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The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry | [Jon Ronson]

The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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

What the Critics Say

"Engrossing.... This book brings droll wit to buoy this fascinating journey through 'the madness business.'" (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

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  •  
    Russell 03-26-12
    Russell 03-26-12

    Like mysteries, not much in to SciFi, hate vampire books. Like most all years of history.

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    "Can you spot the psychopath?"

    I enjoyed listening to this book as it explained psychopathic behavior. The examples discussed in the book helped me identify some psychopaths I have known in my life. The writer's self doubts and continual self-assessment was refreshing to hear and made the book even more real.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ronda 03-02-12
    Ronda 03-02-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Interesting view of psychiatric diagnosis"

    Dislikes: I found the strong British accent of the author a little irritating to listen to with his British pronunciations and unfamiliar vernacular. The author's use of the F-bomb is unprofessional and quite unnecessary. In his interviews he frequently includes responses which add nothing of substance to the story: "aha" and "um" and "oh".

    Likes: Though the book is a rather disjointed, I found it an intriguing weaving of mystery, discovery and research. The author, a journalist lay person, attempts to understand the diagnosis and history of various aspects of psychopathy and psychiatry. Interestingly, his final conclusion coincides well with the new DSM definitions of various "personality styles" which allthough can be a part of personality pathology, are not in themselves a psychiatric illness. He does not attempt to present himself as an expert on the subject, but does a good job researching the subject matter to get an understanding from different perspectives.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gail jackson, NJ, United States 02-20-12
    Gail jackson, NJ, United States 02-20-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Lacked Substance"
    What disappointed you about The Psychopath Test?

    This book is about a journalist who is shown the criteria (or check list) for psychopathic behavior, who then feels childishly able to dart about the globe finding sociopaths. Almost impossible to understand the author's self-narration with the heavy Brit Accent. I'm assuming this book might be better in hard copy.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Jon Ronson?

    Anyone who spoke without such a heavy accent. Truly annoying, re-winding to understand basic words that had such an inflection that they became foreign.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Disappointment in the substance of this book


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jan Raleigh, NC, United States 02-16-12
    Jan Raleigh, NC, United States 02-16-12 Member Since 2012
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    "Enjoyable Romp through Bedlam"

    A fun read that looks at many facets of the issue, while compassionately ridiculing all of them. I greatly enjoyed Mr. Ronson's reading of his work.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James Clanton, AL, United States 02-15-12
    James Clanton, AL, United States 02-15-12 Member Since 2015
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    "Very interesting."
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, this book is an eye opener.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Psychopath Test?

    The story of the lady throwing her own feces.


    Any additional comments?

    Very interesting look into the human mind.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ellen Chesterton, IN, United States 02-13-12
    Ellen Chesterton, IN, United States 02-13-12 Member Since 2008

    I'm a bibliophile since early childhood. Love speculative fiction, odd premises, mystery novels that teach about different places and times.

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    "fascinating head trip"

    This is one man's journey of understanding the mental health industry and sociopathy. There probably was a better choice for a reader than the author. His accent got in the way for me a bit. But the story was in some ways very funny and very chilling.I found it quite compelling and in some ways cautionary.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gerald Oakton, VA, United States 02-09-12
    Gerald Oakton, VA, United States 02-09-12 Member Since 2002
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    "It's a mad, mad, mad, world"

    Ronson jumps from one insanity to another with each new chapter, which sometimes makes it hard to follow with the sudden shifts. He provides many insights into how "professional psychiatric" diagnoses are less scientifically derived and more a matter of who is invited and how consensus is reached among the egos in the room. Ronson also points to the parasitic relation of drug companies to this method diagnoses cataloging by the psychiatrists.

    It took a bit of time to adjust to the English reader, but after several chapters, the dry reading heightened the outrageousness of what was being described.

    All in all, this is an important description about the world of psyciatric diagnoses and the use of drugs and "crazy" treatments, all in the name of "care." He creates a healthy skepticism in the reader about this field of care.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jacob albuquerque, NM, United States 02-06-12
    Jacob albuquerque, NM, United States 02-06-12 Member Since 2001
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    "very insightful and fascinating journey"
    Where does The Psychopath Test rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    I would this book in my top 25 books of all time


    What did you like best about this story?

    the engaging history of psychology and its strengths and its weaknesses.


    What about Jon Ronson’s performance did you like?

    very easy voice to listen to.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jennifer Alexandria, VA, United States 02-01-12
    Jennifer Alexandria, VA, United States 02-01-12 Member Since 2007

    MedWonk

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    "A new look at evil"
    Would you listen to The Psychopath Test again? Why?

    The author's soft British narration gives insight into his personality--humble, a bit shy, yet funny-- that I think would be missed in the text. You can sense the nervousness he has when talking to


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Jon Ronson himself. He takes us on his journey into the world of psychopaths and the clinicians who have the authority to identify them. He respectfully questions the reasonableness of the clinicians who define mental illness and are given authority in their patients' lives. For example, the doctors at psychotherapy colony in the 60's allow a patient with schizophrenia (not to be confused with psychopathy), housed in a basement, to


    What about Jon Ronson’s performance did you like?

    His voice almost says


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I may have wanted to hear it in one sitting, but it is a little too long for that. Each chapter is a story in itself. Good beside reading.


    Any additional comments?

    If you have been in an abusive relationship, the tone of the book may seem to sympathize with people have the diagnosis.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paula Stein 01-31-12
    Paula Stein 01-31-12
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    "Started of a Bit Slow But Soon Became Compelling"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Oh, yes, I would definitely recommend this book. It is an interesting examination of the world of madness, psychiatry, drugs, and the wide range of behaviours that lie within the edges of normal.


    What about Jon Ronson’s performance did you like?

    He has an ironic sense of humour. He is able to discuss complicated subject matter is an almost flippant, humourous style that makes it very platable.


    What’s the most interesting tidbit you’ve picked up from this book?

    Contrary to my long-held belief that most polititicians, world rulers, church leaders, and corporate CEOs are psychopaths, I discovered that


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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