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.
"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)
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A little dull
- D. Seals
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.