Summary: In his latest non-fiction work, So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, Jon Ronson unpacks the culture of public humiliation and the way in which public shaming has become a means of social control. By using the stories of individuals who have faced public ridicule because of transgressions ranging from poorly thought-out jokes to a sex scandal to tax evasion Ronson tells the story of how social media has changed the way people interact and the long lasting effects a public shaming can have on a person’s life in the internet age.
Review: In this book, Ronson brings his particular mix of humor and insightful commentary on modern life to topic of public shaming. The stories illustrate the damaging effects that a minor indiscretion can have on a person’s life. It is an enjoyable and slightly terrifying read. Ronson makes it clear that this is something that this could happen to anyone for any minor perceived offense. While the book lacks a solid conclusion, Ronson clever writing and detailed vignettes peppered with insights make up for it. Overall, a fascinating read especially for anyone who uses the internet.
Read-a-likes: While broader in focus The Social Animal by David Brooks also focuses on themes of community and how human interact in modern society. If you like Ronson’s witty and incisive writing then be sure to check out his book The Psychopath Test.