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.
"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)
Addicted to Audible!
I enjoyed the first half of this book. I found it very helpful in reinforcing what I already knew about sociopaths and learned a few things I wasnt aware of. As an RN for 33 yrs and just being alive for 53 yrs I have dealt with many who fit the bill and now understand them much better and feel better about my reactions to them. I ignored the political opinions - my husband is a General in the Army and I can't say there are any more sociopaths in his profession than my own.
I debated on this one but gave it a shot, and I could barely break from it several hours later. This narrator does an excellent job of making this book as enticing as a suspenseful murder mystery. The material is excellent, and well arranged. The author uses sample cases to explain points and a finer understanding of details. She says 1 in 25 people are sociopaths, and then she describes them as they appear to themselves, to us, and their existence and effect on society as both the weirdo on the corner and the ruthless "successful" people in many walks of life that have left large marks on the history of humanity throughout time. Definitely worth the listen.
This book is truly facinating! Well worth the money and time. Audio clarity is superb. This book gives the author's professional insight to the world of sociopaths and their lack of conscience. She does a great job of developing characters based on real patients to illustrate the various types of sociopaths. She suggests that there are more of them out there than we realize.
I found myself thinking about anyone and everyone I know, have known or work with. It's amazing what you will discover. The book makes a lot of sense with regard to why and how sociopaths operate, how to spot them, and what to do when you know you have one in your life. With 1 out of 25 people being a sociopath, you will be sure to find yourself in the company of one or more already.
PS... if you are wondering if YOU may be a sociopath, you are not. Listen to the book to find out why. Mind blowing information.
First, let me say there is a lot of good and interesting information in this book. I learned a lot of things about sociopathy from the author. That said, I have a few bones to pick.
The author goes off-topic. She does not just go a little off-topic, either, she starts rambling into areas that have absolutely nothing to do with her topic, much less with her thesis for the book. It almost seems as if she ran out of material and just started spening time adding filler to make the book a little bigger.
Also, it's hard to identify with any people in her stories knowing they are composite. Am I supposed to believe there were no examples of real sociopaths that would provide the examples she needs? If not, it kind of invalidates her points.
I gave the book three stars, but it easily could have been a much better book with some better editing, more succinct writing, and real examples.
I will add that Shelly Frasier did an excellent job of doing the narration, thouh.
A May 15, 2009 listener review says, "her tome quickly degenerates into a not-too-subtly veiled commentary on conservatism, Bush and the War on Terror (all quite sociopathic, apparently)."
Don't let this stop you from buying this book. I was still listening for this "not-too-subtle" commentary when the book was ending. The best guess I can come up with to explain where this slant was heard by the reviewer is the part of the book where Dr. Stout explains the usefulness of a sociopathic mind in a soldier in combat. This is true whether the battle is lead under a conservative or liberal government.
Don't read too much into your friends, family, co-workers, or acquaintances after finishing this book. After a second time through the book, I have a better understanding of what the Doctor writes and have removed some people from my mental list of possibles, but still have a former co-worker and (sadly) and sibling who still fit the bill.
I hope I'm wrong about one.
I just bought the Audible version of this book after reading the hardcover book. This book is worth reading again! If you have ever been unlucky enough to have been involved with someone (authority figure, work colleague, child, marriage partner, etc.) who is a sociopath you'll need to read this book to help you understand what is happening, has happened and why.
It is particularly chilling and terrifying to see what is happening globally right now. When you read about the way "a lovable & charming" sociopath operates and what motivates him, you can better understand why we find ourselves in such an inexplicable, polarized and hateful mess both at home and abroad.
Knowlege is power and this book can empower us all - if we read it. Another illuminating must-read book on this subject is "Without Conscience, The Psychopaths Among Us" by Hare.
Say something about yourself!
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).
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.
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.
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