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Lost At Sea: The Jon Ronson Mysteries

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  10,985 ratings  ·  912 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
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Hardcover, 400 pages
Published November 27th 2012 by Riverhead Hardcover (first published January 1st 2012)
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3.97  · 
Rating details
 ·  10,985 ratings  ·  912 reviews


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Ana Mardoll
Jan 18, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: ana-reviewed
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
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Melki
May 12, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humorous-essays
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
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Caroline
Oct 26, 2016 rated it liked it
Recommended to Caroline by: Jan
Shelves: essays
I'm a fan of the geeky, quirky Jon Ronson - but found this collection of his essays a little patchy. Plus I had already read a couple of these essays in his other books. There are some absolute gems here though, and herewith my favourites...or in some instances, essays that made me sit up and take notice.

The Name's Ronson, Jon Ronson

Here he celebrates the centenary month of Ian Flemming's birth - by travelling in James Bond's footsteps, from London to Geneva, driving a vintage Aston Martin. The
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Petra Eggs
Apr 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
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
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
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Sam Quixote
Oct 15, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mac
Nov 23, 2012 rated it liked it
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
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Tom Quinn
Dec 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Ronson is a charmingly befuddled Everyman. I can only imagine him blushing while writing things like, "When I was a child and I imagined my future life, there were definitely talking robots living in my house, helping with the chores and having sex with me." (17) As an interviewer he doesn't ask the hard questions, but he asks the kind of questions that I might ask. Hesitant, baffled, trying to keep up—his persona is charming and really carries his writing. This essay collection is some of his b ...more
Anna Janelle
Aug 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
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Ross Blocher
Aug 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Lost At Sea easily wins as my new favorite "collection of essays" book. Jon Ronson is always entertaining: his persistent curiosity and willingness to grab a flight to go ask so-and-so about such-and-such seems so audacious while at the same time feeling perfectly natural. He has the ability to ask questions people don't normally ask, and root out surprising responses or telling evasions. Maybe it's a combination of his unusual inflection and non-judgmental honesty, or just the fact that he's th ...more
Lauren
Wholly brilliant.

Not every essay gripped me in the same way, but I thoroughly enjoyed this collection of Ronson's work. It was particularly great to listen to on audiobook, read by Ronson himself. It's very conversational, and you can hear the memories of the interviews in his voice: meeting Stanley Kubrick's family, the Insane Clown Posse, his re-hashing of the Frank story, the "right-to-die" movement advocates, the "Real Life Super Hero" movement, the Jesus Christians voluntarily donating kid
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Lea
Nov 06, 2012 rated it liked it
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
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Laura
May 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
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John Wiltshire
Sep 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
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Pink
May 20, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
Steve Johnson
Dec 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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
Nov 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
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Annerlee
This book is a series of articles by journalist Ron Jonson, who I had no experience of before downloading this audiobook.

The articles were interesting enough at the beginning but ultimately didn't hold my attention for the duration. The humour and Jon's sly takes on the observed situations were fine at first, bringing on the odd chuckle, but began to grate on me as time went on. I began to tire of what I increasingly felt to be opinionated and unfounded comments. There was no development, the s
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Amy
Sep 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
Ronson voyages once again into the world of oddballs, conspiracy theorists, psychopaths, and the Insane Clown Posse (but I repeat myself). Some of these pieces, most of which were written for the Guardian, feel a little too short and seem to just stop instead of working to a satisfying conclusion -- I wanted him to dig deeper into the whole Indigo Children nonsense, for example. Two standout pieces: one examining the many ways credit card companies target the people most likely to get into debt, ...more
Lena
Oct 31, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: essays, non-fiction
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
Eris
Dec 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sofia
Mar 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
This was my introduction to Jon Ronson, and it was a pretty good one. While I enjoyed the first section of the book (with articles on artificial intelligence, indigo children, etc) more than the rest, it's a testament to Ronson's writing skills that he managed to pique my interest even with the pieces on economics. The best part about this collection is that, with every article, you learn interesting trivia about many different subjects. It's also very interesting to see how Ronson treats some o ...more
Ron Davidson
Dec 14, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Duncan Reed
Dec 29, 2017 rated it liked it
The first half of the book is classic Jon Ronson, and very interesting and funny for it. The second half is just bleakly depressing - people committing suicide because of their inability to cope with huge debts, people disappearing off cruise liners (presumed suicide)… Because it is a whole series of Guardian stories/articles, there is unfortunately not a narrative through the book - definitely read one of his other books before this, which are all brilliant
Freesiab (Bookish Review)
Jan 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book is a collection of short articles that range from the disturbing to the just plain weird. Of course I loved it all. There are a few that fell flat but over all the subjects were fascinating, as always, and Ronson's writing is sharp.
Ryan
Mar 06, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved Ronson’s first two, and this was up next. I guess my reaction stems from the fact that my reading of this follows those first two: with Men Who Stare at Goats and THEM, each chapter was a new little “mystery” or story in the greater exploration of a unified theme, a larger picture with pretty major implications and far-reaching effects. Here, we have a pretty random collection of 10-20 page scenes of weirdness, like reading an internet article, a magazine article or something.

The subhea
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Amina |  PAPER/PLATES
Nov 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Danielle
Dec 27, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, tidbits
I fortuitously found this book in our neighborhood little lending library the day I left on an international trip. I felt like I'd never heard of it (though I've read other books by Ronson) but when I came to enter this review, it turns out it's been on my 'to-read' list, so yay for me.
I liked (not loved) this book, and found it very readable. Some chapters (essays) were more interesting than others. I only read it 2 months ago, but I'm struggling to recall anything that particularly stood out
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Tom
Apr 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is a collection of short investigations and interviews by Jon Ronson, covering such diverse topics as a young woman who went missing off a Disney cruise liner, people who believe their children are psychically gifted, psychics who scam people with missing children, Stanley Kubrick's widow and an interview with the cult-like rap group Insane Clown Posse (after they came out as Christians, no less). The above is a highly condensed list, as I am leaving out important items like the woman who i ...more
Emily
Oct 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
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Jon Ronson is a writer and documentary filmmaker. His work includes the international bestsellers Them: Adventures With Extremists and The Men Who Stare at Goats, which was adapted into a major motion picture starring George Clooney, Ewan McGregor, Kevin Spacey and Jeff Bridges.

A contributor to The Guardian, Ronson is the author of the columns "Human Zoo" and "Out of the Ordinary". He writes and p
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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”
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“Wow," I say, politely, but I don't feel it. I'm like a sociopath when it comes to expensive cars. I feel no emotion.” 8 likes
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