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 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.
Full disclosure: I'm an enormous Jon Ronson fan. I heard "Lost at Sea" before listening to this book and it was mesmerizing. I feel the same way about this book. He's not only a really genius and accessible writer but a great narrator. Part of why I listen to his books and don't read them is because I want him to read them to me. The book is really, really interesting and you can't help but wonder how many psychopaths you know after reading it. It also makes you rethink psychiatry and psychology and the fact that they are not exact sciences. One man's ADD can be another's bipolar disorder. However, it also made me really respect the fields (and realize exactly how nuts Scientologists are).
Just really wonderful... A+++. I HIGHLY recommend this book!
A classic detective mystery lover. Especially mysteries taking place in quaint English villages!
This was disturbing, creepy, eye opening and FASCINATING!
To make a long story short, I thought I was listening to a mystery. You know. Like Miss Marple?! Lol What I heard was an intense look into the mind of real life psychopaths.
I discovered this slight miscalculation as I lay... IN THE DARK, away from home, BY MYSELF! I could have topped but it grabbed me like the wreck you know you should look away from but you just can't. I was compelled to finish this thing and pro,poly told everyone I love about it.
It may not be everyone's cup of tea but this piece of investigative journalism or whatever you choose to call it is FASCINATING!
Jon Ronson is THE PERFECT person to read his own work. I'd love to chat with him any time.
BAD LANGUAGE ALERT! I would typically leaf through a book and scan for bad language. I can't see that as an option here so I chose to ignore the bad language I heard. Never-the-less the language used is quotes from psychopaths. I suppose they of all people are least interested in my distaste for the use of the "F Word". ;)
I have to say that listening to the book has been riveting and incredibly insightful. I found myself not wanting to leave the car so that I could listen to more.The author (who is not a psychologist) covers a huge amount of material including the work of Robert Hare (preeminent researcher in area of psychopathy) as well as the work of other well meaning, but disastrous physicians.
They (psychopaths) can be found everywhere... not just in jail and mental institutions. The ones that carry a brief case can be as, if not more dangerous than those that carry a knife.
This is by far one of the best audible titles I have ever listened to.
'I think hell’s a fable.' 'Ay,' says Mephistopheles, 'think so still, till experience change thy mind
I don't believe in magic, astrology, or the business of Psychology; somehow this book reinforced my suspicions of psychology. There's more to this book than making Psychology look as foolish as it is; but that's all that stuck with me. Good listen, interesting, would recommend.
Since taking my first creative writing class in 2008 the pleasure I used to get from reading has been greatly reduced. I notice things I never noticed before. That said, I think I rate books pretty generously. Anyone who actually manages to write a whole book and then get it published deserves an extra star.
Even his name is friendly, slightly humorous, self-deprecating. This book gives the reader an interesting, funny and somewhat scary peek into the world of mental illness.
I am a wife of 30 years, mother of 4 wonderful grown children and a retired teacher....one of my new goals as I turn 50 this year is to become an author! I listen to one story on audible a week I am an addict!
The humorous and yet educational way Ronson approaches this subject matter it was very entertaining!!
The way he goes over the history of the term psychopath and discusses politicians.....well i do not want to spoil it....you have to listen to this it is so good! Very funny and witty, charming!
Ronson is my favorite he is adorable!
Yes and i almost did!
i have been telling all of my friends and family they HAVE to read or listen to this it is very very good!
A bit of a psychological thriller, this book taking you on a journey into the mind of psychopaths. Are they all bad? You be the judge!
Perhaps if the author had someone else read it. He should not be the reader!
Yes, I would not buy another book that was read by the author.
First of all he was so dole and lifeless and could put me to sleep if I listened to him while driving.
Everyone, and just toss them all in the garbage.
I would ask for a refund, but, feel I made the choice, so I have to live with it, It wasn't Audible's fault.
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