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Lost At Sea: The Jon Ronson Mysteries

3.95 of 5 stars 3.95  ·  rating details  ·  6,624 ratings  ·  658 reviews
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’ personali
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published November 27th 2012 by Riverhead Hardcover (first published January 1st 2012)
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Petra X
I bought this book on 22nd November 2012 and read and reviewed it within the next three weeks. It is yet another book missing from my bookshelves together with its review and comments. Whenever I write to Goodreads or post on Feedback about these missing books there is never any serious answer and it's not me alone. It must be me. I must have deleted it 'by accident' or something. Why would I delete a book and review? I have started to export my books but I didn't do it very often (if at all!) b ...more
If you haven't read anything by Ronson, this collection of 20+ essays would be a great starting point.

His topics range from real-life superheroes to "psychic" Sylvia Browne, and his writing, while pithy and skeptical, shows a remarkable amount of humor and compassion. Though a few of the pieces didn't really go anywhere, all foreplay and no climax, if you will - alien hunting with Robbie Williams, is one that left me scratching my head - most are solidly written, absorbing studies of unusual and
Ana Mardoll
Lost At Sea / 9781594631375

I read this book because it was selected for our book club, and I am terribly disappointed with it. I don't recommend this book at any price, for I found it to be very poorly researched and (more importantly) to put forth some really contemptible ideas about marginalized people and victims of abuse.

I initially thought this book to be a collection of journalistic articles on various interesting and zany topics, but I found the "journalism" part to be very lacking. In a
Sam Quixote
In nearly every article of the book, journalist Jon Ronson is able to pick an extraordinary subject to write about in an interesting and engaging way. I loved reading about real life “superhero” Phoenix Jones as he patrols the streets of Chicago, trying to make drunk drivers eat tacos before getting behind the wheel, or discovering that the rap duo Insane Clown Posse have been covert Christians their entire careers, believing they were making converts of their listeners subliminally for 20 years ...more
Brendon Schrodinger
After enjoying "The Psychopath Test" I was up for more Jon Ronson in my life. I picked up this collection of his essays and I was not disappointed.

I'd best describe Jon as Louis Theroux style exploits with Mary Roach humour. Mary can be great, but sometimes the rigour lacks. Jon is much better on the research and rigour, but still a journalist style. It's not an academic book making academic claims, and don;t mistake it for that. It's more on the entertainment side of informative.

Jon has fun wit
Ronson has a good eye for bizarre nonfiction investigation. He writes about assisted suicide practitioners, people preparing for alien visits, robots with artificial intelligence, a high school mass murder plot in North Pole, Alaska, a Christmas themed town, and a person's mysterious disappearance from a Disney cruise ship. Each chapter is a captivating subject, and together they paint a picture of the strange world we live in. So I read with interest.

That said, I found many chapters to be thin
Anna Janelle
SIX STARS, I say. SIX STARS for Jon Ronson!

I'm always amazed by Jon Ronson's style. He is witty, self-depreciating and observant. This collection of non-fiction stories takes a look at both those on the fringe of society (other-worldly Indigo children, psychics, robot-enthusiasts, and Jesus Christian cults) as well as issues that affect more ordinary people (like the economic collapse, unequal taxation as well as crime and punishment). I've been told that the many of the short stories in this co
John Wiltshire
I think reading habits have changed dramatically since electronic readers were invented--I know mine have. I have literally hundreds of books on mine in no particular order and when I'm too lazy to get up and research why I've put a book on there, I tend to just click on it and start reading. Hence I'm 30% through this and thinking, "Huh, weird, he's mixing real people into this really, really bizarre science fiction story. Is that allowed?"
Yeah. Duh.
I got up and did the research.
So, this is a
I laughed harder at this book than I’ve ever laughed at any book ever. Not all the way through, mind you - some parts were serious, some sad and some downright depressing, but there were also bits where out of nowhere I’d find myself bent-double, honking with laughter or shooting tea out of my nose.

This is a collection of journalism by Jon Ronson, published in various places and over a period of around 20 years. My plan was to read a chapter at a time, interspersing them with other books, but I
3.5 stars

I'm a big fan of Jon Ronson, so I had to buy this book as soon as I saw he had something new out. Like many of his other books, this one is a collection of shorter essays or articles. This book deals with a wide range of subjects, from juggalos to income disparity in the U.S. It's all fascinating, but the majority of the pieces are so short that they end up feeling insubstantial, and ultimately forgettable. I will continue seeking out Ronson's previous books, and I will certainly buy an
Steve Johnson
When I saw that this book opens with Ronson's Insane Clown Posse interview (which is one of my favorite things ever), I was afraid it would be downhill from there. To some extent, that turned out to be true--the ICP interview is still probably my favorite piece--but for the most part it's a pretty gentle descent. Some articles are better than others, but they're all good and a few are very good. Unlike Ronson's previous books of (if I remember Jon Stewart's phrase correctly) "satirical investiga ...more
Jason Edwards
Jon Ronson writes for the Guardian UK, and this is a collection of articles from his works. It’s his third collection of such articles, and while the first two are more about himself, this one picks up the thread in his earlier work Them: Adventures with Extremists. He also wrote The Men Who Stare at Goats, and The Psychopath Test.

I read The Psychopath Test based solely on Ronson’s interview on The Daily Show, and picked up Lost at Sea for the same reason. I saw the film version of The Men Who S
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Growing up, my dad taught me many important lessons. They included things like vitamin-popping, punctuality, and the lesson he reiterated the most: “Katie, people aren’t rational. Remember that.” Bestselling author Jon Ronson and my father are of the same mind. In Lost at Sea, Ronson takes us on a journey through the weirdness, superstition, and delusions that consume “ordinary” people. The book traverses the outer reaches of normality in outer reaches of the globe: North Pole, Alaska, chateaus ...more
It's very hard to describe this collection of Guardian and GQ columns written by the author of Men Who Stare at Goats. On the surface, the topics sound decidedly dark - a high-school murder plot in North Pole, Alaska, the suspected cover up of the disappearance of a Disney cruise employee who went missing off a ship, the trial of an '80s pop star accused of pedophilia. But Ronson is the kind of narrator who has the gift of making all these stories accessibly human, truly fascinating, and weirdly ...more
Ron Davidson
First, let me say I loved "The Psychopath Test," and the author is always interesting on TV shows -- very witty, but also skilled at reporting unusual stories with clarity and depth. This book, however, failed to excite me, and it's hard to explain why. Perhaps because it is composed of a series of essays that, although they are presented in thematic sections, don't really offer any grand narratives or analysis, beyond something like "people's lives are very different." Perhaps I went into the b ...more
This was okay, but of all the Jon Ronson books I've read it's my least favourite. I think that's because it's the least cohesive, as a range of magazine articles, that aren't really connected. I've much preferred his other books, but this is perfectly readable if you're a Ronson fan and want more.
In this collection, mostly consisting of articles he wrote for The Guardian, journalist Jon Ronson investigates many things a lot of us have wondered about, as well as some things we never even thought to wonder about. A short list includes celebrity psychics, credit card offers, Juggalos, Stanley Kubrick's house, Indigo children, AI robotics, NLP, and people who go missing from cruise ships.
The chapters are brief, just long enough to skim the surface of the topic at hand, but Ronson asks his i
Ronson is that rare journalist who transcends his usual medium (The Guardian) to become something greater: a fantastic narrative non-fiction writer. In this book, he departs from his usual format of longer investigative pieces to present a collection of his best satirical and self-deprecating works. Each of his subjects may live crazy lives, but Ronson is a master at finding the humanity in every uncanny circumstance. Highlights include an interview of the rap duo known as the Insane Clown Posse ...more
Alex Sarll
Much of this journalism collection I read when the pieces were originally published, some more in my mum's copy of the collection at Christmas, and I've just polished off the rest in a library copy. Except that some pieces I read on two (or in one case three) of those occasions, because Ronson at his best is that good. Yes, gonzo journalism is now mainstream, but when Ronson situates himself in the story, he does so not as some gung-ho parody of Hunter, not as a faux-everyman, but as *himself*, ...more
If Jon Ronson likes or doesn't like one of his subjects, he says so. He has empathy for those who live strange or unconventional lives and is not afraid to criticise those he thinks are taking advantage of others. Sometimes he laughs at people, but only those he thinks are rich enough to take it. He presents with quiet dignity the lives of those who are struggling. He's a funny, self-deprecating writer, who can also use silence in his interviews to make some powerful points about self-delusion. ...more
This is the best John Ronson book yet. I suppose if I had a subscription to the Guardian, I would have been familiar with many of these articles before, but I found them brilliant, entertaining and insightful.

Oh, he's biased, all right. He doesn't seem to believe in much, and he seems baffled by those who do. But, he does appear to try to cover the various sides of different cases. You're never confused about where he stands, but I feel he leaves enough room to draw your own conclusions.

When he
Harriet Kelly
For subject matter that is not that out of the ordinary, Ronson puts a strange spin on everything that he covers. When his articles start with something strange, he makes it stranger. Does he live in this weird state or just take us there as his occupation?

I don't care - I really like reading what he has to say. He draws few conclusions but reading a couple of articles in a row leaves me looking at my world a little differently and makes me wonder about how many conclusions I come to every day t
After absolutely hating The Psychopath Test I don't know why I even picked up this book, but I'm glad I did. The first few stories (ICP, AI) hooked me right in, I think their short lengths helped keep me from being irritated by his writing (honestly, I actually think it's his personality that made me dislike his writing?), and I definitely don't have the attention span for anything too long, flowery or intellectual at this point in the semester. I did have an issue with the piece on Jonathon Kin ...more
This is my first Jon Ronson book and I enjoyed it so much that I immediately added every other book he's written to my reading list.

It's a series of vignettes on different topics loosely grouped together in a handful of sections. I didn't really get the section groupings; I didn't think that the chapters within each necessarily went together all that well. Also, some of the chapters fell flat for me (the one about the famous British music industry pedophiles left a bad taste in my mouth).

For the
Interesting and quirky articles on a range of subjects, from the very funny to the incredibly poignant.
Just as an aside, my favourite quote from 'The Amazing Adventures of Phoenix Jones':
'The superheroes all have bulletproof vests. I have a cardigan'.
If that doesn't pique your interest, nothing will.
Jon Ronson is a journalist who tells stories about unusual people and bizarre events. I listened to the audio version, where he narrates each essay. I was throughly entertained, but I am partial to people who are a little odd! Ronson's quiet, non-objective storytelling is funny and informative. At the beginning I kept asking myself- is he really trying to understand all this weirdness, or is it just an act?

Example: he signs up for an Alpha course with the charismatic Nicky Gumble, of the Church
A clever, darkly witty book from the author of "The Psychopath Test" and "The Men Who Stare At Goats". Highly recommended.
I got a little bogged down in one of the longer pieces near the end, but for the most part, I found these articles sharp, interesting, and highly readable. There's a sort of ironic twist that I've come to expect from Ronson--almost a lightness in dealing with dark subject matter that's near to being flippant but is not actually flippancy. I don't even know what to call it or how to describe it, but it's there in almost every piece: a comment or a turn of phrase that seems to be saying, "See? I c ...more
Dee Capybara
Oh the shit Jon gets into!! A great read, and as always eye opening!!!
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Jon Ronson is a writer and documentary film maker. His books, Them: Adventures With Extremists and The Men Who Stare At Goats were international bestsellers. The Men Who Stare At Goats was adapted into a major motion picture starring George Clooney, Ewan McGregor, Kevin Spacey and Jeff Bridges.

He's written the popular "Human Zoo" and "Out of the Ordinary" columns for The Guardian, where he still c
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“A strange thing happens when you interview a robot. You feel an urge to be profound: to ask profound questions. I suppose it’s an inter-species thing. Although if it is I wonder why I never try and be profound around my dog.
‘What does electricity taste like?’ I ask.
‘Like a planet around a star,’ Bina48 replies.
Which is either extraordinary or meaningless - I’m not sure which”
“It is slightly chilling to realize there are rational, functional people up there employed to spot, nurture, and exploit those down here among us who are irrational and can barely cope. If you want to know how stupid you’re perceived to be by the people up there, count the unsolicited junk mail you receive. If you get a lot, you’re perceived to be alluringly stupid.” 6 likes
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