“Unlike anything I’ve read before”

Part memoir and part travelog
, interspersed with essays, musings, and life lessons, Losing My Religions takes you on a journey to true love, crushing betrayals, and near-death and near-marriage experiences.

Listen to the first full chapter if you dislike your ears. 

E-book versions (including the PDF) have full-color pictures and hyperlinks. It is available on Amazon for $2.99, or for free if you have Kindle Unlimited.

Please keep scrolling to check out reviews.

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If something in the book makes you angry, please consider the Barney Frank quote at the head of the Unpopular Opinions chapter. If you mostly enjoy the book, please share it with others and please consider writing a review. (GoodreadsAmazon.) 

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The full paperback cover by Mandy Tucker Designs.

“I can't remember the last time I LOLed this much from a book.”

Got your book in the mail tonight. Just fourteen pages in and already cackling like a hyena on mushrooms over here. My poor neighbors. Update, review on Amazon: A delightful adventure. Matt’s writing style feels so accessible to me. Very conversational and free-flowing. I feel like I’m sitting across from him in person, listening to a lifetime of vignettes that leave me moved and/or pondering. I also very much appreciate his flavor of humor. I can't remember the last time I LOLed this much from a book. Highly recommend!”
Proud Prague Peacock.

“What is true and what is important”

From Amazon:

“As many reviewers have noted, the book is entertaining, funny, and a page-turner, but it is also a series of well-constructed arguments about what is true and what is important, many of which I have found personally relevant to my life in the month or so since finishing the book.

“As a long-time follower of Ball, I was surprised to find myself learning and being convinced of new things about ethics and about life, and I am even more in awe of his bravery to continue to pursue and speak the truth even when it comes at great personal expense, as the book can attest. Few people have a life so worth reading about and learning from.

“Can't recommend highly enough. Please write a sequel when you lose your next religion.”


“Wow, what a ride! This book isn't like anything else I've come across.”

At Amazon: 

Half Failed = Half NOT FAILED

Just finished reading "Losing My Religions" by Matt Ball and wow, what a ride! This book isn't like anything else I've come across. Ball doesn't shy away from life's big themes - love, war, sex, you name it. But it's not just about the big stuff, he also sprinkles in some personal insights and thoughts that really make you think.

The way he talks about sex is refreshingly honest and respectful, not something you come across often. There's no explicit detail or anything, but he manages to spark a conversation that's often avoided or giggled about. Honestly, it's a perspective that more people need to hear, and Ball delivers it with a sincerity that's palpable.

Despite its unique approach, the book managed to keep me entertained all the way through. It's quirky, it's different, but it's also deeply engaging. If you're looking for something a bit off the beaten path that will make you ponder, give "Losing My Religions" a try. It's an experience that sticks with you. Highly recommended!​


“I truly enjoyed most of the book and deeply appreciated all of it.”

This is by far the truest and most honest autobiography I have ever read. It is great work and obviously very difficult and hard work. I suffered through some very severe depression in my teenage years and it continued into my 30s.  I'm very happy that the meds are working for you and that the book ended on a positive note.  I hope to read the sequel in 5, 10, or 20 years, your Return of the Jedi.”

“A tour de force! It’s really unlike anything I’ve read before.”

From a full-time professional writer:

I’ve been reading your book - it’s a tour de force! The narrative and visuals (everything from Death Valley to chocolate crinkle cookies) are so lively. It’s really unlike anything I’ve read before.


Top   More reviews below

Losing My Religions: A half-failed life of airplanes, agony, animals, basketball, bliss, cameras, chaos, cops...

Please read beyond this for more reviews below. Fair Start Movement's blog post here.

I was a small-town Christian boy before a number of unlikely turns took me far from my obedient, omnivorous origins.

Part memoir and part travelog, interspersed with essays, musings, and tips, Losing My Religions takes you on a journey to true love, crushing betrayals, and near-death and near-marriage experiences.

Catholicism, consciousness, depression, drugs, free will, money, philosophy, relationships, sex, sociology, Sportsball!, suicide, and true love are just some of what I deal with in 54 years, covered in the book in just 31 days. In these pages, you live May 2022 with me, traveling across Europe and the Southwestern US to hear how I became an atheist, father of a non-binary child, a hated and hunted former vegan, and survivor of accidents and illnesses that haven’t killed me. Yet.

On my life's journey, I change my mind, discover three tips everyone should know, and find the first key to happiness. Arriving home from my 2022 travels, I'm still a cranky old man who should never have been born, broken from lung to heart to neck to jaw to nose. But traveling with my soulmate showed me it is still possible to be “so happy it’s scary” while wearing clothes.

Hope you enjoy the trip! 

ISBN - Paperback: 979-8-9869565-0-3
ISBN - Color Paperback: 979-8-9869565-2-7
ISBN - eBook: 979-8-9869565-1-0

“A creative, funny, emotional, and moral book”

from a big-time journalist, at Amazon:

Losing My Religions is a memoir/coming of age story, but also one deeply engaged in morality. And not in the boring, telling what you to do way, but in the creative, thinking-it-through on the page way.

“The writing, as cliche as it sounds, is lively and pulls you in -- whether it's about Ball's college years, his discovery of activism for animals, the development of his beliefs around various ethical issues, and more.

“A must-read for anyone interested in the surprisingly good combination of memoir and applied ethics!”


“A very novel novel!”

Read the signs...

From Amazon:

“Made me laugh, wince, grind my teeth, ponder, disagree, expostulate, and laugh some more! I’m pretty sure if I ever sat down with Matt we wouldn’t agree on many things, but I am 100% positive it would be an exhilarating conversation. The free-flowing structure of the book will drive anyone OCD who needs linear progression nuts, but if you can relax and just go with it he’ll take you right along with him. Through ALL the different topics discussed, like a low background cello note, the love story between Matt and Anne flows through like crystal clear water. Worth the read!”


“So while I may disagree with Ball on many subjects of politics and even ethics...”

From Amazon (Australia):

The wisdom and unabashed honesty of a serial disillusioning

“Disillusionment is the hardest trick a seasoned magician can pull. Other magicians like these tricks the least, and the human is a fickle creature who craves trickery just enough to release the tension and pain of life. This book is a manual for disillusionment, and it’s better than most at it, so it demands to be read despite every note of tension and release.

Starting slow and in adagio, like the opening of a funeral march, it's a book that foreshadows, plays, jokes, inspires, saddens and delights. It takes time but the whole composition is an expansive and explosive one by the time it is running to the end. A memoir first of all, an ode to a special woman and relationship, a reflection on friendship and betrayal, a drama of health and ideas, a disquisition on suffering, and a philosophy of life... all held together by the original and incisive voice of a narrator who has lived, then suffered, suffered again, survived, suffered more, and loved all throughout. The disillusionment this involves is what holds together a moveable feast of pithy reflections. We are held in their wake, and we have gained rather than lost.

“It takes a special kind of character to be a disillusionist, and the author of 
Losing My Religions - which instantly makes me think of REM on loop - is a special kind of case of someone who has serially lost the meaning of life only to pull it out, slyly, like a magician at a show making any audience appreciate the delicacy with which illusions are broken to be replaced by a life lived in the shadows of consequences.
We're talking about Matt Ball, here, founder of ..., One Step for Animals, and animal activist since before it was widely thinkable for a Midwest American boy to be one. He has always stood tall in my imagination, like the neatly dressed magician at a show who pulls a rabbit out of a hat. Only when Ball turned up at animal rights conferences and talks, he didn't pull the rabbit out, argued vivisection was not a priority, and drew on clear sight and facts to shine the light on chickens, who are the most brutalised animals on Earth in a brutally statistical way that anything less than chicken activism afterwards seems like a distraction.

“The author has won and lost friends - many friends - for his feats of free thinking, but he may never be welcomed back into the Vegan Club about which animals care next to nothing. Not that this would faze him. This is the kind of book that wins friends who also value free thinking and who don't put their labels above suffering and exploitation of others. So while I may disagree with Ball on many subjects of politics and even ethics, but what we do agree on is the need to fully live all the tensions of compassion and evidence. This is the art of the disillusionist whose radical pragmatism can teach us all more than a thing or two about the meaning of life.”


“Don't Pass Up This Book!”

At Amazon, with some deep cultural cuts:

“Seriously. You won't be disappointed. Prepare to time travel through another person's life over various periods of time that you will relive even if you didn't exist in that time and/or in that space! It will take you through many different emotions as you experience Matt's life in a very open and humorous story. Regardless of whether or not you know Matt, now is your chance. He's literally an open book! Sure, he might not be some famous astronaut or teen idol. He might not live in a van down by the river. He may or may not have been duped when served Colombian decaffeinated coffee crystals when he just ordered regular coffee. Live, Laugh, and treat yourself to a fun read! You're guaranteed to experience something and possibly learn some new things!”


“Moved and inspired”

Also at Amazon

I read your book cover to cover and not only has my admiration for you deepened, but I genuinely loved your writing style and found myself laughing out loud and quite moved and inspired. I particularly enjoyed reading your thoughts on EA/longtermism. 

The first time I picked it up I intended to just leaf through and read the Animal Asylum bits and then read the full book later – but I just couldn’t put it down. Like nothing I've read before - in the best possible way!” 

“This is a book no artificial intelligence could ever have written.”

From Amazon, a financial guru and Democratic operative:

A Truly Novel Mind, A Truly Pure Heart

You're in for a treat. This guy is so smart, so eclectic, so well-meaning, so uninhibited. Sample it! This is a book no artificial intelligence could ever have written.


“Hilarious, sometimes sad, and always interesting and entertaining”

At Amazon:

“I got sucked in right from the beginning. Matt’s story is often hilarious, sometimes sad, and always interesting and entertaining. The author is honest about his mistakes, but he still manages to be likable.”

“Ode to Love”

“What I most appreciated about Losing My Religions was his connection to his soulmate, Anne Green, and how such connections can transcend the most brutal physical and career calamities. Matt has written what could be a comedy or life advice, but in the end is probably an ode to love.”

“Fun read!”

At Amazon:

“What a fun read! It's the type of book that when you sit down, start getting into it, an hour will go by and your don't even realize it. Highly recommend!”



“The hard copy of Losing My Religions arrived here in New Jersey yesterday and I am, as those "across the pond" like to say... GOBSMACKED! 

“In addition to carrying my cellphone and my reading glasses, I am now carrying Losing My Religions. I am riveted. For the next 36 hours, I want to curve myself into a comfy chair and read every word, every quote, gaze at every photo...and then read it again.

“I am already so friggin' overwhelmed by the strength and beauty of your writing skills, compelling story, your insights, your queries, your... EVERYTHING. I am shaking my head in humble wonder-amazement.

“I HAD told [my spouse ] that I'd give him my copy in two or three days after I'd finished reading it....but NO WAY!  This hard copy is MINE!”


“I couldn’t put it down”

“It’s only just after 7am now and I read the first 70 pages. It’s very unusual writing and I have found it efficient in that I couldn’t put it down - even though I repeatedly thought I’d only just read one more page.”


“A wily, at times even serious irreverence.”

I'm halfway through my read of Losing My Religion, and can already say it should be in my library. 

“The author ... has always written and spoken with a distinctive perspective on suffering, animals, and even politics.

“Here in his memoir, he plays with quotes, stories, and a wily, at times even serious irreverence. He lets us into the world of his own joys, realizations, and daily suffering. Family, religion, consciousness, health, life, reality, and everything are given a series of pulsating reflections and staggering vulnerabilities that are hard to put down.

“Read it, but just don't tell his mum.”


“Mixes humor with thoughtful insight ... a fast and entertaining read that still has me thinking.”

Matt Ball mixes humor with thoughtful insight on a variety of topics, including challenging relationships, religion, travel, illness, and climate change. This was a fast and entertaining read that still has me thinking. Music lovers will appreciate all of the references to song lyrics, too.
(Originally posted at Amazon.)


“I laugh so much.”

“It's really beautiful. I relate to it / laugh so much. And I'm reading it so slowly because I reflect on many of your lines, and every quote.”

“I did a straight-through read”

I finished your book last night.  It was great!  I did a straight-through read because if I stopped to do something else, it felt like I was interrupting you!  There is something about conversationally-written pieces that are a breath of fresh air, and you did an excellent job.  I also love how you sometimes anticipate a reaction in a section and basically explain what the reader might be thinking at that point.

Can you spot your charming narrator?

“Weaves a non-stop stream of energy, nostalgia, and purpose into a real yet funny read”

The reason not to be a priest
At Amazon:

“I received an ARC from Matt and love what he's written. He weaves a non-stop stream of energy, nostalgia, and purpose into a real yet funny read. Passages like the following are the norm, rather than exception, and keep me laughing and on my toes:

“It might sound like I was rebellious, but in reality, I was an obedient Catholic boy, serving mass when others wouldn’t – even while sick, barfing in the vestibule. Like PETA co-founder Alex Pacheco a few years before me, I thought I might want to be a priest. (The local girls seemed to think I should be celibate.) Luckily, Father Ted looked me straight in the eyes and said, 'No. No, you don’t.'

“Touching without being too sad.”

At Amazon: Really love this book. It is honest without being overly dramatic. Touching without being too sad. Funny and interesting. 

Following Matt's blog, I was glad to hear that it was not too painful to write, considering the deeply personal (and often painful) issues he discusses.

“Love, and the resilience that it gives us, may be what matters most of all”

“Matt Ball's story reminds us that love, and the resilience that it gives us, may be what matters most of all. Matt has lived more in his life than many, ricocheting from science, to activism, to running, to family, and through many other corners of what's out there if we are willing to look.

“The title suggests he's a skeptic, but there's too much love in the book to reduce Matt to a cold curmudgeon disbelieving all. And it's clear that it was love - for his family, friends, animals, and life - that kept him going through so much to tell the story to you.

“I urge many to read this book because it shows how to live fully - brave enough to try anything, loving enough to give your heart to another, committed enough to social justice to lose friends - and yet remain able to learn, change, and question the whole time.”


“Thought-provoking ideas!”

From an economist who doesn't know me:

“That is an unconventional autobiography with some thought-provoking ideas!”


“Living in earnest is dangerous”

At B&N:

“Matt has something he wants to teach you, but he's clever enough to hide it in a biography filled with suffering and joy, holding himself out as an example of the dangers that come with intellectual curiosity. and a bit of naivete. Living in earnest is dangerous, but gives more, especially when it comes to love. To just say that may not help anyone learn it, but to see how Matt did it may. Read it.”


“I love the advice”

I love the advice that is interwoven in your story. I was drawn to the savings/ retirement plan advice as [we] have 4 different types of retirement savings, but I am researching I-bonds right now as I am looking for something that is long-term, but that I can possibly use without much penalty after 5 or 10 years.

“Entertaining and well written!”

From Amazon:

This is a great book. Matt speaks in such a conversational way, I’d swear he was sitting in the room with me chit-chatting. You should make the time to read the book. It’s quite entertaining.”


“Now I’m not going to be able to sleep a wink!”

With Dan at Homecoming, 1985.
“I finally opened this. Now I’m not going to be able to sleep a wink because I want to read the whole damn thing! Just ordered a paperback, mainly so I don’t stay up all night reading right now.”

“Rapidly Addictive”

Your writing style is rapidly addictive. I’m having a hard time putting the book down, and I am no bookworm.

Yes, that's a Mac SE!
Anne working on her dissertation, 1992.
Love the hat. Too bad it was wool.  :-(


“I especially love how it is written.”

“I wanted to drop a line & say how much I love your book so far!! I especially love how it is written. It feels like I'm hanging out with y'all during your travels, chatting, listening to stories. I can't wait to read more.”

Just hanging out with Wynton Marsalis. NBD.

“Quick sense of humor”

“I’m 3/4 of the way done with this book and I absolutely love it! Matt has such a sharp mind and a quick sense of humor.”

“It makes me laugh, want to travel, and most importantly, makes me think!”

I am really enjoying the book!  It makes me laugh, want to travel, and most importantly, makes me think! I am looking forward to reading your blog, as well. 

All three of your books have helped me to be a more relaxed, more accepting, and happier vegan. Thanks for helping me to see that the most important thing is to reduce as much suffering as possible and not to obtain some ideal of vegan perfection.  And thanks for all that you do for the animals!


“I can't believe how real it is.”

“I can't believe how real [the book] is. It's definitely a nice change of pace from the typical stuffy, overly serious memoir....

“For a while, I was a bit fixated on reaching some sort of 'conclusion' on all of this - God, suffering, morality. But at some point I realized there is no end to the searching. This just is life. And we should be skeptical of anyone that thinks they have all the answers....

“I've come to think of faith as something that should be deeply personal. To the extent that any of this matters anyway (and I'm not totally convinced it does, hello nihilism) it doesn't do you any good to push your beliefs on anyone else. So I appreciate people that talk about their experiences without trying to convince anyone of anything. That doesn't solve the loneliness of the individualism that runs deep in American society. But it feels the most authentic and honest to me - admitting you can only know what your personal experience has led you to, and acknowledging that that's true of everyone else as well. ... I appreciate you sharing this with me.”  

“Broke that mold”

From GoodReads:

“Activists who want to change the world often fail because they end up in a bubble, unable to relate to others in a way that encourages change. That can be because of their passion, intelligence, or things in their history that drive them away from others and towards marginalized costs. Matt Ball broke that mold when he wrote Losing

“It's hilarious self-reflection (with some zesty sex scenes) on a life that swung from living in earnest to not giving a damn, from love to self-doubt, from tragedy to finding peace. Don't take yourself too seriously - and reading this book will teach you how not to.


“Is your book some kind of voodoo/witchcraft?!”

Future Warlock
While reading and weaving in and out of your timeline, I would stop and take some time to think about where I was/what I was doing at that point in time as well.  Especially around 97/98 when I stopped eating animals and became an advocate.  Interestingly, good and ugly personal memories resurfaced, like, Where the fuck did that come from? as I never thought about it in 25 or 30 years! Is your book some kind of voodoo/ witchcraft?!


“You had me awake until 3:00 a.m....Losing My Religions is THAT compelling!” 

“His bond with his wife Anne was moving”

From Amazon:

“Matt tells the tale of his own rejections from childhood to adulthood, how they influenced him, and how he coped with times of real adversity, especially with his health. His bond with his wife Anne was moving, and I appreciated the resilience he describes in overcoming difficult times, even finding happiness and humor in some of them.

“Matt's done more good in the world than he concludes in the book he's done. There are many people, myself included, who've been influenced by Matt to try to be more effective in our efforts for animals, and that is surely among his important legacy.”

Probably one of my three favorite pictures ever.

“Better human”

“I just finished reading Losing My Religions. It was so good! The book makes me want to be a better human. I plan to keep giving my donations to One Step forever (or as long I am able to). I am going to share the ebook.”

“Love Letter”

“I found it to be a compelling read, and it struck me mainly as a love letter to Anne despite the many tribulations you went through and describe.”

Yet another of my three fav pictures.


“Entertaining, poignant, and colorful”

From Amazon:

“I love a good memoir and this one did not disappoint. Matt Ball’s writing is entertaining, poignant, and colorful. Highly recommended!”


“Interesting, relatable, and difficult to stop”

From this Facebook thread:

Feels like I’m peering into your head and watching your home movies from childhood and college years. Interesting, relatable, and difficult to stop once I got started! You have influenced my life in such a positive way ... Thank you for being YOU and for your transparency. Your journey is inspirational and impactful.”

“Thought-provoking and heartwarming”

From Amazon

“Thought-provoking and heartwarming. Great page-turner!” 


“Treat people kindly because most of them are fighting a battle you don't know about.”

At Amazon:

“I've followed Matt through his animal advocacy and had the chance to meet and hang out with him and his family several times. I knew some of his history, but this book showed me how much I didn't know! He is honest (VERY honest), and it was really inspiring to see how much adversity a person can have in their life and still be committed to reducing suffering in the world. This book also reminded me that most people have a lot more going on in their life than we ever know about, unless we are very close to them. I think the saying is something like "treat people kindly because most of them are fighting a battle you don't know about." If you know Matt through his work, you may find this interesting because it is all about what made him who he is and the personal stories you won't find through casual following.”


“Quite a book - never boring!”

Two new reviews at Amazon (June 2023):

Quite a book - never boring!

This book is both a memoir and an anthology of pieces about many topical issues. It is never boring and filled with information and ideas that provide so much food for thought that I will be rereading it. Matt is very bright and an independent thinker who doesn’t just go along with accepted dogma. This has cost him jobs, and made him the target of a lot of hate and attacks. I admire him for his courage to stand up for what he believes in and his goal of how to best reduce suffering. Subjects covered include having children, GMOs, plastics, animal rights, suffering, climate change, nuclear power, and more. Matt’s life has been filled with terrible lows and wonderful highs. Quite a book, a very interesting and thought-provoking read.

Photo by Kevin Drum

Shows the value of personal connections

Laughing at Matt's tragedies in Losing My Religions is a learning experience. And maybe the lesson is not to take oneself, or even one's convictions, too seriously. And to appreciate the things in life we still have - like love, if we are lucky. That sentiment - modest commitment - is not something you expect from an activist - especially an animal rights activist that many admire and follow. But Matt's full life, and the way he examines it to date, is full of modesty.

He could have easily written a biography about many of the good things he did, but he's telling a more accurate story with all of what it means to keep going and still be glad to be alive, and that's a more valuable thing.


“I don’t even know what to say”

“I don’t even know what to say about what you’ve endured. But I’m hearing it through your words.”



“A raw glimpse into a life with more than its share of suffering, yet amazingly, still dedicated to reducing the suffering of others.”

About the Author (Me! Matt Ball! :-)

I am the author, co-author, secondary-author, ghost-author, and non-author of articles, speeches, book chapters, and even entire books! 

Before Losing My Religions, the most recent was my blockbuster* The Accidental Activist. (Please check out these notes. Currently, I am the President of One Step for Animals; previously, I was shitcanned from so many nonprofits that I can’t list them all here. Before my unfortunate encounter with activism, I was an aerospace engineer who wanted to work for NASA to impress Carl Sagan. (That's him here; I'm down below.)

My hobbies include photography, almost dying, and                      . (Hey! This is a family-friendly site! -ed) I live in Tucson with my wife and reluctant editor Anne Green, along with no dogs, no cats, no guinea pigs, and only the occasional snake or scorpion.

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In the newspaper. Also in Wikipedia.