Jon Ronson is a journalist, writer and filmmaker. His earlier work focused more on the edge of society – extremists like the Ku Klux Klan, and conspiracy theorists and their subjects such as James P. Tucker and the Bilderberg group. His more recent work is about the weirdness hiding in plain sight, unnoticed and unexamined elements of modern life – the psychopathic traits evident in our society, and the mob mentality of the internet. It’s fascinating to read earlier books like Them: Adventures with Extremists where Ronson tells the stories of the distant nutters who we apparently share a planet with. It’s a different, scarier, even more engaging experience to read his later work when you realise that you’re a part of the weirdness.
Despite addressing serious subjects, Ronson’s work has a great sense of humour to it. He doesn’t mock his subjects, but his writing is imbued with a kind of conversational wit which makes him an entertaining companion through his odysseys of oddity. His books are sometimes labelled as ‘humour writing’ but I think this label trivialises his subjects and pigeonholes his writing. He is simply an excellent writer, and knowing how to effectively use humour is a part of that. I’m never sure whether I’m using the term correctly, but I think that his work his best described as gonzo-journalism. Considering this category includes Hunter S. Thompson and Michael Moore, it’s hardly an insult.
His radio work and TV documentaries are also very good, in fact I would recommend watching Stanley Kubrick’s Boxes before you read any of his books. This is because a) it’s a great film in which he is granted access to the enigmatic director’s acres of archives, and b) because you’ll then have Ronson’s gentle mancunian-hybrid voice in your head as you read it.
I recommend you start with his 2011 book The Psychopath Test, as it holds the honour of being one of the only books I have read in a single sitting (the others are the last few Harry Potters, Animal Farm, and A Clockwork Orange.)
Also have a look at my recommendation of Frank which Ronson co-wrote: https://ithinkyouwouldlikethis.wordpress.com/2015/10/21/frank/