From the Sunday Times top ten best-selling author of The Psychopath Test, a captivating and brilliant exploration of one of our world's most underappreciated forces: shame.
"It's about the terror, isn't it?"
"The terror of what?" I said.
"The terror of being found out."
For the past three years, Jon Ronson has travelled the world, meeting recipients of high-profile public shamings. The shamed are people like us - people who, say, made jokes on social media that came out badly or made mistakes at work. Once their transgressions were revealed, collective outrage circled with the force of a hurricane, and the next thing they knew they were being torn apart by an angry mob, jeered, demonized, sometimes even fired from their jobs.
A great renaissance of public shaming is sweeping our land. Justice has been democratized. The silent majority are getting a voice. But what are we doing with our voice? We are mercilessly finding people's faults. We are defining the boundaries of normality by ruining the lives of those outside it. We are using shame as a form of social control.
Simultaneously powerful and hilarious in the way only Jon Ronson can be, So You've Been Publicly Shamed is a deeply honest book about modern life, full of eye-opening truths about the escalating war on human flaws - and the very scary part we all play in it.
Jon Ronson is an award-winning writer and documentary maker. He is the author of two best sellers, Them: Adventures with Extremists and The Men Who Stare at Goats, and two collections Out of the Ordinary: True Tales of Everyday Craziness and What I Do: More True Tales of Everyday Craziness. He lives in London.
This is an updated edition with new afterword, written and narrated by Jon Ronson.
©2015 Jon Ronson (P)2015 Audible Ltd
"A work of original, inspired journalism, it considers the complex dynamics between those who shame and those who are shamed, both of whom can become the focus of social media's grotesque, disproportionate judgments" (Financial Times)
Despite the, necessarily, expletive-laden nature of this book, Ronson's voice is still an enormous pull for this incredibly important piece of journalism.
The ability to backtrack, to return from making very public mistakes is diminishing, and Ronson uses his usual considerable charm and journalistic skill to explore the whys and wherefores of internet shaming. Great reading.
This is what it must feel like to live in a basement for the past 10 years, and then someone hands you a flashlight and you can REALLY see what's down here.
A very thought-provoking piece of work, and often nightmarish. It almost makes me want to delete my twitter account, for fear I'll become part of the monster and shame somebody.
Yeah, great listen. Totally recommend it.
Great listen. Couldn't stop listening and rolled through in a day. So much detail that I will be back to it again I'm sure. So much food for thought...
This was for me (a Luddite!) truly fascinating! What an enormous task For Jon to wind a thread from beginning to the final conclusion, all the way through maintaining an open based enquiry and pulling in supportive references from the individuals experience to cultural! I loved it but will need to listen again as I listen while multitasking- felt I needed to take notes! 2nd book of Jon's I've read n so to hear him read this was really
John Ronson has written a fantastic book. I find his reading a bit repetitive in places but found I just needed to keep listening to see what other insights he could provide into events I had seen happen.
This is the newest of Jon Ronson’s books and up there with my favourites. I noticed it up for a Goodreads Choice award this year so I voted for it. When oh when Jon will you release another book?
Book blogger that who has delved into the world of audiobooks to reduce the monotony of the daily commute.
After reading an article in a newspaper about this book and how public shaming has made a comeback via social media, I decided that this would be a perfect audiobook. I quite like listening to non-fiction (when reading non-fiction, I often need a fiction read on the go for escapism purposes). I can’t say I loved this book though – to me, it was uneven, spending a long time on some topics and a too short a time on others. The book is narrated by Jon Ronson himself. While it was interesting to have him read his own work, at times his voice lacked the power to keep me listening intently.
I’m kind of worried about publishing this review in case I should be publicly shamed or ridiculed but that’s the chance we all take when we share things with virtual strangers, people we know from pre-school and your cousin’s friend’s sister’s ex-boyfriend. Suddenly the world has become a much smaller place and everything on social media is there to be judged by others. Ronson starts with his name being taken over by a Tweetbot who likes strange food combinations. He feels like someone has taken his identity and he goes to reason with the perpetrators who see no issue with it. Ronson then goes on to discuss things with those who have been publicly shamed online, such as Jonah Lehrer (who invented/changes some lines in his book that were attributed to Bob Dylan), Justine Sacco (the infamous ‘hope I don’t get AIDS’ tweet which went viral while she was on a plane) and Lindsey Stone (photo next to a sign at a war cemetery saying ‘silence and respect’ while she’s doing the opposite). He interviews the person who was shamed and also if possible those who did/were involved in the outing.
It’s an interesting philosophy to see what those who shared the picture/retweeted the tweet have to say as is the shamed person’s reason for doing what they did. Pre internet, these photos and messages would have only been shared with a few people. Now everyone is the judge. I must admit that I hadn’t heard of most of the shamed people Ronson interviewed (most of this must explode on social media while I’m asleep) and those that ‘broke’ while I was online, I didn’t really follow. I actually thought Jonah Lehrer was ‘Joan Alhera’ or ‘Joe Nalhera’ for most of the audiobook. Ronson discusses with them how their life changed and how/if it getting back to normal. Justine Sacco went to volunteer in Africa. Lindsey Stone was aided by some digital media people to push down her results on Google by adding new blog posts.
The ending of the book is quite open. It didn’t really summarise or ask how (or if) public shaming can be controlled in the modern world. I felt it was a bit weak, more like a series of vignettes of people who had been shamed rather than examining human behaviour in general. Sure, Ronson does include some psychology in this field (like why you keep driving under the speed limit after one of those ‘Your speed is…’ signs) but it would have been good to include a deeper analysis.
Have a listen and think about the new social democracy we live it. Is public shaming right? What are the consequences for the person shamed and for us as a society.
"A little dull"
I found this a little dull especially after coming of just finishing lost at sea... Good concept and some people will love it... Just wasn't my cup of tea.
First few chapters were good but then it just went on I found myself hoping for this next chapter to be the last
"Required Reading for Navigating Our Current Times"
This book was revelatory for me. Having loved Jon Ronson from This American Life and enjoyed his other books, I suspected that I would enjoy it, but I was surprised by how often I found myself worrying about, considering, and then reconsidering the ideas he presents here.
I feel like any fellow millennial who regularly participates in or witnesses acts of online public shaming without a second thought, and who champions the internet as a place that delivers justice where other systems can't, needs to read this book and become more aware of the real costs of that behaviour, and of the overall impact it has. I have recommended this book to many people and think that it makes some really important and compelling points about anonymity and the internet, about why people get so wrapped up in online finger pointing, and about both the power and consequences of that.
It says something when a book can get someone to rethink my own actions and opinions on something, and this one has stayed with me long after I listened.
"Great story, but distracting production issues"
The long pauses between chapters had me checking phone settings and cycling Bluetooth connections. The audio catches sounds in the narrator's environment once, and I could swear he said the wrong word at least twice. Other than these audio issues, the book itself was excellent.
"An important Topic to address"
This was one of the controversial books that I read/listened recently. For starter, the topic is really important where public shaming, online trolling and cyberbullying became very ingrained in today's internet culture.
Through different stories of online shamed people, Jon Ronson brought back to the surface shame, despair, remorse and crushed lives of those who have been publicly shamed over twitter tweets and how their lives went through a twist (to the worse/indifference).
Now, what was the message delivered through this book? was it raising awareness towards this phenomenon and how it affects people's lives? Was it shaming these people again by digging the dirt and bringing these stories back to the first pages of Google search? was it yet a paid job to disgrace the disgraced? was it an alarm ringing in your head to be careful (self-censor) your activities online or have some moralities when you respond to un-sense/stupid/petty tweets that are only calling for attention/drama? you see, it's your call to pick and choose any of the above messages, however, it is a phenomenon worth studying and commenting on.
Whether it is on twitter or any social media platform, trolling and cyberbullying are dangerous activities that must be condemned and fought. Yes, the internet is a free space, we do fight for freedom of expression, free and open internet and even for net-neutrality, however, when people's fates and lives are at stake, you should think twice before you hit the reply button. I have noticed this a lot here at Goodreads when reviewers review books. I have stopped reading many of my friends' reviews to books they disliked as those were a pure attack on writers without any respect or sense of responsibility. Crushing anyone's dreams are made easy and possible more than ever!
There is a big difference between criticism and critique, criticism is intended to express disapproval of someone's mistakes where critique is an assessment of something and that's what we are looking for. Everyone makes mistakes but we are turning into creatures incapable of forgiving or letting go. Racism and expressing arrogance and superiority based on race/gender/religion/beliefs are not acceptable. However, behaviors and actions are what should be shamed not people. Yes trolling and bullying is never a shining rainbow, however, you should not let go your morals and ethics as a response or reaction to some tweet.
The book has a bit of excessed profanity and cursing. Yes, Jon Ronson wanted to share stories and conversations as is, however, listening to this continuous cursing and profanity distracted me a lot and I ended up skipping some stories that have no impact on the morale of these stories.
Also, Ronson played on the borders between empathy and sympathy, morality and the right to respond, jumping between the extreme right and left that left me with unease during/after reading this book. Repeating certain stories and trying to deliver some messages was something I didn't like (being influenced by some of his own views regarding certain people), however, it was an effort that worth noting and reflecting on.
"The first step in the evolution of ethics is a sense of solidarity with other human beings" says Albert Schweitzer. One day, if we didn't fight this, you will be the subject of public shaming and be portrayed as a MEME on the internet!
"Fascinating topic, great narration"
I haven't read the print version of this book, but Jon Ronson is such a great narrator I think you lose something by not listening to him voice his work.
Jon Ronson as a character in his own books is very funny and engaging. He's definitely my favorite.
These days if you're not on Twitter, you probably feel like you should be. This book makes you think twice about how you should and can use the power that social media gives us all.
"Fascinating inner view into fake dramas"
The book shines most when offering glimpses into the inner workings and dynamics of today's manufactured dramas, as seen on social networks. Ronson comments while seemingly mindful of wanting to not overreach as much of pop psychology tends to do.
Notable is also the the chapter on "crowd psychology" in which the Stanford prison experiment is taken under the microscope, offering an alternative view of the dynamics of the experiment.
"I loved this audio book."
This is my favourite audio book so far. Jon Ronson understands what an audio book should be and it's great that he does the reading.
"Good primer on how shaming can ruin a life."
Good book and great stories, if sometimes a bit meandering (the shaming group therapy thing was awful)! still a pretty good book.
"1 Part Enlightment to 2 Parts Black Cloud"
I was introduced to Jon Ronson through TAL and love his voice, wit and humanity
It has the same compelling draw as Malcolm Gladwell's work
The opening is like something out of Phillip K Dick novel - pretty unbelievable.
The subject is completely fascinating but it is definitely an exploration of the cruel underbelly of society.
Great book made better by author reading it. Funny and sad all at the same time
There are really two elements to journalism: research and storytelling. The author has completely excelled at both in this spellbinding book. I was fascinated and will definitely be reading more of his books. He reads it himself, and does it very well. It is astonishing how an offhand tweet can ruin someone's life, or how what seems to me to be a fairly minor error in reporting a quotation can threaten a career. The author really gets beneath the issues around this, and even sneaks in a bit of (in my opinion completely justified) shaming himself.
"Engrossing and disturbing look at how we shame"
Brilliantly read by the author, So You've Been Publicly Shamed is well worth a listen. On a par with Ronson's previous efforts we are treated to an in depth investigation of public shaming that grips to the very end.
"Nice one Jon"
Makes me feel like never commenting online again...ooops..too late!
Superb, as expected! Always love audiobooks when the author reads them.
"Great piece of work"
Highly recommend this book to anybody interested in the power of the people and social justice, and social media. a+
I have loved all of Jon Ronson's previous books and this didn't let me down. Heavier subject matter than some and after the first few chapters I thought I wouldn't enjoy it as much because of this but continued and really glad I did. Would definitely recommend!
"A must read for online users"
Decided not to review because having listening to the book I'm questioning my own motivation for reviewing.
"Another great book"
I really enjoyed listening to this book, and it is probably Ron's best book so far. I liked it very much and cannot recommend it enough.
"Pause before you post online!"
I didn’t know what to expect from this book and hadn’t heard of the author, but I’m glad I down-loaded it as I found it most interesting and at times scarily thought-provoking. The author’s a good story-teller and he has certainly collected some extraordinary examples of shaming by social media. What I found disconcerting was the disparity between the supposed transgression and the ferocity of the reaction. A slightly ill-judged tweet or photo posted on Facebook can lead to a deluge of abusive language and even death threats. It’s depressing to think that there are hundreds of thousands of people so full of venom hiding under the cover of anonymity. There’s interesting material about research into crowd behaviour as a possible explanation.
The book isn’t just a catalogue of examples of online shaming but also describes historical examples of public ridicule and delves into the interesting question as to why some errors of judgement or bad behaviour are judged worthy of a public shaming whereas others are not and how what merits opprobrium has changed over the centuries.
A well researched book admirably narrated by the author.
"Who shall we destroy today?"
I'm most afraid I'm one of those naive people who thought the Internet was overwhelmingly a force for good. What harm can there be in having the world's knowledge freely available and being able to communicate with a vast array of people, exposing wrongs and making wrongdoers accountable?
Jon Ronson begins this by recounting a time when his own Twitter identity is stolen as part of a dubious intellectual exercise thus putting his reputation at risk. He exposed the perpetrators on You Tube and received resounding support resulting in the exercise being terminated. He then gives instances where people have said outrageous things and have on the face of it been on the receiving end of a well deserved Internet backlash. The mood then changes when he gives accounts of people who's biggest crime is telling a poor joke or acting in a way that invites misinterpretation and the stories of how their lives have been destroyed are truly sobering. One of the examples made me squirm when my initial reaction was to despise one of the protagonists for seemingly over-reacting and harming another individual only to be on the receiving end of threats so vile and intense that it can never be seen as proper or proportionate justice. The Internet and social media has re-introduced the age old punishment of public shaming and there are plenty of keyboard warriors out there who are more than happy to actively participate in the spectacle of abusing people in the virtual stocks.
The Internet will continue to fascinate and this is a brilliant account of appalling behaviour, how online identities can be manipulated so the bad stuff gets buried, and how much money is earned from increased Internet traffic. It also increased my growing suspicion that the results of my Internet search are not as reliable as the good old Encyclopedia Britannica.
Jon always presents his material in a very engaging way and I remain a fan after listening to this.
"Thought provoking Jon Ronson style"
A great read, more serious than other books of his I have listened to. However it's done with his usual dry wit. Its
Basically about public shaming the Twitter way which is one of those topics that I didn't have an opinion on before I read the book but I really should have.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.