First, the writing was completely flawless. It was engaging, eloquent, and informative. The narratives kept the book engaging. The narrator was great. It's a must-listen. If Dr. Stout has other audiobooks I'll definitely be downloading them.
The first 5 hours are great filled with lots of facts and great information from studies. The there is a switch where the author Martha Stout seems to add her own political beliefs about western society and all the stats and studies go out the window and it becomes almost a rant. I hate movies with political messesages as well.
This book is "okay". I learned a few things and recognized traits found in many people. Still, the material is a little jumbled and perhaps dated.
The title is sensationalized, the book is not. I think I wanted a bit more sizzle.
Lacking any form of emotion or enthusiasm for the material, the narrator made the audio book very hard to enjoy. It's ironically fitting considering the material, though at the end of day I think that a different narrator would have made a world of difference.
This book is about the world of people who see other people as objects to be used or abused for their own needs.
I see this book broken up into two major parts. The first part Martha Stout uses short stories based on real events and people to illustrate how sociopaths work in a society. For myself I found this part the most entertaining part, as it presented information in a way I could compare to my own experience. Having always been fascinated by human psychology, the first half was almost like a good documentary to me.
The second part of the book becomes an information romp and goes into what the book actually claims, "how to identify a sociopath". It was here that I felt the book really let itself down, while the narrator seemed to actually get more enthusiasm this part lacked direction and seemed hesitant to be distinct in it's descriptions. It's broad stroke descriptions would either describe anyone or everyone in my opinion.
Overall I can't say I say I recommend this book, for me I felt it failed to deliver on it's claims and the presentation of material was in many parts boring. While I did enjoy the first half I really couldn't recommend the book for only half it's content.
Sociopaths scare me. I've spent too much time around them. I didn't really want to read this book -- and the narrator took such a low-key tone of voice, I was afraid it would put me to sleep.
On the contrarty -- tone, information, incidents to illustrate the author's point all kept me spell-bound.
I found this to be an exceptionally informative and helpful book -- if not a hopeful one. I guess my only hope is to spot them more accurately and run away.
The author attempts to play on our natural apprehension of strangers by eluding to an overwhelming presence of sociopaths around every corner. Her definition changes from the text book to whatever seems to best describe the perpetrator of her stories and often times seems to be speaking of her own encounters with people that were less than nice to someone as opposed to people who are in serious need of attention. While some of her conclusions are accurate as they obviously would be given her education, many seem to draw a hasty diagnosis as she defends the proclamation of an outbreak of sociopaths at epidemic proportions. Most of her knowledge is either based on second hand accounts, or, as she readily admits, through the sessions of the victims. That is to say someone who was wronged. I would think that she should focus her literature more on those people and less on the actual sociopaths themselves as she seems to have little first hand knowledge either personally or professionally of such people. The book was dissappointing as instead of achieving an in depth working knowledge of the sociopath as one would expect, I simply now think any good looking, succesful, charming, go-getter is in need of a straight jacket before they kill anyone. Her main points are repetitious and overly stressed throughout the read. Could have been really interesting, but unfortunately, is not.
The book is anecdotal and shallow. Not as if it were written by a scientist for the lay reader. More like a reporter writing a blurb. Made up people with fictional stories for example? I read fiction for fiction, not science books.
Mom, birdwatcher, and online teacher
This was a fairly interesting book, with some good insights. It seems like the real-life examples could have been better. The author at the beginning states that the examples are "composites" and not actual persons. This takes away from the authenticity and seems like an unnecessary precaution.
The author is so biased against Christianity and the West that it is almost laughable. For example, she laments the fact that a certain socipath may not have killed frogs if he were raised as a Buddhist. However, she blames the Romanian orphan crisis on an abortion prohibition. So apparently she can see the conscience issues in killing frogs, but not unborn children. She brings up modern pop-culture Eastern philosophers such as Thich Nhat Hanh, when discussing conscience, but completely ignores Western giants on conscience such as St. Augustine and Sophocles. Her writing would be more authentic if this bias were at least acknowledged. If the reader goes into this book realizing that they are only getting about half the story on conscience at best, then something could be gained.
This was an enjoyable read and I happily abandon my most recent audiobook selection it. I did not, however, obtain as much from it as I could have. At times, listening, it was difficult to determine whether a statement was opinion or a supportable fact. I suspect sources were noted in a written version. I am not sure whether the audible version cited evidence that 1 in 25 people are sociopath. If it did, it didnt resonate with me.
The examples of the sociopaths were both interesting and helpful allowing me to draw comparisons and contracts to people from my experience. Her examples ran the spectrum of rich and famous to the little lady next door.
For those familiar with Stanley Milgram's famous studies on obedience to authority the commentary was rather long, somewhat of an aside, and perhaps unnecessary.
Looking back at questionable characters from my past I was still left in doubt whether they were sociopaths or narcists. More time could have been devoted to the differences, although the behavioral tendencies are very similar.
Ms. Frasier's narration slightly irritated me at times. It is a minor thing but she often inflected her voice in a curl; a bit like a cat purring at the end of a sentence which I found distracting. This was unneccesary and seemed a bit effected.
Neo Soul Sistah
I was fasciniated with the concept of this book and have a high level of insterest in the book's topic but even these facts did not help me get through this book. The narration was tedious and the stories were too long and not always relevant.
Interesting topic made tedious by long-winded writing and flat narration.