Most people are both repelled and intrigued by the images of cold-blooded, conscienceless murderers that increasingly populate our movies, television programs, and newspaper headlines. With their flagrant criminal violation of society's rules, serial killers like Ted Bundy and John Wayne Gacy are among the most dramatic examples of the psychopath. Individuals with this personality disorder are fully aware of the consequences of their actions and know the difference between right and wrong, yet they are terrifyingly self-centered, remorseless, and unable to care about the feelings of others. Perhaps most frightening, they often seem completely normal to unsuspecting targets. Presenting a compelling portrait of these dangerous men and women based on 25 years of distinguished scientific research, Dr. Robert D. Hare vividly describes a world of con artists, hustlers, rapists, and other predators who charm, lie, and manipulate their way through life. Are psychopaths mad, or simply bad? How can they be recognized? And how can we protect ourselves? This book provides solid information and surprising insights for anyone seeking to understand this devastating condition.
©1999 Robert D. Hare, Ph.D. (P)2011 Tantor
"A fascinating, if terrifying, look at psychopaths.... Hare makes a strong case for the view that psychopaths are born, not made.... A chilling, eye-opening report - and a call to action." (Kirkus)
College English professor who loves classic literature, psychology, neurology and hates pop trash like Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey.
tell me how to avoid getting taken advantage of (like the moronic How To Deal With Difficult People) and the worse than useless In Sheep's Clothing), I decided to take a look at the opposite end of the problem--the manipulators themselves: a much better idea, as it turns out. Without Conscience provides a nicely developed portrait of the psychopath, people born without the ability to empathize and register normal human feelings, even though they can imitate them convincingly enough to con and abuse others. (There are an estimated 2 million psychopaths among us in the US, and they are not to be confused with their most extreme representative: the serial killer. Chances are you know or have known a psychopath.) The neurology represented in this book is a bit behind the current wisdom and for better information about the brain's role in psychopathy, one might read The Science Of Evil and The Tell-Tale Brain. Overall, Without Conscience is a very useful book for understanding the serious manipulator and how to deal with him/her.
The book is an astounding portrait of the psychopath, with lengthy descriptions of how they act, how they think, and how they see the world. The author clearly knows what he is talking about and the narrator is fluent with excellent diction and tone.
The multiple examples are engaging and easy to relate to.
I did find it a little repetitive towards the end.
My main dissatisfaction, though, stems from the book's inconclusiveness. The author paints this very detailed picture of this major problem but then offers little practical advice on how to deal with it both as individuals or as a society. I would have liked more concrete advice.
This book was written twenty years ago but the concepts are not dated. Hare developed the Hare Checklist for Psychopathy that has gained wider and wider acceptance as time has gone on. Your life has been touched by a psychopath/sociopath. The significance of that influence likely determines how interested you are in the subject. If your interest is high you must read this book as a seminal work on the subject. If your interest is somewhat lower, I would recommend the more recently written The Sociopath Next Door by Martha Stout.
Hare created this genre of non-fiction and remains the master all others attempt to imitate. I originally purchased this book in paperback form many years ago, read it 2-3 times, and then lent it to a friend who never returned it. It was worthwhile enough for me to buy the audiobook format.
Hare was responsible for developing the gold standard in the identification of psychopathic personalities. This is a standard currently in-use across the criminal justice system worldwide. The author clearly distinguishes the characteristics of psychopathy, and discusses at length the way these individuals move amongst us in society. This book is objective, non-sensationalized, and presented in a to-the-point and interesting way that is both satisfying and enlightening for the layman. Advice for dealing with potential psychopaths at both the societal/institutional and personal levels are also informatively presented. This isn't your typical black-art psych book - Hare backs his conclusions up with solid research and decades of inventorying verifiable psychopaths from the nation's prison system.
Read it and see if you can pick out the psychopaths in your life.
I am a widow and mother of 2 grown up daughters. I listen to audibles every night at least 1 to 2 hrs. It relaxes me and I get to tell my girls about it. I love this activity. It keeps me out of trouble.
This is the book that will reveal the dark side of people. A must read to survive the society the we live in.
Yes, but you only need to read/listen to half of it. It's very repetitive.
The whole concept is interesting and he does get much credit for his "psychopath" test. No question there. But nothing really new after that.
I read the Sociopath Next Door by Martha Stout first. Her book was newer (2007 compared to 1999) and referred to this one so I decided to give it a try. This book was a bit too self-congratulatory for me and repetitive without giving insight or answering basic questions. It's more a series of the author's experiences and how revolutionary he was in drafting the psychopath test. Stout's book went more into possible causes, contrasting and comparing which gave one things to think about. Maybe it was unfair to compare Hare's book to Stout, but I really got tired of him halfway through and I find this subject matter riveting. Based on the first book, I would have second thoughts about listening/reading a second book of his.
An authority on the subject of psychopaths, the author freely admits that he, too, had been fooled by one even though he wrote the book on the subject. For any of us who've been hoodwinked by these charming, fast talking con artists, this information provides a measure of relief with the knowledge that it can, and does, happen to any and everyone. Unfortunately, there is no effective cure, treatment, then when the book was written a decade or more ago,and nothing has happened since then to change their behavior or the results on the rest of us. Run away, run far, far away when you encounter one of these "without conscience" characters....and the word "character" is misapplied to these societal outcasts, because even villains love cats, or cigars, or music, or something -----or else they wouldn't be satisfying characters.
It took me forever to get through this book. With the final sentence ended I asked myself what I had learned. The only real insight was a 10-minute section on the difficulty psychopaths have with sequencing and story-telling. Fascinating. But overall, I found the information gleaned to be rather superficial and skewed almost entirely to criminality. In addition, Boehmer's narration was rather snooty throughout. He added authentic sarcasm where it was clear that the author was condescending to his colleagues or when quoting actual psychopaths. But by the end, I was over the whole "smartest guy in the room" feel that I got from the author and especially as it was narrated.
Robert Hare is the self-proclaimed inventor of the Psychopathy Checklist. But that is the one thing missing from this audio book - the actual check list. And so he ends the book by saying that if you are a victim of a psychopath, educate yourself and seek professional help - which is probably what many people thought they were doing when buying this book. Hmm.
Linda in Omaha
Amazing that some people really have no regard for others. I used to believe that people had a natural caring for others, especially their own family members and spouse. Now I realize some people lack the ability to have feelings of caring. I seem to have had the misfortune of having a parent and a husband who fit the description. I always wondered if they were just plain mean, or if they were mentally ill. This book does an excellent job of describing what actually happens in the mind of a psychopath. I'm happy that I got this book. I have a better understanding of this problem than I ever had before, and I no longer have to wonder what I did wrong. By the way, I'm now happily married to a great guy who treats me well and is not a psychopath.
Few psychopaths are actually murderers. They're everywhere: many are career criminals, but some of them are CEOs at top companies. You've almost certainly come across one, hopefully without too much damage to your life. Many are less fortunate, though. This book helps you to spot them, and gives you strategies for minimising the damage they can cause you. Essential reading.
As a post graduate Psychology student, trained counsellor and presently 3rd year undergraduate Mental Health Nurse, this audio book has been invaluable in furthering my understanding of a person deemed to be a psychopath. I would thoroughly recommend it to anyone curious to glean a better understanding as to the working mind and behaviour of people classified with this unfortunate condition. Although difficult to treat, this condition can be treated and people can improve their lives.
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