First, let me say there is a lot of good and interesting information in this book. I learned a lot of things about sociopathy from the author. That said, I have a few bones to pick.
The author goes off-topic. She does not just go a little off-topic, either, she starts rambling into areas that have absolutely nothing to do with her topic, much less with her thesis for the book. It almost seems as if she ran out of material and just started spening time adding filler to make the book a little bigger.
Also, it's hard to identify with any people in her stories knowing they are composite. Am I supposed to believe there were no examples of real sociopaths that would provide the examples she needs? If not, it kind of invalidates her points.
I gave the book three stars, but it easily could have been a much better book with some better editing, more succinct writing, and real examples.
I will add that Shelly Frasier did an excellent job of doing the narration, thouh.
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.
I believe a reviewer should finish a book before submitting a review. What do you think?
I decided to listen to this book because recently I was introduced to an individual who seemed to be unable to express even a speck of empathy or compassion for her sick child. I was perplexed by this person and wondered if I was in the presence of a sociopath. In listening to this book Ms. Stout asserts that indeed I was right, this person fits the bill.
I found this book to be mostly interesting, and a bit more than discouraging to learn that according to this author, one in twenty four people in our culture are sociopaths.
Ms. Stout makes it fairly easy to determine who fits this profile and why.
The reader/listener learns that it is not only the murders and child rapists who are sociopaths but yes it's also our neighbors and co-workers, people leading "normal" lives.
This book may be very helpful for those of us who work with others, helping us to remember things are not always as they appear.
Ms. Stout does meander quite a bit in this book. I think it would have been a much better book if she edited out several chapters of "fluff" and stayed on topic more.
Overall I'm glad I listened. .
Martha Stout in "The Sociopath Next Door" has written a stiking book about sociopathy. In this text the listener will come to understand the characteristics of such individuals, their representative number in the population (4%) and behaviors, and how one might find protection from these individuals.
Pay particular attention to the "Thirteen Rules for dealing with Sociopaths in Everyday Life" and the sections related to avoiding manipulation.
The writing is good, the reading good, and the topic is timely. Inform yourself by listening to this book.
Starts with why the author decided to write it, includes how to recognize a sociopath and deal with the ones you will meet, why they are the way they are, and the consequences of their behaviour to themselves. Actually explains why you're better off with a conscience. Facinating and well written.
If you can ignore the handful of moral equivocations between terrorist sociopaths and (apparently) President Bush (perhaps I misunderstood the message), and slightly more frequent, obvious anti-war messages, this book is very interesting and insightful. I don't know the accuracy of the estimate that 4% of people are sociopaths, but the exploration of the characteristics of sociopaths was enlightening and convinced me I've unfortunately know a handful in my life. Redeeming herself, Martha Stout clearly establishes the link between psychological health and living a religiously moral life. A well written and easy to listen to audiobook I've already recommended to others.
Don?t expect uniformly good reviews, sociopaths won?t like this book. I loved it because I love enlightenment, when the puzzle fits together with an endorphin-like rush. Ready yourself for this exhilaration. The book is mainstream psychology, not paranoid delusions; trust me, I?m a doctor. We are all aware of prominent sociopaths, mass murderers including Saddam Hussein, Bin Laden, McVeigh and Rudolph; some priests and most villains, but most sociopaths are likable and even popular. We see only the tip of the iceberg. Some of the heroes of our success-driven culture are sociopaths. They are a spectrum of people joined together only by their lack of conscience and their often hidden cruelty, an inability to emotionally connect with other people, their deceptiveness and ability to put on an act, and their desire for our sympathy when they get caught. Our pity is their ultimate escape mechanism. They are particularly successful in some fields such as military and corporate American combat, especially corporate administration. You may work for one of them. They aren?t everywhere and they aren?t obvious but they are most places if you know where to look. They are 1 in 25 people and most are on the loose. They often yearn for power and have no conscience to interfere with their achieving whatever goals they desire. They convince us they are compassionate. They are wolves in sheep?s clothing. They are the predators among us, and they are dangerous. We all know at least a few and you should have no difficulty recognizing the ones who have most impacted your life. They make us doubt ourselves while making others also doubt us as they continue to victimize us, the objects of their interests. They are Alpha-males and passive-aggressive females and they may have been our siblings. They often reach positions of power over other people and they love to manipulate their victims like a cat playing with a captured mouse. You are the mouse in this analogy.
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!
Having been married to a sociopath, this book has helped me a great deal. I had no idea this problem was so common.
And since it is so common, everyone please read this bbok.
This book can be summarized in a sentence: Sociopaths have no conscience and you should avoid them like the plague, and by the way, it is nice to have a conscience. Someone must have suggested to the author that she write a book about this subject and she scrounged to get enough material to put in the book. The book is poorly organized and repetitive without much substantive. While I don't argue with her main thesis (see summary sentence above), I found it alarming how she blithely labeled certain historical figures as sociopaths merely because of the horrid historical acts for which they are known by our culture. These conclusions are largely drawn from a western and specifically United States point of view. I also found her periodic interweaving of religious concepts to be disconcerting, and off topic. I do not recommend this book. BTW, the narrator did a nice job and has a pleasant voice.
Nonfiction. No character. Frasier did a nice job. Has a nice voice.
The author said all she had to say in the first chapter. Cut the rest and you have a nice pop psychology magazine article.