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So You've Been Publicly Shamed

3.89  ·  Rating Details  ·  17,748 Ratings  ·  2,227 Reviews
For the past three years, Jon Ronson has traveled 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 the transgression is revealed, collective outrage circles with the force of a hurricane and the next thing they know, they're being tor ...more
Hardcover, 290 pages
Published March 31st 2015 by Riverhead Books (first published March 9th 2015)
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Jason I was also hoping Williams would show up in the book, but I agree with Dan that the scandal was likely too recent. I think Williams is akin to the…moreI was also hoping Williams would show up in the book, but I agree with Dan that the scandal was likely too recent. I think Williams is akin to the other examples in the book: someone who did something kind of dumb and was publicly eviscerated. In Williams's case, however, I think there's an additional element of political partisanship at work. Regardless of his own politics, Williams represents the liberal media, which makes his transgressions particularly egregious as they relate to a traditionally conservative military. This is why Bill O'Reilly's similar wartime confabulations haven't become such an issue. O'Reilly also serves as a good example of someone who wouldn't allow himself to be shamed, much like Mike Daisey in the book after his fabricated Apple factory monologue.(less)
Neil Fix It does go into what next in a few cases; it deals with shame in several different situations and how it affected people. Some have been to a certain…moreIt does go into what next in a few cases; it deals with shame in several different situations and how it affected people. Some have been to a certain extent resolved, some not, but I can't say more without explaining the book(less)

Community Reviews

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Paul Bryant
Jul 31, 2015 Paul Bryant rated it really liked it
Shelves: modern-life
Update (I can't resist):

Let shame follow this dentist even unto the last drilling and the last filling. & when he crosses the great divide, let all the animals he shot be waiting for him



Here is a 100% fast fun astonishing intriguing hectic sprint through the strange subject of shame. Our tour guide, Jon Ronson, is an amiable journo who’s cherry-picked a few recent spasms of shaming for our delectation and schadenfreude. Like a freak show, we can gawp and shudder in d
Bill  Kerwin
May 21, 2016 Bill Kerwin rated it really liked it

Do you remember the woman flying to Africa--the one who tweeted a joke about how she was white and so wouldn't get AIDS there--the one who, after waking from her nap on the plane, found her joke had outraged the entire internet, that her job was lost and that her life was destroyed?

Ronson uses this case, and others like it, to investigate the process of public shaming in our high tech age. He shows us what a devastating and merciless process it can be, and how it is not done by them, but by us,
Petra X
I've finished the book, my least favourite of Ronson's. It was almost in two halves. The first was interesting the latter part, perhaps not a half but a third, was boring. It didn't finish as much as peter out. This is a bit of a long review because I've picked out the three people in the book most affected by being shamed.

There were a lot of cranky individuals featured. The most interesting being the serial liar (fabricator, maker-up of quotations, whatever you want) and self-plagiarist Jonah
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

Chicago commercial photographers

Most of you are probably already familiar with the concept of public shaming. Heck, we see it on Goodreads all the time. The author who chooses to get spammy or games the ratings system with sockpuppets or trolls reviews when someone dares to bash their “special snowflake” is quickly drawn and quartered by users. If you’re an American you were probably even forced to read about public shamings back in high school . . .

Chicago commercial photographers
(^^^^This vers
May 13, 2015 Diane rated it really liked it
This was a fascinating read about shame in the modern world. The Internet has made it easier to make a mistake and then be publicly humiliated for it, and Jon Ronson researched and wrote about a few famous cases.

One incident highlighted in the book is Justine Sacco. In December 2013, Sacco made a bad joke on Twitter, was hounded on the Internet, fired from her PR job, and has not fully recovered from the public shaming. This was the joke she wrote: "Going to Africa. Hope I don't get AIDS. Just k
Feb 05, 2016 Maxwell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have a lot of thoughts about this book because it was SO incredibly thought-provoking. I felt like every chapter brought on a major revelation or had a great nugget of wisdom to mull over. If anything it made me realize how incredibly powerful shame can be, as if we aren't all aware of that fact already. I doubt you could find a single person who hadn't been, at one time or another, shamed in some way in front of many people. But imagining how that must feel and then actually hearing from peop ...more
Aug 18, 2015 julio marked it as to-read
want to read this because this author gave an amazing TED talk about how the internet allows us the dark satisfaction of shaming another person without consequence to us.

in effect, destroying the lives of other people to feed the ragey beasts living in the darkness of our collective id.

all day long.

it's a fascinating talk:
May 04, 2015 Carina rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Okay my book club people, close your screen here and read no further. Walk away now, before you tar and feather me, and super glue the latest Franzen to my nose...

Started well, and as the back cover promised, had "funny and thoughtful" moments. But - there were parts that made me angry at the constructed and biased outcomes, there were holes so wide a road train could have done a 3 point turn, and anytime Ronson got close to touching on something important but complex, Jon Ronson ran away fast i
May 03, 2015 Chelsey rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
Coming from an infrequent Non Fictioner, I found this compulsively readable! Ronson's style is approachable, objective and even tender. He researches and speaks with a selection of people who have been shamed for everything from an under-the-breath comment, to a deadly, drunken car ride. He gives them a voice, humanizes them and shows the ways in which lives can be torn apart (and in some cases, put back together) by public shaming; either via a court sentence, or even Twitter. Though I did find ...more
Nov 25, 2015 Elyse rated it really liked it
"The Circle", by Dave Eggers ......eerily creepy -plausible-dystopia-social media-
"SHARING IS CARING" frickin -fun-reading....

"So You've Been Publicly Shamed", by Jon Ronson......brutal-humiliation-public shaming of people---"SHAME- on - those SHAMING" a warning...
.....scary jokes back-fired and became haunting
......tasteless trashy tearing people apart shamed people's behavior .....

The first part of this book I thought was pretty good- funny even. Jon Ronson begins with his firs
Sam Quixote

Jon Ronson is in a Shame Eradication Workshop in Chicago being screamed at by people who are letting out their inner monologues, uncensored. A couple of them have just admitted they enjoy having sex with their cats.

It’s part of Ronson’s exploration of modern public shaming, a lot of which focuses on social media sites like Twitter. A PR Exec called Justine Sacco tweeted “Going to Africa. Hope I don't get AIDS. Just
Feb 21, 2015 Mark rated it it was ok
Shelves: first-reads
Jon Ronson meanders around topics tangentially related to social media shaming. Like his other books, it is not so much a book about public shaming as it is the story of how he became aware of the topic, and what the expert he interviewed was wearing, and how the victim he interviewed moved her food with her fork at the restaurant, and how many times he checked his phone while observing a group therapy session. He offers no conclusions, just narcissistic vignettes.

I was moderately disappointed i
Jun 18, 2015 Mimi rated it it was ok
Brendon Schrodinger
Yes, I'm on a Jon Ronson binge. He's been keeping me comfortable and fascinated while busy working, studying and doing assignments. With only about 20 minutes or so a day this type of book has been perfect. Addictive, but able to dip in and out of with ease. I listened to the audiobook of this one read by Jon himself. Jon does a pretty decent job of reading his own work.

This time Jon is looking at the phenomenon of shaming, both online and in the media. What happens to someone who gets caught do
Apr 07, 2015 Amanda rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nerd
I'm giving this book five stars not because it is a perfect book, nor because I agree with everything in it. Rather, I think it is a very important book because delves into a conversation that everyone who uses the internet should be having with one another and themselves. This book made me thing deeply about my own use of social media while being extremely fascinating. Ronson goes in depth into many of the "flash in the pan" scandals that we all remember from the ast few years and which weren't ...more
Is social media; good or bad? Facebook is one of the original ones, but it has since been joined by Twitter and many others. Most of the time these can be a good thing, are fairly harmless, and keep people in touch with each other, but there are times when it isn’t. In this book Ronson meets and talks with those that have suffered from the overwhelming and brutal response from twitter, as well as other forms of public humiliation.

He starts with himself though. He is a bit of a twitter addict and
2.5 Stars, 3 for the first half and 2 for the second half. Entertaining, but superficial exploration of public shaming in the age of social media. I was expecting fluffy, but this was fluffier than most of the popular social science books I've read. It is as much about the author and the process of writing this book, as it is about public shaming. One of my biggest book pet peeves is when an author keeps mentioning the book in the book (also see: Yes Please), so that heavily colors my perspectiv ...more
I've always enjoyed Ronson's style of writing, and this is a typically light-hearted, pacy investigation, focusing on the idea of 'public shaming' and its latter-day resurrection in the forms of social media scandals, 'Twitterstorms' et al. I don't know why it's taken this long for it to occur to me that Ronson's books are like Louis Theroux TV shows in book form, but now that it has, this seems like a perfect example: each chapter features Ronson spending time with an individual whose 'life has ...more
Mark Edwards
Mar 21, 2015 Mark Edwards rated it really liked it
I love Jon Ronson's writing and public shaming is a topic I'm fascinated by, having long been appalled by the virtual-pitchfork-wielding mobs who regularly destroy lives on Twitter etc. So I was very excited about this book. Ronson's writing is as engaging and slyly self-deprecating as always here, and there are some stories in this book that made my blood boil, like the woman who tweeted about a computer geek telling a silly joke at a conference and got him fired. Sometimes I wonder if the worl ...more
Sophie Hannah
Nov 03, 2014 Sophie Hannah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Quite simply one of the best books I've ever read - about the way the internet allows us to persecute people who (almost always) don't deserve the suffering they then experience as a result. The cyber mob revealed in all its destructiveness - a compelling, important book.
Jan 28, 2015 Silea rated it liked it
Shelves: vine, arc, non-fiction
I think Ronson's arguments about the actual psychological and social damage of shame are powerful and important. However, several times during reading, i laughed. Out loud. And not at anything that was supposed to be funny.

For example, in a book about shaming, the author attributes the efficacy of those signs on the side of the road that tell you your speed to... feedback loops. He thinks the value is in showing [b]you[/b] your speed, not in showing [i]everyone around you[/i]. It's a shaming de
Apr 28, 2015 Marie rated it really liked it
(adapted from some stream-of-conscious twittering)

A very timely book in this age of public calling-out. Mostly I came away with the feeling that since no one is perfect, we are ALL a moment away from public shaming. And that's frightening. One careless statement, overheard by the wrong person, one thing taken out of context - and the internet has the power to ruin a life.

The other thing I came away with is an intense feeling of discomfort with the calling-out culture in general.

Perhaps the thin
Feb 22, 2016 Karla rated it really liked it
The shitstorms and wanky pile-ons on Goodreads disgust me. I thought they were awful and illustrative of the base nature of bored and bloodthirsty internet denizens but, after reading this book, I realize how naive that attitude was.

I take no small pride in the fact that I hadn't heard about any of these supposedly internet-melting public shamings until I read this book.

Then again, IDGAF about Twitter.

Jonah Lehrer's Dylan plagiarism... Justine Sacco's Joan-Riversesque AIDS tweet....The "Dongle B
Mar 20, 2015 Tony rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jon Ronson is the sort of journalist that you wish all journalists were, the sort you would hope to god that would be around if you were wronged and was on your side.

He has a lovely fluid writing style which is exactly how you would expect him to speak; and the book doesn't build to one almighty crescendo, no massive revelation but rather mini-theories throughout...

'I suppose it’s no surprise that we feel the need to dehumanize the people we hurt – before, during, or after the hurting occurs.'

Amanda Patterson
Feb 28, 2015 Amanda Patterson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jon Ronson is best known for writing 'The Men Who Stare At Goats' and 'The Psychopath Test'. A documentary film maker, he also writes columns for The Guardian. I have read three of his books and was eager to get stuck into this one.

'So You've Been Publicly Shamed' looks at the lives of people who have been affected by the re-emergence of public shaming which was largely outlawed by the beginning of the 20th Century. Public shaming included being put into stocks and receiving corporal punishment
James Cobo
Apr 01, 2015 James Cobo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An absolutely riveting read

I tore through this book in less than a day; as an inveterate sucker for books which attempt to illuminate what happens when human psychology slams into the internet, I'm surprised it took that long. Ronson is a compulsively readable writer, recounting anecdotes which contain multitudes in an easygoing, casual manner, and the stories he tells in this book have incredible depth, probably because they're so relatable - Ronson's undertaking in documenting cases of people
Leah Polcar

This review refers to the audiobook version.

Jon Ronson is amazing. So You've Been Publicly Shamed isn't amazing, but it is pretty darn good.

As is typical with Ronson -- and if you haven't read him, you really should -- he mixes humor and journalism and social science theories and factoids (in this instance, social psychology) to report on an unusual topic. In the past, we have gotten the lowdown on psychopaths (The Psychopath Test), secret US Army research departments (The Men Who Stare at G
Karin Schott
Feb 19, 2015 Karin Schott rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
This was my first Ronson book and I know it will not be my last. I found the book in the pile of advanced reader copies at work, lost behind a pile of ya teen lit with pictures of girls in diaphanous gowns. It was a nice departure from the books I have been reading (mostly middle grade readers).

This is what I enjoyed about the book. Ronson has an easy light writing style. He is a wry wit. His reporting is thorough and I found the way his line of questioning fleshed out the entirety of the topic
Benoit Lelievre
I want to give a low score to this book because it put me in such a foul mood, but can't bring myself to do so. Truth is, I work on social media and have witnessed several of the events discussed by Ronson as just one of the faces in the digital crowd. We're one of the first generations that graduated from college with a social science degree and we have done a terrible job at justifying our obscene levels of education by waging wars about everything and nothing and ganging up on scapegoats in t ...more
Apr 09, 2016 Christopher rated it really liked it
"As you from crimes would pardoned be,
Let your indulgence set me free."

Ok, the transgressions committed here are hardly Shakespearean. But it's interesting that some of these internet offense-causers have been treated more shabbily than had they been actual criminals.

Jon Ronson, a neat Brit I'd first come across via Them: Adventures with Extremists, tracks down people who committed the grievous sin of offending collectivist types (mostly) on social media. These include, most famously, Justice S
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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
More about Jon Ronson...

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“A life had been ruined. What was it for: just some social media drama? I think our natural disposition as humans is to plod along until we get old and stop. But with social media, we’ve created a stage for constant artificial high drama. Every day a new person emerges as a magnificent hero or a sickening villain. It’s all very sweeping, and not the way we actually are as people.” 20 likes
“But we know that people are complicated and have a mixture of flaws and talents and sins. So why do we pretend that we don’t?” 20 likes
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