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The Sociopath Next Door

Martha Stout, Ph.D.

This book is available for download with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device, and with iTunes on your computer. Books can be read with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.

Description

Who is the devil you know?

Is it your lying, cheating ex-husband?
Your sadistic high school gym teacher?
Your boss who loves to humiliate people in meetings?
The colleague who stole your idea and passed it off as her own?

In the pages of The Sociopath Next Door, you will realize that your ex was not just misunderstood. He’s a sociopath. And your boss, teacher, and colleague? They may be sociopaths too.

We are accustomed to think of sociopaths as violent criminals, but in The Sociopath Next Door, Harvard psychologist Martha Stout reveals that a shocking 4 percent of ordinary people—one in twenty-five—has an often undetected mental disorder, the chief symptom of which is that that person possesses no conscience. He or she has no ability whatsoever to feel shame, guilt, or remorse. One in twenty-five everyday Americans, therefore, is secretly a sociopath. They could be your colleague, your neighbor, even family. And they can do literally anything at all and feel absolutely no guilt.

How do we recognize the remorseless? One of their chief characteristics is a kind of glow or charisma that makes sociopaths more charming or interesting than the other people around them. They’re more spontaneous, more intense, more complex, or even sexier than everyone else, making them tricky to identify and leaving us easily seduced. Fundamentally, sociopaths are different because they cannot love. Sociopaths learn early on to show sham emotion, but underneath they are indifferent to others’ suffering. They live to dominate and thrill to win.

The fact is, we all almost certainly know at least one or more sociopaths already. Part of the urgency in reading The Sociopath Next Door is the moment when we suddenly recognize that someone we know—someone we worked for, or were involved with, or voted for—is a sociopath. But what do we do with that knowledge? To arm us against the sociopath, Dr. Stout teaches us to question authority, suspect flattery, and beware the pity play. Above all, she writes, when a sociopath is beckoning, do not join the game.

It is the ruthless versus the rest of us, and The Sociopath Next Door will show you how to recognize and defeat the devil you know.

Publishers Weekly Review

Dec 20, 2004 – Harvard Medical School psychiatrist Stout says that as many as 4% of the population are conscienceless sociopaths who have no empathy or affectionate feelings for humans or animals. As Stout (The Myth of Sanity) explains, a sociopath is defined as someone who displays at least three of seven distinguishing characteristics, such as deceitfulness, impulsivity and a lack of remorse. Such people often have a superficial charm, which they exercise ruthlessly in order to get what they want. Stout argues that the development of sociopathy is due half to genetics and half to nongenetic influences that have not been clearly identified. The author offers three examples of such people, including Skip, the handsome, brilliant, superrich boy who enjoyed stabbing bullfrogs near his family's summer home, and Doreen, who lied about her credentials to get work at a psychiatric institute, manipulated her colleagues and, most cruelly, a patient. Dramatic as these tales are, they are composites, and while Stout is a good writer and her exploration of sociopaths can be arresting, this book occasionally appeals to readers' paranoia, as the book's title and its guidelines for dealing with sociopaths indicate.

Customer Reviews

The Sociopath Next Door

Excellent academic work, but I would have found it more helpful if the author could have spent more time on practical solutions on how to deal with a sociopath. Say after you marry one and unfortunately have kids with the sociopath. Your not always able to distance yourself from the sociopath as the author recommends, and ideally would be optimal.

Understanding sociopathic interactions

Every so often I came across people whose capacity to manipulate and exploit others shamelessly left me at best hurt or puzzled, and at worst feeling confused, powerless, and questioning my own sanity. This book presents a possible explanation, and while I am not yet completely convinced, some early experimentation with predicting behavior and preparing a response based on the theories and explanations written here have met with surprising success.

Though the book waxes a bit poetic and preaches to the choir in the last chapter, the rest is well worth reading and thinking about carefully.

Great for Domestic Violence Victims

I was married to a man like this. He verbally and mentally was and still is very abusive to me and our children. This book was referred to me to read and "BOY WERE MY EYES OPENED!" It helped me understand what he is doing see the effects it had on me. I will never understand the high they get because its sick! although, from years of reading, counseling, and living as a DV victim this book enabled me to work through this behavior and be functional. this is a heavy read but Strongly recommend. Would like to read more from this author on support and more solution solving through the cases.

The Sociopath Next Door
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  • $9.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Psychology
  • Published: Feb 08, 2005
  • Publisher: Potter/TenSpeed/Harmony
  • Seller: Random House, LLC
  • Print Length: 256 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings