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)
I love AUDIBLE! I never get mad at traffic jams and can listen to many different books, despite of my short time.
I thought that his book was like "The Sociopath Next Door": where the author deeply knows the theme that he is talking about.
But it was not the case--- in the beginning, Jon Ronson says that he did not know much about psychopathy, so he researched the subject.
Well, I did not pay attention to the subtitle-- "A Journey through the Madness Industry"-- The Psychopath Test is really a JOURNEY full of discoveries, superficialities and speculations. It is like science fiction, the only difference is believing that his speculations are for real.
This audiobook is read aloud by the author himself, which I think adds quite a lot to it. As Ronson navigates madness - focusing primarily on psychopaths - he manages to include a surprising amount of humour, as well as his own varied emotions along the path of his investigation. He meets with a wide range of individuals as part of his research, and it is perhaps this wide scope that makes this both entertaining, but a bit scattered to listen to. There is an attempt to pull together the entire book in the mystery of a strange novel mailed to an international group of recipients (Being or Nothingness), but as a framework it really fails to support the meat of the novel - psychopathy.
From Scientologists to psychiatrists to psychopaths both imprisoned and free, Ronson collects a range of thoughts and opinions on the realms of mental illness. The entire industry from facilities, to patients, to doctors are tied in, The book moves along at a fast pace and it is genuinely impossible to predict what avenue Ronson will investigate next. With a narrower focus, the book would feel a lot more cohesive, but in this manner there are plenty of thought-provoking and fascinating ideas presented. All in all, it definitely made my commute a more interesting one!
I would change the Non-Fiction genre to Fiction. It didn't seem like it was informational, instructional or much useful to apply data. Seemed like a story being told
He earned his third star for being an exotic voice. So if there were something of a different nature I'd not rule it out.
Hello "my name is" Simon and the things I draw-er come true. (Nostalgic chalk character)
If I was Tony in the psychopaths hospital setting. I might even wear a fancy jacket.
Glad it was a quick listen.
Jon Ronson reads his own first person narrative here. This book was a very enjoyable 7 hour treat, and I will definitely get Ronson's other books for long car trips. The book touches lightly on many topics surrounding the issues of psychiatry, mental illness, and psychopathy, but it does so by focusing on specific people. Even though important topics are brought up (i.e. influence of the pharmaceutical industry on treatment), the book does not go into great depth about them. Maybe "infotainment" is the perfect label. Ronson ends the book still full of doubts about what's real and what's wrong.
Although this modern journalism where the author includes himself as a character can get tiresome and self-centered with some writers, I liked it here. Part of it reminded me of the movie Adaptation where Charlie Kaufmann wrote himself into his own script and said he's Ouroboros. In one scene from the book, Ronson goes into a house and describes it as something created by the Queen of Narnia. Later in the book, while he's making interview notes, he says "I put in my notes to be sure to say something about the Queen of Narnia."
I only gave the performance four stars because Ronson's voice got a little scratchy. Beware: there is a great deal of profanity and some disgusting imagery in this book (because there are descriptive parts about crazy people). You wouldn't listen to this book with kids in the car.
Delightful, thought-provoking, haunting
When Jon Ronson knocks over the tray in the train: I hadn't laughed so hard for a long time
Seldom does one come across a book that so surprises, delights, stimulates, teaches and questions. I have given eight copies to friends.
I would definitely recommend this book!
Jon Ronson has a way of presenting his experiences in a very emotionally connected way making you both anxious and scared at moments, and laughing hysterically at others.
It is hard to stop listening. Would be perfect for a long flight.
This is Ronson's second best book behind Lost at Sea.
Beth reads books. She holds them in her hand and she turns the pages and reads the words. I download, plug in, and listen.
usually i speed up a book towards the end, but not with this book. maybe it was the way he read it. maybe it was just the right length. maybe it was just that interesting.
I didn't know much about this book and never heard of jon ronson or the staring at goats story. and while listening i kept wondering if this was fiction or non-fiction.
Yes, and I have and they liked it! What a sense of humor this author has and funny insights into some pretty creepy people.
Jon Ronson of course, seeing these people through his eyes was just the best.
I don't want to give it away but when he goes into tracking down the psychopaths and gives his own twisted brain insights into what he thinks they're thinking.
I had heard reviews and stories about this book that tweaked my interest, but was not expecting to enjoy it as much as I did. First, I love Jon Ronson's voice. His delivery reminds me of Ricky Gervais, and his writing is frequently just as funny. But his method of reporting the story he has uncovered obviously involves extensive research as well as his perception of the comic aspects of the story. This book explained the amazing increase in the diagnosis of childhood disorders that I observed in my own work over the last 40 years and made me even happier to be retired. I look forward to listening to another of his books.
I'd heard about the Psychopath Test.. sort of on accident.. With a The Daily Show rerun playing in the background while I made dinner.. What.. A year? Several years ago? I made a point to stop what I was doing and go sit down for what remained of the interview, I remember. Now, I don't remember what the interview was about, except The Psychopath Test. I had come to think of it as one of those self-help books? With questionnaires for the reader to determine if they should be committed and hugging themselves in a nice white jacket, or at least drugged up.
Uhm. It's not.
It's not that at all, as you can tell from the summary. But that's what brought me back to it during the Halloween sale.It is sort of a collection Ronson has gathered on his sort of.. unintentional journey to discover what, exactly, goes on with mental disorders. Some of the things he writes about have me a little worried for the people who more or less run the country.. But take it all in with a grain of salt, just like he did. Though you will probably start analyzing everyone you know anyways.. Since he DOES include the checklist for the actual Psychopath Test. I've had some fun with it.
The book is a little dry and dragging at some points... But it is all very eye-opening. It's put yet another slant on the way I look at the world, which is what he was aiming for, I think. To educate people about this industry, and the industries these people affect and rule.
Besides, Ronson's narration brings a life and texture to the script that had me giggling all the way down the interstate. I've become a fan, of course, and his other books are on my wishlist, waiting for spare credits.
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