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Jon Ronson

Jon Ronson

Ronson was born on May 10, 1967 in Cardiff, Wales. He attended Cardiff High School and studied at the University of Westminster, where he earned his degree in Media Studies. In 1993, Ronson put together a television documentary titled "The Ronson Mission" (BBC 2), where he took a whimsical look at many aspects of British life. In the following year, he published his first book, Clubbed Class (1994), a gonzo journalism-style travelogue in which Ronson bluffs his way into a jet set lifestyle. Ronson made his documentary directorial debut with "Tottenham Ayatollah" (1997), a film detailing Ronson's year-long investigation of the titular British Islamic extremist, Omar Bakri Muhammad. "Tottenham Ayatollah" marked the beginning of Ronson's continued fascination with polarizing figures. His next book, Them: Adventures with Extremists (2001), covered Muhammed as well as other fringe political activists such as conspiracy theorist and radio personality Alex Jones and Thomas Robb, national director of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. The book served as an accompaniment to his next documentary, "The Secret Rulers of the World" (2001), which he both wrote and directed.In 2004, Ronson published a book about his research into the U.S. Army's exploration of New Age concepts and the potential military applications of the paranormal titled The Men Who Stare at Goats. The book received widespread critical acclaim. In the same year, Ronson wrote and directed another documentary, "The Crazy Rulers of the World" (2004), which focused on unusual military techniques for fighting President George W. Bush's War on terror. His next book, Out of the Ordinary: True Tales of Everyday Craziness (2006), was a more personal, memoir-like collection of Ronson's articles he had written for The Guardian newspaper that dealt primarily with his domestic life. He published a companion volume, What I Do: More True Tales of Everyday Craziness in the following year."The Men Who Stare at Goats" (2009), a fictionalized film adaptation of Ronson's book of the same name, starred George Clooney, Ewan McGregor, and Kevin Spacey; the film mixed reviews and did not perform well at the box office. Ronson's fifth book investigated the reliability of the famed Hare Psychology Checklist-Revised, a psychological assessment used to determine a person's psychopathy. The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry (2011) explored the very concept of psychopathy and the idea that there existed an industry behind mental health. The Psychopath Test became a bestseller in the United Kingdom and spent ten weeks on The New York Times Best Seller list. Further raising his public profile, Ronson began writing and producing stories for the acclaimed public radio program "This American Life." In the U.K., Ronson began presenting a similar documentary program, "Jon Ronson On...," for BBC Radio 4. Ronson published his sixth book Lost at Sea: The Jon Ronson Mysteries in 2012. Two years later, he wrote his first feature film screenplay for the film "Frank" (2014). Directed by Lenny Abrahamson and starring Michael Fassbender and Maggie Gyllenhaal, "Frank" was inspired by Ronson's stint in the 1980s, playing keyboards for Frank Sidebottom, the comic persona of British post-punk musician Chris Sievey, who performed as Frank inside a giant papier-mache cartoon head that he never removed.