I found this book empowering, if only because it made me realize that some of the cruel behaviors I occasionally observed in my workplace could be the symptoms of sociopathy. Sometimes people I deal with behave in such entirely disgusting ways that I feel baffled that a member of the human race could act as they do. But then I assume I just overacting or misunderstanding the situation. Listening to this book allowed me to accepted the possibility that THEY are the insane ones, not me.
Reader And Listener
This book will make you start to reconsider some of the more challenging people in your life!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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 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.
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.