College English professor who loves classic literature, psychology, neurology and hates pop trash like Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey.
tell me how to avoid getting taken advantage of (like the moronic How To Deal With Difficult People) and the worse than useless In Sheep's Clothing), I decided to take a look at the opposite end of the problem--the manipulators themselves: a much better idea, as it turns out. Without Conscience provides a nicely developed portrait of the psychopath, people born without the ability to empathize and register normal human feelings, even though they can imitate them convincingly enough to con and abuse others. (There are an estimated 2 million psychopaths among us in the US, and they are not to be confused with their most extreme representative: the serial killer. Chances are you know or have known a psychopath.) The neurology represented in this book is a bit behind the current wisdom and for better information about the brain's role in psychopathy, one might read The Science Of Evil and The Tell-Tale Brain. Overall, Without Conscience is a very useful book for understanding the serious manipulator and how to deal with him/her.
A riveting account of a young woman's struggle with what only appeared to be a complete mental breakdown and her struggles to find a correct diagnosis in the hurry-up, conveyor-belt world of American medicine. It is a story both of personal endurance and an indictment of the current medical system, deeply engaging and enlightening at once.
for the neurological and psychological basis of "non-empathetic" behavior. Baron-Cohen does a fine job in describing the diathesis mode of approach to those who go through the world unable to experience or understand normal human feelings of empathy and the sorts of sensitivity toward one another that most of us take more or less for granted. By employing the medical model, he forces a redefinition of what has formerly been termed "evil," redefining it "non-empathetic." Obviously, those who are narcissistic, borderline or psychopathic are on the negative end of this scale, as they range from simply annoying to out and out life-threatening, though Baron-Cohen also explores the positive end of the spectrum in the way of autistics and those with Asperger's syndrome (a disorder along the autistic spectrum), who are not only usually nonviolent but who are often creative and supra-moral. An interesting, informative and well-put together read.