Audiobook: Public shaming

This month's audiobook:

So you have been publicly shamed

Jon Ronson
Picador, 2015
ISBN: 9780330492287
Audiobook version by: Audible Inc.

This is an audiobook that I will listen to again or get a hard copy version. That's because I found it so interesting and intend to make notes next time. Written and voiced by journalist Jon Ronson I found it "unpausible" - which I am assuming to be the auditory equivalent of an "unputdownable" book.  It is a relatively short listen as audiobooks go, around 7 hours, and I very much liked its delivery style.

The message of 'shamed' is definitely one for the times we live in. I had no sooner finished listening than I noticed that the airwaves were full of calls for the resignation of the chief executive of a major national company, coupled with shouts for boycotting the company's products.  Name and shame seems to be the "stock" phrase these days.... and the prevalence of social media makes it a very easy thing to do.

Starting from the author's personal experience, summarised in a video on his website, we encounter a variety of individuals who have been publically shamed and their efforts to recover the damage done to their reputation. This they attempt with varying degrees of success and it is this bit that interests me most. People make mistakes and it is fascinating and instructive to learn where they find the resources to recover.

What impressed me most about the work was its underpinning research. The author has been at pains to check facts with those who had been "shamed" and those who had done the shaming. That professional expertise also extends to the setting up of the various case studies in which the reporting of the stories catches and maintains attention.  Of course, there is a natural curiosity to find out what it was that people did that in the minds of others was so wrong.  I wondered why the subjects having been put through the mill once would agree to their past actions being exposed again but I didn't get a sense of an author wishing to prolong or give his subjects a second dose of, shame. This wasn't schadenfreude, parading people's misfortunes, albeit of their own making, for malicious enjoyment, it was the opposite. He was looking for answers and finding some.

Learning points
Takeaway actions for me, following this listening, are to be more mindful in
future of the shaming and blaming bandwagons that often roll out on social media and to be more hesitant about jumping on the next one that comes along...

And the next learning is reinforcement of that old fashioned wisdom: That when one points or clicks the finger of blame, three always point back at oneself.