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on May 16, 2017
I enjoyed the book and have been a fan of the author for a long time. I took off a star because the book really doesn't match the title. In fact, the book was much more about the author's anecdotal experiences than it was about either convincing or identifying atheist tendencies in the reader. The author has certainly led a colorful life, and has been extraordinarily lucky, and so being a fan I found it interesting to learn more about him. If you were not already familiar with, and interested in, Penn & Teller as famous magicians, you might not find the book interesting enough to get past the foul language, weird behavior, and a lot of general crass childishness written in, sometimes, excruciating detail.

As a book on general atheism, I would not recommend it at all. There are some cute quotes and some discussion of why Penn is himself an atheist, but between all that the book is more about Penn himself and his personal anecdotes. I'm not even sure why he went this direction as he could have removed a very small amount of the book and sold it as "Penn's thoughts and stupid human tricks." I probably would have bought it anyway...
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Penn's usual straight-forward and to the point delivery is there...........and then followed by a bunch of hilarious and funny and surprisingly heartfelt stories that didn't have a whole lot to with the original premise of the chapter. Or at least Penn failed to tie them in well enough to make the point most of the time. I'm an athiest and skeptic myself, and was really hoping for more substance and thought provoking words, and less stories.
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on June 7, 2013
First, a warning. If you are a frail lady librarian from the heartland, are of a certain age, or find strong language intolerable, you won't get past the Tourette's-like frequency of Jillette's &*#%s.

That being said, Penn Jillete has an eye for a humorous line, and it doesn't get much funnier than his thoughts on the power (or impotence) of religion. He takes on God (or as he consistently renders it, god) and church alike as a problem in today's society, and isn't shy about telling us why he feels neither has a place in our lives.

Much of the book is anecdotal in the extreme: we learn why his mother wasn't religious, and what his children do for the holiday season that falls at the end of the calendar year. A supremely moving story about the death of his mother provides an insight into a secular ceremony to replace a funeral service. Another hilarious tale shows us the power of breaking religious food laws, as he and Teller introduce an ex-Jew to a bacon cheeseburger at a restaurant named "Traif".

I enjoyed it thoroughly, mostly while "revering the porcelain god", but my simple testimony shouldn't sway you. Look inside, read a page or two and make up your own mind whether to buy in. After all, that's what Jillette is asking us to do with the various holy books we are heir to.

Can I get an Amen?
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on September 4, 2014
Having been a huge fan of Penn and Teller for many years, I was very happy to have discovered that Penn is also a writer. I originally subscribed to Showtime just to see their series 'Bullshit'. I loved it and was sorry to see it go. I've seen their magic show in Vegas several times and will watch anything that Penn is currently the cast of. (Not that I'm not a fan of Teller's too, but you know he doesn't talk much.) His humor is wicked and raunchy, but totally enjoyable. He is so very outspoken in public and I really like that too. I find that I agree with his views on 90% of his observations. I have no problem with his Atheism, but instead have learned a lot from it. He's got some really great points to make. If you have an open mind or even if you don't you should read this book. It's pretty awesome.
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on April 17, 2013
I like Penn (Teller too, but he plays no role here); atheist - no issues, libertarian - no issues - I mostly agree with his worldview.

However, this book was less enjoyable than expected - with a title like that I had hoped for a little more humor but alas, it was not to be found.

Certainly an easy read, but this is little more than Mr Jillette explaining (quite rationally) his thoughts on atheism. Dawkins et al have more gravitas in this arena; so seeing the title and even judging the book by its cover (big goofy smile and all) gave me the feeling that this would be a more humorous take on the subject. But it isn't, it's basically the author's personal stories related to his feelings and opinions (and again, I have no quarry with those). So for me, just fair as a book.
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on January 9, 2012
I bought this book after I watched Piers Morgan's interview with Penn Jillette. Piers Morgan couldn't get over his own Catholic upbringing and wasn't interested in letting Penn say anything. I thought I had to read the book and see for myself. Fortunately, it was not a big treatise on religion and atheism. Instead, it was an interesting set of stories about Penn's family and life. I thought it was very enjoyable. The book is very crude, funny, thought-provoking and downright quirky. It is interesting to see how he goes from atheism to Libertarian views. For a big hulking guy who talks openly about his size, he certainly had no trouble finding willing women! It was a fun, quick and light read and worth the time. Not a book for prudes. He seems like a genius who would be great fun to have a conversation with over a diet coke!
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on August 30, 2017
I am an atheist. I got this book because I thought it would help me to explain myself to the religious people in my life. While there are some very good points made about his take on religion, they are sometimes hard to find in the middle of his stories about his life. The stories are funny and enjoyable, but, not why I bought the book. I did get some good points and for that reason and the amusing stories I gave it the four stars.
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on April 22, 2014
I purchased this book because I figured I was going to be amused by stories of awkwardness the author, Penn Jillete, experienced for being an atheist. Instead, it's a series of tales with lots of name-dropping of people I'm supposed to know. I know some of the people he mentions, but I don't think he "being friends with Joe Doe" is of any relevance for anything. Also, a lot of stories about women he slept with, and a lot about his career. I guess the book must be interesting for one who is a fan or watches his show, maybe if I ever watched I'd enjoy the book. But I almost gave up on it because also I found him sexist and sometimes offensive to women (like when he says he met someone hot who is 'too crazy to f...'). I mildly enjoyed the stories about his sister not telling on him if he was the unnabomber, and the one about the hair blow dryer. But that's it for me. I won't read it again.
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on November 1, 2016
The book provides very little coherent content regarding atheism and skepticism. The bulk of the book is filled with so-so anecdotes about such topics as Bruce Springsteen, scuba diving sex, and getting naked on the Vomit Comet and in a San Francisco gay club. Meandering and disjointed.
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on August 25, 2015
Great book, easy read. Its not so much about atheism, as it is just a bunch of rambling stories. But don't get me wrong, its great! Just imagine Penn's voice as you read it and you will be laughing out loud, page after page. I was. Only issue I had was that someone just threw this book into a box with some of my other orders, and the cover was bent. :(
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