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So You've Been Publicly Shamed

Written by: Jon Ronson
Narrated by: Jon Ronson
Length: 8 hrs and 16 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (117 ratings)

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Audible Editor Reviews

So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed is the explosive new release from Sunday Times best-selling author of The Psychopath Test and well-known journalist Jon Ronson, who narrates this complete and unabridged audiobook. Ronson gives an enlightening exploration of public shaming on social media. These people are not always a star-studded cast of interviewees but often ordinary people thrown unwittingly into the spotlight. Ronson expertly explores the psychology behind the human fear of shame. This is captivating listening that goes to the very heart of what it means to be shamed. Available now from Audible.

Publisher's Summary

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

What the critics say

"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)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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view changing.

early do I seek out time in my day to finish an audiobook, usually it is something I run idly whilst doing errands.

Jon Ronson's investigative approach to how dangerous and liberating social media is should be mandatory reading before accepting the terms and conditions of Twitter. The only criticism I can give is that the narration quality may have been done better by a voice acting professional, but Jon puts a lot of heart into his storytelling.

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Terrifying

Absolutely fascinating and on-point look at the way the internet outrage machine punishes people who don't meet the requirements of whatever is deemed to be acceptable behaviour. This book looks as how a single insensitive tweet can completely destroy the life of the person who sent it, and shines a light on how mass-humiliation is used to silence and ruin people who made even a single minor mistake. Jon Ronson critically examines the desire of the internet hive-mind to "take people to task" without any regard for what the long term impact of say, ending the career of a woman for delivering a poorly-worded joke about white privilege, will have before they move onto the next person who possibly pretended to yell in front of a sign that asked for silence at a war memorial.

While the book touches on the added angle of misogyny in a lot of this shaming, I feel like it could have been explored more thoroughly, but that's a whole other book.

All in all, this is an incredibly eye-opening read.

A very effective line: "Shamings are always about more than the transgression."

#Audible1

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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This is a Must Listen

I bought this book as a Daily Deal and waited to listen. My fist thought was this subject matter is removed from anything in my world but might be interesting. This book has scared me. Yes I knew about Internet trolls and assumed they are the sickness of society. This book educated me on how easy it is to judge and when you judge online you have the power to destroy. I remember being outraged reading about Cecile the Lion. Made me sick. Justine Sacci made a very thoughtless comment online and was gutted. I remember seeing this on the news. What if my niece or another family member is feeling a bit flip one day and makes an innocent gaffe. I've found a new thing to worry about. My biggest fear before was hurting someone while driving. I'd be fully prepared to flay myself for that but social shaming is different. In your heart you know you are innocent of hateful thought or deed but someone can misconstrue your motive and the punishment could be more severe then if you actually did run someone down. This is quite terrifying and hopefully we will all realize how vulnerable we all are to making mistakes.

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Seriously interesting

I read this book after experiencing a small bit of online shaming that was incorrectly assigned to me instead of the actual person (I was confused for them). Even just a small one was a harrowing experience. I've also been on the other end where I've publicly shamed people I felt deserved it. This book was a punch in the gut! It is so real, the stories so weird, interesting, raw, and in some cases funny or sad. It's so easy to see how a normal person can fall into this trap from both ends. Loved having the author narrate it. So dang interesting.

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Wow! Perhaps the best book on the new world of social media

JR is a empathetic fair investigator of this growing phenomenon of on line shaming and the truly shallow nature of rich societies encouraging a practice similar to the Salem Witch hunts.

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A call to civility on social media

This book exposes starkly what a misplaced thought or comment leads to in today's world of anonymity on social media. Listening to it made me feel sad and puzzled about what some humans are capable of. A highly relevant indictment of aspects of our social media world. I am left with the question - how to we pull back from the edge? Very well done, John Ronson.

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well-read and well-written

I enjoyed this book immensely and finished it in one day. I always appreciate the tremendous empathy and Humanity with which Jon Ronson approaches his subject matter. the afterword is particularly interesting.

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Love you Jon

The hero we need. An injection of empathy in a chaotic misguided world. Look forward to more

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Inspiring and thought provoking!

This book brings much needed insight into the other side of shaming in the name of social justice, and how it can look from the perspective of the shamed. It humanizes those who have made mistakes, however large or small. It makes us look in the mirror and question our sense of entitlement to do whatever we like to someone who has indirectly hurt or offended us. Hurt people hurt people, but it does not make it right when we do. This book has inspired me to stop being silent the next time I see the bullying in the name of social justice going too far (and perhaps risk being called a racist and publicly shamed in return). It has reminded me of how important it is to maintain freedom of speech, the sharing of ideas (even ones we don't like), and civil discourse. Well done Jon Ronson!

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This book should be a required read in schools

Thank you for so perfectly articulating this issue, in a society where we are the most connected via social media we are the most disconnected to basic human kindness.

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  • Samantha
  • 2016-07-17

Required Reading for Navigating Our Current Times

What did you love best about So You've Been Publicly Shamed?

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.

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  • Nancy in Norway
  • 2016-03-20

Fascinating topic, great narration

Would you consider the audio edition of So You've Been Publicly Shamed to be better than the print version?

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.

Which character – as performed by Jon Ronson – was your favorite?

Jon Ronson as a character in his own books is very funny and engaging. He's definitely my favorite.

Any additional comments?

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.

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  • Karen v.
  • 2016-01-14

I loved this audio book.

Where does So You've Been Publicly Shamed rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

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.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes

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  • The Saint
  • 2019-01-10

Unsocial Media

This should be high on the list of anyone, young or older, using social media such as Twitter or FB to speak to the world or 'privately' to friends. Listen carefully, fashion your own communication ethic, and prepare to be misunderstood and possibly shamed with consequences. Reactions can be fair or unfair, deserved or not. You don't get to choose. User beware.

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  • Sunny
  • 2018-08-18

A close examination of internet lynchings

A unique perspective through interviews and personal experience. Jon Ronson's background as a journalist shines as he delves into the world of internet lynchings, where the crowds are capricious and one is guilty before (and sometimes despite) being proven innocent

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  • Steven
  • 2018-08-02

fantastic, chilling

jon ronson takes a hard look at the sometimes disturbing effects that social media shaming has on the recipients of it. as good as it feels for us to take part in, we should all read this

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  • Audible listener
  • 2018-07-18

A thoughtful look at the internet mob culture

Through case studies, Jon Ronson takes a critical look at how we behave as a group online. It’s uncomfortable to confront the fact that people who made mistakes can have their career destroyed in a matter of hours.
He made us question who was in the right, the wrong, both, or neither.

I believe it’s a must read for all of us who are living in the internet culture.

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  • Gudjón Palmarsson
  • 2018-03-15

fantastic.

Loved it. Well written and well read. Will go straight to next one by Ronson.

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  • Gudrun
  • 2018-01-16

I was hugely disappointed

I was expecting something that examined each shaming. As another reviewer said there was nothing you could not read on the internet. I felt that Ronson was tiring to tell me what to think rather than letting the reader form their own opinion.

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  • Tan Lek Tiong Alvin
  • 2018-01-16

Great book on shaming in social media.

it's a great book on the world of social media. We use it every day for various reasons and we never think twice about the stories we read, the people that was impacted by the things we share. The horror that it may happen to us.