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Lost At Sea: The Jon Ronson Mysteries

Updated on July 10, 2014

Jon Ronson Investigates Why We Believe What We Do

Jon Ronson, a New York Times-bestselling author, is known for his penchant for writing about the weirder parts of our modern world with a certain weirdness himself. You might see aspects of Gonzo journalism in his reporting, as he is often a major character in the story and research. Given his subjects - typically things like fringe interests, new age ideas, non-mainstream beliefs - it is not surprising that these tales are often fascinating and hilarious too.

With his new book, Lost At Sea, Ronson digs deeper into what many of us might think of as oddball or strange beliefs like the Insane Clown Posse's fanbase of "juggalos" or the cult of personality following spiritual healers, and digs right into what makes us do the things we do. Ever the skeptic, Ronson dares to ask of his subjects what the rest of us are thinking "but WHY do you believe what you do?" From Robbie William's belief in aliens to Stanley Kubrick's obsessive hoarding habits, Ronson explores the quirks of the people we think of on the fringes of our society, and discovers a few of his own quirky beliefs along the way.

This book is comprised largely of essays previously published in The Guardian and other newspapers, and each chapter is relatively short and on a separate subject, so it is an excellent choice for readers who have never read any of his work before. Chapters can be read leisurely over a period of time, making this a great book to keep in your purse or on the bedside table to read when you have a few minutes here and there. Still, longtime Ronson fans will enjoy these new interviews as well!

Buy Lost At Sea: The Jon Ronson Mysteries

If you like Lost At Sea, check out these other books by Jon Ronson!

Lost At Sea is an ideal book to get a taste of what Jon Ronson's writing is all about. If you enjoyed this book, delve deeper into his more in-depth work with these other books!

Now it's your turn - what did you think of the book?

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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      A Normal Perspective on Abnormal Life

      As we all should, and yet so many of us fail to do, is to read multiple reviews before choosing a book to read. Blindly many of us choose to accept what says, and buy books based upon very brief summaries. In fact, amazon wrongly informs readers that Lost at Sea, written by Jon Ronson was a comedic approach to the various intricacies that this world has to offer. Yes, the amazon review wasnât totally off and the book did contain comedic undertones, which actually proved to be quite random yet hysterical. However, the reviewâs inadequacy did Lost at Sea an injustice because the short and misinforming review couldnât nearly encapsulate the true wonder of the examinations provided by Ronson of the abstract types of people and ideas on this earth that some avoid, others embrace, but that most people take with a grain of salt. For the majority of those people in the world who consider themselves ânormalâ or âaverage,â and have always had questions about anomalies such as what goes on in a psychopathic human mind, or what an Indigo child is and their collective reality (do they actually have psychic capabilities?), this book is perfect.

      Through this book, one can travel the world and experience the different anomalies and quirky things with Ronson, as he takes us on his journalistic approach of telling a compilation of short stories. It appears that these are all stories that Ronson has gone to investigate throughout his career, but that these stories never really fit in with his work, so he made a book with all of the stories combined. That being said, the book is all over the place⦠which actually lends itself to its own excellence. There are only two constants between all of the stories: the fact that all of them report on partially (or for some, fully) supernatural topics, and Jon Ronson. He implements himself consistently throughout the book, as a realistic basis for studying and understanding topics with an unrealistic ambience to them. His stories range from the mysterious Indigo children, to a school shooting in a town in Alaska where every day is Christmas, all the way to insight into the juggalo world of Insane Clown Posse and all of its complexities which escape so many. But the main reason why this book is a must read, is more because of Jon Ronson, not the stories he has to tell.

      One characteristic about Ronson that really shines through in this novel, and is quite possibly the most important quality that a journalist should have, is that Ronson almost effortlessly garners the trust of the reader. Ronson easily flows from story to story, as if he is embarking on his questioning journey with the reader, giving the reader a sense of reality when things appear to shift a little uncomfortably toward the supernatural side of things. Through a technique of involving himself in each individual story Ronson manages to deliver a warming sense of reality to the reader when the stories that he reports from others become a little too farfetched. Through this technique, Ronson appears more trustworthy after every page turned. One specific report on page 239 of Lost at Sea stood out to me. This happened after Ronson attends a program where the attendees are supposedly taught different techniques to control social situations. The teaching is based off of understanding the people and tendencies of various social situations, analyzing them, and then controlling oneâs own mind to do as desired. This is supposedly applicable in all situations like the ability to forget uncomfortable memories, the ability to get otherâs to do what one asked, etc. It would be of no surprise to find people skeptical of such techniquesâand similar to most, Ronson was himself. Because of his skepticism, Ronson asked his teacher, Paul McKenna, to cure him of a recurring dream of his wife and son being hurt. After McKenna performed a technique that is supposed to reprogram the mind to forget about whatever is desired Ronson writes, âA year passes. I donât have a single paranoid fantasy about something bad happening to my wife and son. I really am cured. And so I have to say, for all the weirdness, I become grateful that Richard Bandler invented NLP and taught it to Paul McKennaâ (Ronson). Now what stands out here to me is how skeptical Ronson appeared throughout this particular story, yet he is now claiming that the technique worked on him. However, he restates his skepticism as âfor all the weirdness,â yet this particular part of the technique worked on him. And the only way to explain how easily Ronson earns the readers trust is that I believe him. He establishes himself as a reasonable individual. The fact that I have no prior knowledge of Jon Ronson and that he has gained my trust so easily when I have never met the man before, and the possibility that he could just be lying, is somewhat scary. It only goes to show that Ronson is very good at gaining the trust of his readers, something which is so essential in journalistic writing.

      Lost at Sea is simply journalism at its finest. However, this book doesnât focus completely on the reporting side of things. Yes, that is a big part of the book and journalism itself; but another focus that Ronson has implemented into Lost at Sea, is how he doesnât allow himself to simply report his findings. He makes sure that he questions everything he reports. His journalism has reached the point of equilibrium and balance. Ronson ensures that the reader has as much information as he can possibly deliver, where he then lightly inserts his personal opinions on the matter. However he has found balance at asserting his opinion where necessary, while he still leaves plenty of space for the reader to form their own opinion on the matter. Another reviewer agrees that âit is certainly possible to meaningfully integrate rigor and subjectivity into a piece of journalism. I would say that the formula is very precise and unforgiving. Ronson demonstrates that he has mastered itâ (Winston, 2012). This is a very important aspect of journalism in which Ronson is well-practiced.

      Now although Ronson left plenty of room for personal interpretation and judgment on what he was reporting, I still found myself disagreeing with his opinion very rarely (I think once). I donât exactly know how to explain this phenomena as a person who is normally in disagreement with others opinions, just for the sake of disagreeing. This could have been a personal awe of his journalistic powers, or maybe his ability to gain the readers trust coerced me into agreeing with him. Or, more simply, his opinion could have just been correct. All I know is that with the combination of Ronsonâs trustworthy, lightly opinionated, yet questioning style of journalism, I highly suggest this book to all those ânormalâ people out there. Itâs a great read.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      You did a nice review. I think these are books I'd love to read.

    • BestRatedStuff profile image


      6 years ago

      Sounds like an interesting book to have around.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Haven't read it yet, but it definitely sounds interesting.

    • Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 

      6 years ago from Massachusetts

      Well done! Blessed by a Squid Angel.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Very cool! This is one of the best lenses I have seen, I don't mean to be dramatic, but you are probably one of the best writers too.. very nice, and please don't stop. I plan to see more from you

      *like* from Zacrew7! check out mine and tell me what you think? I'm in the search of great squidoo members to review my lense and give me tips. Thanks.

    • profile image


      6 years ago



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