended.
Frank O'connor
Apr 06, 2014 Frank O'connor rated it it was amazing
This is a book about human social life. The meetings are concise examples of human vanity, absurdity, poignancy and love. Each is concisely described with a wit so subtle that it promotes thought and laughter at the same time. There is a lot to learn here and a lot to be reminded of.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 17 18 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • More Awkward Situations for Men
  • Backroom Boys: The Secret Return of the British Boffin
  • Blood in the Fields: Ten Years Inside California's Nuestra Familia Gang
  • Virginia Woolf
  • Walk the Lines: The London Underground, Overground
  • Family Britain, 1951-1957
  • When Skateboards Will Be Free: A Memoir of a Political Childhood
  • A Rap on Race
  • The Four-Dimensional Human: Ways of Being in the Digital World
  • A Well-Paid Slave: Curt Flood's Fight for Free Agency in Professional Sports
  • The People's Songs: The Story of Modern Britain in 50 Records
  • The Way the World Works
  • Molly Ivins Can't Say That, Can She?
  • Heads and Straights: The Circle Line
  • John F. Kennedy
  • Love You Bye: My Story
  • The DiMaggios: Three Brothers, Their Passion for Baseball, Their Pursuit of the American Dream
  • Flags and Faces: The Visual Culture of America's First World War
Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name.

Craig Edward Moncrieff Brown (born 23 May 1957, Hayes, Middlesex) is a British critic and satirist from England, probably best known for his work in British magazine Private Eye.
More about Craig Brown...

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »

“another of their acquaintances finds himself mesmerised by the way that he 'always had something of ... rivetting stupidity to say on any subject'.” 2 likes
More quotes…