The Psychopath Test
A Journey Through the Madness Industry
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They say one out of every hundred people is a psychopath. You probably passed one on the street today. These are people who have no empathy, who are manipulative, deceitful, charming, seductive, and delusional. The Psychopath Test is the New York Times bestselling exploration of their world and the madness industry.
When Jon Ronson is drawn into an elaborate hoax played on some of the world’s top scientists, his investigation leads him, unexpectedly, to psychopaths. He meets an influential psychologist who is convinced that many important business leaders and politicians are in fact high-flying, high-functioning psychopaths, and teaches Ronson how to spot them. Armed with these new abilities, Ronson meets a patient inside an asylum for the criminally insane who insists that he’s sane, a mere run-of-the-mill troubled youth, not a psychopath—a claim that might be only manipulation, and a sign of his psychopathy. He spends time with a death-squad leader institutionalized for mortgage fraud, and with a legendary CEO who took joy in shutting down factories and firing people. He delves into the fascinating history of psychopathy diagnosis and treatments, from LSD-fueled days-long naked therapy sessions in prisons to attempts to understand serial killers.
Along the way, Ronson discovers that relatively ordinary people are, more and more, defined by their most insane edges. The Psychopath Test is a fascinating adventure through the minds of madness.
Publishers Weekly Review
© Publishers Weekly
This was a fascinating journey with the author in his quest to better understand the human condition. Just when he thinks he's got a good grip on the realm of normal, twists and doubts creep back in and therein somewhat abandon (or maybe just challenge) the reader to draw their own conclusions. Very enjoyable read.
I have an embarrassing number of books that I've started and not finished, but this one grabbed me to the point that I used every spare minute I could find (lunch break, waiting for a client, etc.) to read.
Ronson does an excellent job of ultimately remaining objective in spite of his own neuroses, which often make him temporarily caught up in the moment.
Is psychiatry a sham or is it truly helping to protect the public and cure the unhealthy? Are we overmedicating ourselves and our children? What exactly is a psychopath, and who gets to decide who is given such a label? Do these psychopaths -- a small percentage of our population -- have a disproportionate level of control over our world?
The sheer number of people Ronson interviews to explore these questions is mind-bogggling. If I have one criticism of the book it would be that: I did have to go back a few pages once in a while to remember who contributed what to the story. But this is a minor complaint about a masterfully written piece of investigative journalism. I highly recommend it, as it may be my favorite non-fiction work since "The Wisdom of Crowds".
Really enjoyed this book
Couldn't put it down. Thoroughly enjoyable...