This is a good, though somewhat light (being intended for the pop-psych crowd) description of just what a sociopath is, what makes them tick, how to recognize them, and how to avoid them. It's not full of gruesome crimes or case studies, because Stout's key message is that sociopaths, for the most part, are not psychotic serial killers. They are seemingly ordinary people who can live ordinary lives fooling most everyone around them. And if you do realize that someone is a sociopath, there isn't much you can do about it if they aren't actually doing anything criminal. Sociopaths all play dominance games and view other people -- even their own families -- as objects to be manipulated and used, so the only thing you can do is disengage, even if the sociopath is your own parent or child. The scariest and most heartbreaking thing about them is that they are completely incurable.
A former globetrotting surf punk turned homeowner with ecclectic tastes. Classics, horror, crime, biographies or lectures? Yes please!
This started out pretty interestingly, although I thought her definition of what "conscience" influences seemed a little expansive...and I discovered why by the last third of this. She has far too few clinical examples, and then she devolves into why a Buddhist/Hindu global consciousness is the answer to sociopathy... Wow... Not interesting at all, not scientific and not well supported.
For instance, one of her early examples was that in traditional Inuit (if I recall correctly) society, which is about as communal as you can get, they pitched people like this off a cliff - THAT was their cure and treatment for sociopaths. Yet, somehow when she discusses that in east Asia the rates of documented sociopathy are low, it is not really considered that it might be attributable to something other "they have an ingrained communal, group consciousness"...like in the Inuit society...where sociopaths seemingly occured and where their solution was to pitch them off a cliff... Might these societies in Asia, at least socially, pitch sociopaths off a cliff? Well, that would be up to another author to examine, because this author is too busy using it as an open door to go on and on about the Buddhist or Hindu worldview. I felt like this book was a bit of a bait and switch.
The author was kind of like the person you meet at a party that initially sounds pretty interesting and intelligent, until you realize they think 9/11 was planned by Israel and the CIA...or that the last four presidents have been Reptile people... What few examples of her actual clinical experience there are in this book were very interesting and thought provoking...but trust me, there were very few of them.
Addicted to Audible!
I enjoyed the first half of this book. I found it very helpful in reinforcing what I already knew about sociopaths and learned a few things I wasnt aware of. As an RN for 33 yrs and just being alive for 53 yrs I have dealt with many who fit the bill and now understand them much better and feel better about my reactions to them. I ignored the political opinions - my husband is a General in the Army and I can't say there are any more sociopaths in his profession than my own.
This book may be "chilling" and "informative" to the mainstream reader, but it is neither scientific, nor objective, and should be read for its entertainment value, and not as a course study on the broad field of psychopathy/sociopathy (for which there is no consensus regarding the symptom criteria, no sanctioned diagnosis, no official diagnostic term). While entertaining in a pedestrian way, every time a book like this is published, it produces another crop of arm-chair psychologists--that may be more dangerous than the sociopath, as defined by Stout. Bottomline: It is a chilling subject; the book is informative and entertaining on a very basic level; and clinicians will most likely be unimpressed. Definitely don't bother if you are looking for a constructive way to cope with a loved one with an antisocial personality disorder (sociopath-psychopath).
You simply need to understand and know how to deal with this personality type. Or else, you will most certainly be hurt, used or frustrated by them. I was recommended this book by a psychologist friend of mine. I thank him every time I see him for recommending it. As I said, a must read!
Rivetting and informative book but with an excessive focus on evolutinary developments (which is not science but speculation). Previous reviewers thought the voice was difficult to listen to, but I didn't have a problem. At times she drones on about sociological developments which I found meaningless, but will listen a second time.
As an Audible Editor I listen for a living! British classics, YA novels, speculative fiction, and anything quirky, fascinating, or heart-wrenching.
Ok so I have never thought of myself as someone who has a weakness for conspiracy theories, but this book makes me think I might be a sucker for them. The Sociopath Next Door hits you like the biggest scariest conspiracy theory ever. Martha Stout will blow your mind with the portrait she paints of these "everyman sociopaths" - people walking around like normal people and not causing so much trouble - these aren't the psychopathic murderers she's writing about - but just enough trouble to send widespread ripples all around them. It makes you feel like you are living in a dystopian novel. Do one in 20 people on this planet actually have no conscience as Martha Stout insists? Who knows but it's one terrifying thought.
I bought this audio book today, finished it today, and was very, very disappointed that this was the only book out by Dr. Stout!
She has amazing insight, not only as a Doctor, but as a human being, in general. Her stories were capitvating (especially the one of "Hannah") and I felt like I was listening to a novel - not because it was unbelievable or fantastical, but because she has this objective, yet vividly descriptive way of describing this disorder, and the people who are affected by it.
If you are like 96% of the population, and not sociopathic, I recommend this book. If you have children (especially if they are about to go out into the big, "bad" world) I recommend this book. If you are just interested in learning more about your disorder, I recommend this book :)
This book is a must read for everyone. I wish I could have had this knowledge and input years ago, it would have saved me a tremendous amount of flesh. We do not realize how many people we encounter who could be true danger to our emotional well-being and leave us much less trusting. We normally associate a sociopath with violent offenders that appear on the news. In truth, very few sociopaths are violent and are our friends, neighbors, co-workers and family. Everyone needs this knowledge. Everyone will encounter at least one in their lifetime and probably many more. Add this to your arsenal of defenses.