The Psychopath Test is a fascinating journey through the minds of madness. Jon Ronson's exploration of a potential hoax being played on the world's top neurologists takes him, unexpectedly, into the heart of the madness industry. An influential psychologist who is convinced that many important CEOs and politicians are, in fact, psychopaths, teaches Ronson how to spot these high-flying individuals by looking out for little telltale verbal and nonverbal clues. And so Ronson, armed with his new psychopath-spotting abilities, enters the corridors of power.
He spends time with a death-squad leader institutionalized for mortgage fraud in Coxsackie, New York; a legendary CEO whose psychopathy has been speculated about in the press; and a patient in an asylum for the criminally insane who insists he's sane and certainly not a psychopath. Ronson not only solves the mystery of the hoax but also discovers, disturbingly, that sometimes the personalities at the helm of the madness industry are, with their drives and obsessions, as mad in their own way as those they study. And that relatively ordinary people are, more and more, defined by their maddest edges.
©2011 Jon Ronson (P)2011 Tantor
"Engrossing.... This book brings droll wit to buoy this fascinating journey through 'the madness business.'" (Publishers Weekly)
It was an interesting narrative, but I ended up wondering if I really learned anything. Good listen for the gym.
true, as others have said, it is not a scholarly work. what the author does is question the definitions we use for mental illness and how those definitions function in society. he does not come to any simple conclusions, or any conclusions really, but it does not feel unfinished. the issues he raises just aren't easily answered. to approach this (huge) topic in a more formal way could have been boring and a bit tedious. this on the other hand was a funny and interesting journey.
i really enjoyed the narration, jon ronson's timing and emphasis made the story really entertaining.
family tree buff
Jon is very funny and does a fabulous job of giving you an inside look at the psychology industry. He makes the characters very real. I also love how he kept worrying that he possessed some of the 20 traits.
Kept wondering if Tony was a psychopath.
Never listened, but I plan to purchase Men who Stare at Goats.
Not an extreme reaction, but he did make me giggle quite often.
I did have to slow the Audible pace a bit, as in the beginning I had trouble understanding Jon's heavy British accent.
this book will make you think. there are a lot more psychopaths out there than I thought. scary stuff.
Entertaining, Mildly Disturbing
Just when I thought he was pro-psychopath test (or anti) Ronson seemed to suddenly see things from a different perspective. This guy is not afraid to contradict himself.
Generally speaking, Ronson's Woody Allen-esque manner can be quite entertaining.
This is one test you won't want to pass... and one movie you won't want to pass up.
I think it is easier to accept how disturbed and unbalanced we have become by introducing the topic with a splash of humor. Thank God we don't take any of this too seriously...but maybe we should.
Definitely. So many interesting stories and so many interesting facts. I love learning about mental disorders.
This is why I said the book was monotonous, not because of the story, but because of the tone Ronson used at the end of each sentence. It happened so often! Anyways, it can be forgiven since it was such a great book.
When it moved me it was due to the frightening and grotesque tales of psychopathic behavior.
The irony. The information which came across as entertaining, funny and ironic yet sad all at he same time. I also love listening to him read. He's so dry and a bit self deprecating which makes him likable.
His true "voice". He helps the reader feel irony or sadness or whatever the emotion he's trying to convey, in the way he reads
Just loved this book. So much that I bought "Them" which unfortunately I didn't like half as much. Maybe the subject matter just didn't appeal to me a much as this book did.
I love suspense, murder mysteries, psycho thriller books most of all! I listen when not taking classes for my masters degree.
gripping, enlightening and entertaining
The Sociopath Next Door by Martha Stout who he referenced in his book. Both books explored each deficiency using real people as examples and just trying to explain explicitly using theories.
I love audio books, fiction and nonfiction. I seem to be drawn to the Scandinavian writers and their narrators.
I liked the book - it held my interest. However, it cannot be taken as a book of complete facts. A lot of people in the industry take issue with it. That said, I did have a boss that would score high on the PCL! Interesting view of our corporate leaders.
Good not great.
I liked Jon's audio performance. Very easy to listen too.
It is very eye opening when he gets to talking about psychopaths and Robert Hare's criteria.
I liked the book but it could have been much better. It kind of wandered for me. From the title of the book, I thought I would hear more about psychopathy. I like how Jon took you on the journey of his investigation. However I wished he focused more on psychopaths and not on all psycholigical disorders. It was a good read but really made me want to read more about Robert Hare's criteria and what his thoughts were.
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