The science is amazing; his conclusion definitely opens up the topic to debate even if you don't agree but it will make a reader think deeply about the motivations behind human action
Insightful and informative! I liked it so much that I'm immediately starting it again. I have been wanting to read this for years. Fascinating!
The author brings brain research into the ongoing debate on the nature of evil. I've read the classic works on psychopaths, and found baron-Cohen's concept of empathy, degrees of empathy and the variability of empathy within an individual to be an important contribution to our understanding of evil.
this is one of my favorite topics that I enjoy listening to. I find the material easy to understand.
This book gave me hope that there may one day be a world in which helping others and caring about their needs is smiled upon and accepted as the proper way to do things. Well researched and well read, while also being simplified and condensed very well. A must read for anyone who seeks to make the world more peaceful or seeks to understand the roadblocks to peace that currently inhabit the world.
In his insightful book, Mr Baron-Cohen suggests that "measures of empathy" be used as both a solution and a system with which to evaluate people on a medical (psychiatric) and societal (judicial) level, rather than with the current labels used to define psychiatric (often perceived as evil) conditions. The writer uses his research to redefine "evil" in a way that gives the reader hope that science can contribute positively to solving our collective moral and world problems. I would have enjoyed more chapters about how and why empathy might fluctuate in a person over time (moments, days, weeks, months, years and life time). But his is a truly revolutionary way of looking at psychology and psychiatry. Incredibly insightful.
Great narrator. Loved the pace and clarity.
The last chapter forced me to re examine some of my beliefs.
Excellent, excellent book.
Although the title of this book is the science of evil, I believe it speaks more to the science of empathy. Empathy is conveyed as a bell shaped phenomena that we experience everyone around us, and he goes into details on those in the lowest levels of empathy. Some critical thoughts I had where that I have found in clinical experience people with Borderline Personality Disorder do not have zero empathy as he states, but perhaps a misguided empathy. I have found that many people with BPD do go on to become therapists or psychiatrist by the very nature that they are capable of feeling what others experience more vividly then normal people. However this is perhaps something that only occurs through good therapy or religious experience as those with BPD heal. I do however believe that those with BPD who are in an episode, often do to perceived abandonment, of stripping of the social veneer that holds them together, do in fact have zero empathy for a short time. The other thing I would have appreciated more was how the author thinks such evil as defined by lack of empathy can be overcome. Overall I found the book very helpful in a way of understanding empathy and it has sparked my interest in reading more on the topic. I do highly recommend this listening to this book!
No, I wouldn't listen to this book again. The material was dry and felt like sitting through a personality disorders seminar. It seemed there was little inflection to give the book life.
Being a psychology major, the material was easy to follow. If I did not have my background, the book would not have been too technical. The concepts are pretty clearly explained with plenty of examples to further elaborate.
It felt like there was no pacing to the story, and the narration was lackluster. I would say that the narration did match the pace of the story.
Journey through the minds of disordered personalities. The darkness awaits.
Simon Baron Cohen is a specialist in Autism, and he referred to Autism a bit in the book and I'd be really interested to read more of his work in this field. His book was quite thought provoking. In my personal interpretation of the book, it seems Mr. Cohen believes evil is not a spiritual matter at all, but rather a chemical/medical one. "Evil" doesn't really exist, it's just that some people have lower levels of empathy.
He also seems to advocate for criminals who commit crimes due to their mental illnesses to have less severe punishments, since they can't help being sociopaths/psychopaths, or as Mr. Cohen would say, low on empathy.