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Lost At Sea: The Jon Ronson Mysteries

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  13,812 ratings  ·  1,082 reviews
Ronson has spent his life investigating crazy events, following fascinating people and unearthing unusual stories. Collected here from various sources (including the Guardian and GQ America) are the best of his adventures. Always intrigued by our ability to believe the unbelievable, Jon meets the man preparing to welcome the aliens to earth, the woman trying to build a ful ...more
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published November 27th 2012 by Riverhead Hardcover (first published January 1st 2012)
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Average rating 3.98  · 
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 ·  13,812 ratings  ·  1,082 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
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 an
Oct 26, 2016 rated it liked it
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
Petra has the Chinese gift that keeps on giving
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
B Schrodinger
Sep 25, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, humour
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
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
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
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
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
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
Oct 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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
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
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
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
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. ...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
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
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
Oct 31, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, essays
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
Dec 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
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Krystelle Fitzpatrick
Sep 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Please give me more of these books. Send them to my home, mail them, attach them to carrier pigeons, I don't care how you do it, but give me more of these books.

I love looking in on people, and this book is just full of it. And in almost short story format too, no less! It's a delight to be given titbits of people, and delve into small snapshots, especially when it's on the wilder side. This book covers so many facets and people from all walks of life, it's hard to know where to begin. I found
Emer Ní Conchúir
May 10, 2021 rated it liked it
I love Jon Ronson's work however this just left me a bit underwhelmed.

There were some really great chapters but he tries to tie random chapters together under a very broad theme. I preferred his other works such as So You've Been Publicly Shamed and The Psychopath Test as they had an overarching idea or theme to them.

I think this is a really well done collection of different journalist ventures however I found it really hard to get through the chapters as I simply didn't care about the subject m
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
Sam Brown
Nov 13, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-2021-in-books
Thus ends my journey through Jon Ronson's entire bibliography - at least, all of his substantive, published works. This collection is very demonstrable of his talents and strengths. Aside from being incredibly readable, Jon has such a meek fly-on-the-wall presence in every story he tells and it brings such humanity to the craziness he endures. I'm attracted to stories about sane men in an insane world, which covers just about everything Jon Ronson's ever written - probably why I like him so much ...more
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. ...more
Megan ☾ Michaels
I enjoyed the format of this book and the wide variety of subjects it covered although I did find the last section pretty tedious and also distinctly more serious/disturbing than the rest of the book!
Oct 04, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ronson writes such interestingly odd books & this collection of characters he’s interviewed over the years gives a great taste of his storytelling. Whether he is following a religious group that wants to donate their kidneys, an ex-cult leader that is now big in the business world teaching influencing others, looking through Stanley Kubrick’s estate, or interviewing Margaret Keane about the theft of her artwork….each personality is truly one-of-a-kind.
Jul 13, 2022 rated it really liked it
A lot of enjoyable content is to be had from this collection of Ronson articles. Definitely get the audiobook version for the added humour that comes from the author’s droll and nasal tones. Kidney donation cults, family murderers, fake psychics and street super heroes, they’re all here. I had previously reviewed Frank: The True Story that Inspired the Movie separately but everything else was new to me.

Say what you will but the Kidney cult leader showed the most nouse in exposing Ronson’s Louis
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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

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