Join Me!: The True Story of a Man Who Started a Cult by Accident

Overview

On a lark, journalist Danny Wallace placed an ad in a small London paper that offered two simple words: "join me." What followed was astounding. From all over the world, thousands of replies poured in, effectively "joining" Danny-but in what, he had no idea. When "Joinees" began referring to him as "The Leader," Danny quickly understood one thing-he had just created a cult.

Join Me quickly became a phenomenon. With the help of a few trusted ...
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Overview

On a lark, journalist Danny Wallace placed an ad in a small London paper that offered two simple words: "join me." What followed was astounding. From all over the world, thousands of replies poured in, effectively "joining" Danny-but in what, he had no idea. When "Joinees" began referring to him as "The Leader," Danny quickly understood one thing-he had just created a cult.

Join Me quickly became a phenomenon. With the help of a few trusted Joinees and the crackpot leader of a well-established cult, Danny promulgates his uncle's dreams of a Utopian society, struggles to keep his girlfriend, manages to stay humble amidst the newfound celebrity, and remarkably provides a sense of purpose and belonging to Joinees everywhere.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In between jobs as a comedy producer for the BBC, 20-something Wallace would "sit around for hours in my pants" in his London apartment. After a great-uncle's funeral, he was struck by a story about his relative's failed effort to start a 100-member commune. Inspired to start his own group, but not sure what he wanted to do with it, he set up an ambiguous Web site requesting others to "join me." As the chapter headings maintain a running tally of his confused but mostly eager followers, Wallace recounts his misadventures scurrying across Europe while trying to keep the project hidden from his girlfriend, who he knows will think the idea is crazy. As he gradually elects to have his collective devote itself to making others happy, a certain degree of clich creeps in, but never without a weird undercurrent (e.g., advice about "following the little voice inside" comes from Wallace's e-mail buddy, the "President of the Galactic Government"). The story's pretty silly, and Wallace's plan is strongly reminiscent of the theme of Pay It Forward (which he acknowledges), so he lets readers in on the joke right away, dragging them into his confidence. As Wallace recounts awkward encounters with "Joinees," his bemused tone won't completely distract readers from wondering why he doesn't just ditch his girlfriend if he can't even remember what food she likes, but his mission is entertaining nonetheless. Wallace's decidedly British sensibility might be a barrier to some, but fans of BBC America programming or other Britcoms will probably follow up by rushing to Wallace's site, aimed at recruiting more U.S. members to his offbeat cause. Photos. (Mar.) Forecast: Wallace's book was published in the U.K. earlier this year, after the author gained a fair amount of media coverage for his campaign. Whether his crusade will gain momentum in the U.S. remains to be seen. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Idiosyncratic memoir of a London journalist's experiences forming a "karma army." In 2002, Wallace placed a small ad in a London paper exhorting readers to "Join Me!" by sending him a passport-sized photo, but giving no other details about his reasons or intentions. He was inspired to this eccentric project by boredom and a great-uncle's death; at the funeral, he learned that the uncle had been much mocked in youth for attempting to form a farming commune and impulsively decided to revive the project. Wallace was so pleased to meet the first iconoclasts who joined-each of these early meetings is recreated in exhaustive detail-that he began to obsessively propagate Join Me, spreading the word online and with flyers, still without divulging any specifics. While this alienated some, resulting in a bit of hate mail, a surprising number of high-spirited nonconformists continued to join this collective (or "cult," as many wags dubbed it), leading its instigator to set a thousand joinees as an ostensible goal. The organization's purpose amounted to vaguely defined minor philanthropy: "They wanted to do good," Wallace enthuses about his joinees, "they just never had enough of an excuse before." Yet the "good" seems limited to random acts of kindness directed toward elderly pensioners, while the rambling narrative becomes increasingly subordinate to the ego-demands of its author's exhibitionistic and hectoring personality. (Even his shabbily treated, long-suffering girlfriend finally wises up and dumps him.) For a sense of movement, the joke-heavy prose relies principally on disingenuous false surprise and wisecracks that refer back to the preceding paragraph, tactics that quickly become tiresome.By the time we reach the minor-key denouement-Wallace intends to relinquish Join Me, but is voted the collective's "Leader"-only the most guileless readers will think the journey worthwhile. An odd tale, reflecting the motivations of contemporary group-think, but otherwise skippable. Agent: Daniel Greenberg
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780452285019
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 2/24/2004
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 789,633
  • Product dimensions: 5.37 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 0.83 (d)

Meet the Author

Danny Wallace is an award-winning comedy producer and journalist who was recently appointed head of new comedy development for the BBC.
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Sort by: Showing all of 12 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2004

    To join or not to join

    Join me is not your normal read, but in the midst of many cookie cutter books with predictable thoughts and ideas, it is nice to read about a fresh and new idea. Join Me tracks the birth of an idea from the author, Danny Wallace, and follows it through its life course as Danny sees his dream fulfilled. We see the continuing tallies as more and more people join Danny. What are they joining you ask? Well, no one knows, but it goes to show that if you offer it to poeple, we will join anything to become part of a group or a community. This book was very fun and entertaining as we see Danny promote his book in Europe and see his joy and excitement as he gets more photos and joinees. Take a chance on this book and take a chance on joining Danny. Why not, I did?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2004

    A Definite Must Read!

    Join me in adding this book to your list of favorites. It's an incredibly funny, uplifting book -- one that reinforces the message that one person can truly make a huge difference in the world.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2004

    INSPIRING!

    This is such an inspiring story, and a true one at that! Danny Wallace has a great sense of humor and the things he writes about were enough to get me out of my chair and joining his crusade! Amazing. BUY THIS BOOK TODAY!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2004

    Join Me: The True Story of a Man Who Started a Cult by Accident

    I came across this by chance after picking it up because of the intriguing cover. Okay, cute guy, wants me to join him... but in what? that's when I read the description, was hooked, and I have to say, I'm really glad I bought it. Excellent!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2004

    Join Me: The True Story of a Man Who Started a Cult by Accident

    I picked this up by chance because of the cover, read the back and I was hooked! Quite simply, this is one of the funniest and most inspiring books I've ever laid hands on. Buy buy buy! And laugh laugh laugh!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2004

    Join Me: The True Story of a Man Who Started a Cult by Accident

    This is the story of how one average joe managed to somehow start a cult... but a cult that improved the world! Join Me! is a totally inspiring read and one that I would recommend to anyone... it is hilarious, poignant, touching and true.... what more can I say? Except Join him!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2004

    Ourstanding

    There were times that I laughed right out loud while reading this book! The author is seriously funny and his wit really makes this a great story. There are parts like when he is interacting with his girlfriend that are really funny. I don'd want to give you TOO much information abou the book because I don't want to give away its best parts. I wont be the first or last person to ask you to JOIN ME in reading this hilarious book!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 5, 2004

    Join Me: The True Story of a Man Who Started a Cult by Accident

    Wow - this is one AMAZING book.. so funny it hurts and you really feel you know Danny Wallace by the end of it.. and that is a good thing indeed! Full of inspiration and laugh out loud chapters.. I cannot recommend this highly enough!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 25, 2004

    Why not?

    Join Me is a witty, desperate & poignant reach-out read. Wannabe Joinee MP

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 22, 2004

    quirky fun

    This book was laugh out loud funny!!! Danny Wallace is just such a likable guy who wouldnt want to join him. This book would make an excellent gift book. All types of people would get a good laugh and enjoyment from the book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2004

    HILARIOUS!!!

    This is one of the funniest books I've read in a long time and also one of the most hopeful. I love British humor and with this I was not disappointed. Danny Wallace is a modern day Python, doing something utterly crazy with his life but bringing joy to all! Seriously, this is one funny book. I've joined him... have you?!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 17, 2004

    For the Internet Savvy

    Do you belong to an organization? Do you love the internet? Put those two together and you've got the book, Join Me. This book is about the Join Me movement and how it all began. You should definetly read this book if you are totally into the cyber universe and the potential it has at joining people together from all over the world. JOIN ME IN READING THIS BOOK!!!

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