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The Sociopath Next Door Audiobook

The Sociopath Next Door

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Publisher's Summary

We are accustomed to think of sociopaths as violent criminals, but in The Sociopath Next Door, Harvard psychologist Martha Stout reveals that a shocking 4 percent of ordinary people, one in 25, has an often undetected mental disorder, the chief symptom of which is that that person possesses no conscience. He or she has no ability whatsoever to feel shame, guilt, or remorse. One in 25 everyday Americans, therefore, is secretly a sociopath. They could be your colleague, your neighbor, even family. And they can do literally anything at all and feel absolutely no guilt.

How do we recognize the remorseless? One of their chief characteristics is a kind of glow or charisma that makes sociopaths more charming or interesting than the other people around them. They're more spontaneous, more intense, more complex, or even sexier than everyone else, making them tricky to identify and leaving us easily seduced. Fundamentally, sociopaths are different because they cannot love. Sociopaths learn early on to show sham emotion, but underneath they are indifferent to others' suffering. They live to dominate and thrill to win.

The fact is, we all almost certainly know at least one or more sociopaths already. Part of the urgency in reading The Sociopath Next Door is the moment when we suddenly recognize that someone we know, someone we worked for, or were involved with, or voted for, is a sociopath. But what do we do with that knowledge? To arm us against the sociopath, Dr. Stout teaches us to question authority, suspect flattery, and beware the pity play. Above all, she writes, when a sociopath is beckoning, do not join the game.

It is the ruthless versus the rest of us, and The Sociopath Next Door will show you how to recognize and defeat the devil you know.

©2005 Martha Stout; (P)2005 Tantor Media, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Stout is a good writer and her exploration of sociopaths can be arresting." (Publishers Weekly)
"A remarkable philosophical examination of the phenomenon of sociopathy and its everyday manifestations....Stout's portraits make a striking impact and readers with unpleasant neighbors or colleagues may find themselves paying close attention to her sociopathic-behavior checklist and suggested coping strategies. Deeply thought-provoking and unexpectedly lyrical." (Kirkus)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

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  •  
    L. M. Roberts Southern California 09-21-11
    L. M. Roberts Southern California 09-21-11 Member Since 2016

    Reader And Listener

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    "Well told"

    This book will make you start to reconsider some of the more challenging people in your life!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David 08-21-11
    David 08-21-11 Member Since 2012

    Indiscriminate Reader

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    "Toxic, incurable people"

    This is a good, though somewhat light (being intended for the pop-psych crowd) description of just what a sociopath is, what makes them tick, how to recognize them, and how to avoid them. It's not full of gruesome crimes or case studies, because Stout's key message is that sociopaths, for the most part, are not psychotic serial killers. They are seemingly ordinary people who can live ordinary lives fooling most everyone around them. And if you do realize that someone is a sociopath, there isn't much you can do about it if they aren't actually doing anything criminal. Sociopaths all play dominance games and view other people -- even their own families -- as objects to be manipulated and used, so the only thing you can do is disengage, even if the sociopath is your own parent or child. The scariest and most heartbreaking thing about them is that they are completely incurable.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Thor, goT 03-22-12
    Thor, goT 03-22-12 Member Since 2009

    A former globetrotting surf punk turned homeowner with ecclectic tastes. Classics, horror, crime, biographies or lectures? Yes please!

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    "Started strong...ended weak"

    This started out pretty interestingly, although I thought her definition of what "conscience" influences seemed a little expansive...and I discovered why by the last third of this. She has far too few clinical examples, and then she devolves into why a Buddhist/Hindu global consciousness is the answer to sociopathy... Wow... Not interesting at all, not scientific and not well supported.

    For instance, one of her early examples was that in traditional Inuit (if I recall correctly) society, which is about as communal as you can get, they pitched people like this off a cliff - THAT was their cure and treatment for sociopaths. Yet, somehow when she discusses that in east Asia the rates of documented sociopathy are low, it is not really considered that it might be attributable to something other "they have an ingrained communal, group consciousness"...like in the Inuit society...where sociopaths seemingly occured and where their solution was to pitch them off a cliff... Might these societies in Asia, at least socially, pitch sociopaths off a cliff? Well, that would be up to another author to examine, because this author is too busy using it as an open door to go on and on about the Buddhist or Hindu worldview. I felt like this book was a bit of a bait and switch.

    The author was kind of like the person you meet at a party that initially sounds pretty interesting and intelligent, until you realize they think 9/11 was planned by Israel and the CIA...or that the last four presidents have been Reptile people... What few examples of her actual clinical experience there are in this book were very interesting and thought provoking...but trust me, there were very few of them.

    42 of 52 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mel USA 04-05-12
    Mel USA 04-05-12 Member Since 2009
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    "Uh Oh..."

    This book may be "chilling" and "informative" to the mainstream reader, but it is neither scientific, nor objective, and should be read for its entertainment value, and not as a course study on the broad field of psychopathy/sociopathy (for which there is no consensus regarding the symptom criteria, no sanctioned diagnosis, no official diagnostic term). While entertaining in a pedestrian way, every time a book like this is published, it produces another crop of arm-chair psychologists--that may be more dangerous than the sociopath, as defined by Stout. Bottomline: It is a chilling subject; the book is informative and entertaining on a very basic level; and clinicians will most likely be unimpressed. Definitely don't bother if you are looking for a constructive way to cope with a loved one with an antisocial personality disorder (sociopath-psychopath).

    73 of 93 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David M 02-28-09
    David M 02-28-09
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    "A Must Read"

    You simply need to understand and know how to deal with this personality type. Or else, you will most certainly be hurt, used or frustrated by them. I was recommended this book by a psychologist friend of mine. I thank him every time I see him for recommending it. As I said, a must read!

    19 of 24 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ronda 03-19-12
    Ronda 03-19-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Very Informative"

    Rivetting and informative book but with an excessive focus on evolutinary developments (which is not science but speculation). Previous reviewers thought the voice was difficult to listen to, but I didn't have a problem. At times she drones on about sociological developments which I found meaningless, but will listen a second time.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Emily - Audible NJ, United States 10-11-11
    Emily - Audible NJ, United States 10-11-11 Member Since 2010

    As an Audible Editor I listen for a living! British classics, YA novels, speculative fiction, and anything quirky, fascinating, or heart-wrenching.

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    "OMG"

    Ok so I have never thought of myself as someone who has a weakness for conspiracy theories, but this book makes me think I might be a sucker for them. The Sociopath Next Door hits you like the biggest scariest conspiracy theory ever. Martha Stout will blow your mind with the portrait she paints of these "everyman sociopaths" - people walking around like normal people and not causing so much trouble - these aren't the psychopathic murderers she's writing about - but just enough trouble to send widespread ripples all around them. It makes you feel like you are living in a dystopian novel. Do one in 20 people on this planet actually have no conscience as Martha Stout insists? Who knows but it's one terrifying thought.

    11 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    EDotGirl Ellicott City, MD 21043 08-26-11
    EDotGirl Ellicott City, MD 21043 08-26-11 Member Since 2015
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    "Absolutely Fascinating"

    I bought this audio book today, finished it today, and was very, very disappointed that this was the only book out by Dr. Stout!

    She has amazing insight, not only as a Doctor, but as a human being, in general. Her stories were capitvating (especially the one of "Hannah") and I felt like I was listening to a novel - not because it was unbelievable or fantastical, but because she has this objective, yet vividly descriptive way of describing this disorder, and the people who are affected by it.

    If you are like 96% of the population, and not sociopathic, I recommend this book. If you have children (especially if they are about to go out into the big, "bad" world) I recommend this book. If you are just interested in learning more about your disorder, I recommend this book :)

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Philip Steamboat Springs, CO, United States 11-26-09
    Philip Steamboat Springs, CO, United States 11-26-09 Member Since 2014
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    "Exceptional...Must Read for Everyone!"

    This book is a must read for everyone. I wish I could have had this knowledge and input years ago, it would have saved me a tremendous amount of flesh. We do not realize how many people we encounter who could be true danger to our emotional well-being and leave us much less trusting. We normally associate a sociopath with violent offenders that appear on the news. In truth, very few sociopaths are violent and are our friends, neighbors, co-workers and family. Everyone needs this knowledge. Everyone will encounter at least one in their lifetime and probably many more. Add this to your arsenal of defenses.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Renate 05-21-09
    Renate 05-21-09 Member Since 2012
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    "Absolutely Fascinating!"

    Based on science, but told in an anecdotal style. I could hardly stop listening.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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