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Showing 1-10 of 105 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 161 reviews
on January 7, 2013
I have been a fan of Jon Ronson for a long while. I've read all three of his books which were printed in the USA ("Them," "The Men who Stare at Goats," "The Psychopath Test"). Perhaps that was what killed me about "Lost at Sea," I was expecting something of the same quality as his earlier works.

I don't want a reader to get me wrong, Ronson's writing style is as clean as ever, the difference is in the overall book. "Lost at Sea" is not a coherent work of long-form journalism. It is a collection of diverse feature articles from the last decade or so. There seems little added to them since their original publication in the Guardian, and as a person who has followed Ronson enough to have read many of these when he originally published them, I felt slightly cheated by that. I suppose I just want more out of a book than what I felt I was given here. I want Ronson to go more in depth. There are a plethora of great stories in here and I wish Ronson could have taken one of them and turned it into a book. Maybe even a couple of them. Take his articles about people killing themselves over financial troubles and actually explore that, I would have loved that book.

I feel as though there is something unfair about my review. I'm not reviewing the book itself, but my disappointment that it wasn't a different book. I suppose that is because I was expecting something more like Ronson's previous work, and perhaps that was unfair of me. Still, I wish there had been more here. I would encourage those who have not read Ronson's other books to get those instead of this one. Particularly the under-rates "Them: Adventures with Extremists." Like "Lost at Sea," it is a book about a variety of subjects, but unlike "Lost at Sea" there is a meta-narrative creating a through line that keeps the book building.

There is great writing in this book, it just isn't a great book.
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on April 20, 2014
You got to hand it to Mr. Ronson.The guy has a keen eye for the absurd. What is so enjoyable about this collection of articles is his critical observations are presented in a kind and, many times, funny manner. God knows, the reporter could have easily dialed up the sarcasm, but instead remained a complete professional. He apparently has a rare ability to get people to confess some pretty weird thoughts and actions.The author's deadpan delivery makes for some gut-busting laughs.However, being an apparently unworldly Mainer, I did have to google some British slang terms as well as a number of Britain's celebrities who mean nothing to us Americans.

The author travels mostly around Europe and the U.S. driven by a desire to know why people did certain odd things. Mr. Ronson investigates the keepsakes found in the home of the deceased and very eccentric, movie director Stanley Kubrick; interviews a handful of British record producers who were/are also predatory pedophiles; exposes the (now late) psychic-fraud Sylvia Browne; follows along with people in the euthanasia underground; explains how credit card companies target the poor and uneducated with devastating results; noses around into the mysterious death of an employee on a Disney cruise ship; shows real-life examples of the economic disparity between the major haves, the some-haves, and the have-nots; and follows a teeny-weenie cult called the Jesus Christians who have members that decide to donate one of their kidneys to strangers in need. Whatever, the subject matter, Mr. Ronson always dishes out an educational and highly entertaining piece.

"Lost at Sea" is an absolutely priceless collection. I didn't want the Brit's book to end and certainly hope he eventually releases another collection of his articles. You'll laugh as well as be shocked, angry, sad, and come away from the book thinking we live in a friggin' strange, strange, straaaange world.
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on July 10, 2014
Jon Ronson has always had the ability to tell absurd stories you have never heard of before in an educational manner, but unlike works like Them, Lost at Sea is much less analytical and more all of the place. This work is still highly readable, but due to the presentation of the stories and cases, rather than Ronson’s own analysis. I was not enlightened about why humans are able to fall into the clutches of absurdity, but was entertained by Clown Posses and church cults, which I guess is enough to make the book worth it, but do not go into this expecting a thorough psychoanalysis.
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on November 20, 2012
If you're looking for Ronson's familiar biting satire, you might be a bit disappointed with this collection. Some of the essays are fairly funny, but some, such as the title essay "Lost at Sea" are quite sad. The most surprising thing about this book, though, is that there doesn't seem to be anything holding the essays together; this book isn't about anything, really, except perhaps Jon Ronson himself. About two-thirds of the way through, I found myself checking the status bar (on my Kindle) to see how much more I had to read. My advice to my fellow Kindle readers: wait until this book goes on the $3.99 or below list.
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on December 13, 2012
This amazing book takes you places you've never been before. Like the town of North Pole, Alaska... where it's Christmas every day of the year. (Maybe that's why a group of high school kids in North Pole concocted a mass murder plot.) You'll also meet people you've never met before, like the pop singer obsessed with an upcoming alien invasion of earth. And that only begins to scratch the surface of the strange, fascinating and wonderful in this incredible collection of essays by Jon Ronson, author of "The Psychopath Test" and "The Men Who Stare at Goats." It's a weird world out there... and much of it can be found in this incredible book.
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on December 23, 2013
Jon Ronson seeks out people who represent what is wrong with or could be better about our world. Ronson truly cares about the people and topics he is exploring, and he inhabits and expands upon the work of master profilers like Calvin Trillin and Ian Frazier, somehow making you smile while making you think and changing a little part of you with each article. When he takes someone down (mass mailing credit card companies, cults, psychics, pedophiles), he does it so they land on a pillow, in a way they almost don't even notice, but we know without question they have been taken down by a maestro who captures all the ambiguity and shades of gray of his topics.
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on April 27, 2016
This was my introduction to Jon Ronson. I bought the audiobook on a whim because it was on sale for $5 and it ended up being one of the most fascinating compilations of stories I've ever heard. I've since recommended it to several people and bought it for two friends. Ronson is a terrific writer and journalist. I've since also really enjoyed The Psychopath Test.
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on November 20, 2012
This is a collection of stories (most having been previously published in Ronson's news magaine "The Guardian" U.K?). The stories don't seem to particularly relate to each other - kind of a hodge podge - except that they all represent to some degree Ronson's quirky sense of humor. Or is it a sense of what's right & wrong in society? That sense is hard to describe. He can be wryly satirical, but he can also be sincere. For the most part, though, if Jon Ronson gets interested in writing about you or interviewing you, look out -- you're probably doing something that's off-the-beaten-path. Ronson, through his humor & odd sense of propriety, can really expose his subjects and show readers the oddity of any situation.
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on April 2, 2017
I love how this book tells a different story in every chapter and the chapters aren't long. Its a real page turner.
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on December 19, 2012
My only complaint was that, since it is more of a collection of different stories, it felt a bit scattered compared to his other books (The Psychopath Test, Them, The Men Who Stare At Goats). I have found that with his other books, there is this sense that, no matter how far off the beaten trail he leads you, it always comes back around. And while there were a few chapters that seemed to follow a common idea, it felt like it never came to fruition. That being said, there are some really fascinating stories in here and they are written with that same wit and tone that made me fall in love with his writing in the first place.
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