The Best Audiobooks About Psychopaths

Stories of psychopaths abound in just about every mystery subgenre, from action-packed thrillers to nuanced psychological character studies, and also stand out in works of psychology and neuroscience. Get ready to listen to some of the most riveting and unsettling books about psychopaths and sociopaths.

There's no denying the allure of psychopaths. There's something disturbing but fascinating about people so ruthless and manipulative, who lack the ability to feel guilt or remorse over their actions. Perhaps hearing more about this often misunderstood disorder offers us a way to confront deep-seeded fears and insecurities. Or perhaps it's one way to make sense of terrifying and horrific events.

One thing is certain: psychopaths hold a particular sway in the cultural imagination. These audiobooks, both fiction and nonfiction, explore psychopathy from a variety of angles. You'll find classic novels with psychopathic characters as well as accounts by leading scientists and psychologists about what goes on inside the minds of psychopaths. And there's a memoir written by a diagnosed sociopath. Whether you're looking for a listen to help you better understand human behavior, a gripping thriller, or a creepy escape, you'll find it on this list.

Note: On this list, you'll also find books about sociopaths, who, like psychopaths, have antisocial personality disorder. Both are manipulative, fearless, and charming. But sociopaths are more impulsive and volatile while psychopaths tend to be calm, cool, and calculating—which makes them more difficult to spot and more likely to get away with their schemes.

 

The Best Nonfiction Audiobooks About Psychopaths

The Sociopath Next Door

In The Sociopath Next Door, Harvard physiologist Martha Stout reveals that sociopaths aren't just cold-blooded killers. In fact, about 4% of the population—that's one in 25 people—are undiagnosed sociopaths, lacking a conscience and unable to feel shame or guilt for their actions. Stout explores the defining characteristics of a sociopath and offers listeners advice for recognizing and understanding their patterns of behavior in others. Shelly Frasier's assured, direct narration makes this eye-opening and important audiobook an engaging listen.

Without Conscience

Psychopaths are deeply embedded in our cultural imagination—but they're far from make-believe monsters. In this fascinating account, based on 25 years of research, Robert D. Hare delves into the menacing world of real-life psychopaths and the crimes they commit. In Without Conscience, Dr. Hare profiles con artists, serial killers, sexual predators, and other criminals, explaining their extremely self-centered worldview and unfeeling behavior—and letting listeners in on how to spot a psychopath in their community, workplace, or family.

The Psychopath Whisperer

Despite society's fascination with murderous psychopaths, from Ted Bundy to Hannibal Lecter, there is still so much we don't understand about how psychopaths are wired. Scientist Kent Kiehl has devoted his career to studying the minds of people with psychopathy. In The Psychopath Whisperer, he recounts the years he spent observing psychopaths in prison populations, using a specially designed MRI scanner to analyze their brain patterns. His research reveals key differences in the brain structure of psychopaths, offering new insights on how to diagnose and treat the disorder. Kevin Pariseau's engaging narration captures all of Kiehl's passion for his subject.

The Psychopath Inside

In The Psychopath Inside, neuroscientist James Fallon sets out to untangle an unusual—and deeply personal—mystery. While reviewing the brain scans of several family members, he notices something odd: one of the scans matches the exact pattern he'd seen on the brain scan of a serial killer. That scan turns out to be his own. This shocking discovery forces Fallon to wrestle with the complexity of biology, human nature, and identity. The author's narration adds to the power of this honest and sometimes chilling memoir.

Confessions of a Sociopath

While it's true that some sociopaths are dangerous, many are high-functioning, nonviolent citizens—and quite possibly your neighbor, coworker, or loved one. Their unique personality traits and ways of thinking—including glibness and fearlessness—often make them successful leaders in business and politics. In this confessional memoir and enlightening primer, M.E. Thomas shares her experiences as a diagnosed sociopath who has devoted extensive research to understanding what makes sociopaths tick. In Confessions of a Sociopath, she offers important insight into how people with sociopathy think, along with invaluable advice on how to respond to a sociopath's behavior and avoid falling prey to their charm and manipulation.

The Wisdom of Psychopaths

Is there anything we can learn from psychopaths? In this riveting audiobook about the extremes of human behavior, psychologist Kevin Dutton tries to answer that very question. He argues that functional psychopaths differ from murderous ones, and that it is their psychopathic qualities—charm, ruthlessness, fearlessness—that make them so successful. The Wisdom of Psychopaths will make you rethink everything you thought you knew about society, success... and psychopaths.

The Psychopath Test

During his investigation of a hoax being played on some of the world's most renowned neurologists, Jon Ronson stumbles onto something even more unsettling: a top psychologist who believes that many of the world's most powerful politicians and business leaders are actually psychopaths. Intrigued, Ronson sets out to meet with several influential people—on the covert lookout for telltale signs of psychopathy. These interviews lead him to surprising truths about the "madness" industry itself. Narrated by the author, The Psychopath Test is utterly engrossing and more than a little unnerving.

The Sociopath Next Door

In The Sociopath Next Door, Harvard physiologist Martha Stout reveals that sociopaths aren't just cold-blooded killers. In fact, about 4% of the population—that's one in 25 people—are undiagnosed sociopaths, lacking a conscience and unable to feel shame or guilt for their actions. Stout explores the defining characteristics of a sociopath and offers listeners advice for recognizing and understanding their patterns of behavior in others. Shelly Frasier's assured, direct narration makes this eye-opening and important audiobook an engaging listen.

Without Conscience

Psychopaths are deeply embedded in our cultural imagination—but they're far from make-believe monsters. In this fascinating account, based on 25 years of research, Robert D. Hare delves into the menacing world of real-life psychopaths and the crimes they commit. In Without Conscience, Dr. Hare profiles con artists, serial killers, sexual predators, and other criminals, explaining their extremely self-centered worldview and unfeeling behavior—and letting listeners in on how to spot a psychopath in their community, workplace, or family.

The Psychopath Whisperer

Despite society's fascination with murderous psychopaths, from Ted Bundy to Hannibal Lecter, there is still so much we don't understand about how psychopaths are wired. Scientist Kent Kiehl has devoted his career to studying the minds of people with psychopathy. In The Psychopath Whisperer, he recounts the years he spent observing psychopaths in prison populations, using a specially designed MRI scanner to analyze their brain patterns. His research reveals key differences in the brain structure of psychopaths, offering new insights on how to diagnose and treat the disorder. Kevin Pariseau's engaging narration captures all of Kiehl's passion for his subject.

The Psychopath Inside

In The Psychopath Inside, neuroscientist James Fallon sets out to untangle an unusual—and deeply personal—mystery. While reviewing the brain scans of several family members, he notices something odd: one of the scans matches the exact pattern he'd seen on the brain scan of a serial killer. That scan turns out to be his own. This shocking discovery forces Fallon to wrestle with the complexity of biology, human nature, and identity. The author's narration adds to the power of this honest and sometimes chilling memoir.

Confessions of a Sociopath

While it's true that some sociopaths are dangerous, many are high-functioning, nonviolent citizens—and quite possibly your neighbor, coworker, or loved one. Their unique personality traits and ways of thinking—including glibness and fearlessness—often make them successful leaders in business and politics. In this confessional memoir and enlightening primer, M.E. Thomas shares her experiences as a diagnosed sociopath who has devoted extensive research to understanding what makes sociopaths tick. In Confessions of a Sociopath, she offers important insight into how people with sociopathy think, along with invaluable advice on how to respond to a sociopath's behavior and avoid falling prey to their charm and manipulation.

The Wisdom of Psychopaths

Is there anything we can learn from psychopaths? In this riveting audiobook about the extremes of human behavior, psychologist Kevin Dutton tries to answer that very question. He argues that functional psychopaths differ from murderous ones, and that it is their psychopathic qualities—charm, ruthlessness, fearlessness—that make them so successful. The Wisdom of Psychopaths will make you rethink everything you thought you knew about society, success... and psychopaths.

The Psychopath Test

During his investigation of a hoax being played on some of the world's most renowned neurologists, Jon Ronson stumbles onto something even more unsettling: a top psychologist who believes that many of the world's most powerful politicians and business leaders are actually psychopaths. Intrigued, Ronson sets out to meet with several influential people—on the covert lookout for telltale signs of psychopathy. These interviews lead him to surprising truths about the "madness" industry itself. Narrated by the author, The Psychopath Test is utterly engrossing and more than a little unnerving.

 

The Best Fiction Books About Psychopaths

The Talented Mr. Ripley

Inviting the fictional psychopaths to dinner and not setting a place for Mr. Ripley? Unforgiveable. In 1950s New York, Tom Ripley is a handsome, ambitious con man—perfectly suited to trading his lot in life for anyone else’s at his first opportunity. When he’s sent to Europe to bring back a rich, bored classmate he barely knows, Ripley tastes the sweet life and decides to keep it at any cost. And he’s good at it. There are five novels in the talented Patricia Highsmith's "Ripliad,” each produced with Kevin Kenerly narrating.

You

In this twisty thriller, Joe, a seemingly perfect bookstore clerk, falls into instant lust with Guinevere Beck, a recent Brown graduate. He immediately begins stalking her, using all his guile and charm to present himself as the perfect boyfriend. When they begin a relationship, Beck discovers Joe is not who she thought he was—and the consequences are dire. You is a chilling contemporary novel about obsession, betrayal, and the insidious presence of technology in our lives. Tony Award-winning actor Santino Fontana narrates, taking listeners inside the mind of an alluring, relentless predator—who is often described by fans as a psychopath.

American Psycho

American Psycho is the story of another infamous fictional psychopath, created in the early 1990s by best-selling author Bret Easton Ellis. Patrick Bateman is a suave, well-respected Wall Street businessman by day. But he spends his nights torturing and murdering, unleashing horrifying violence on unsuspecting New Yorkers. Narrator Pablo Schreiber delivers a chilling performance of this modern classic; his voice is by turns cold and calculating and disturbingly charming.

Psycho

First published in 1959, Robert Bloch's Psycho is still one of the creepiest horror novels ever written. Hotel manager Norman Bates, the story's iconic villain, is one of the most well-known psychopaths in fiction—and he's partly based on one the most well-known real-life serial killers: Ed Gein. Even if you're an avid fan and repeat viewer of the 1960 Hitchcock film starring Anthony Perkins, the audiobook, narrated by the remarkable Richard Powers, is well worth a listen—especially if you're in the mood for a good scare!

Jane Doe

In this vivid sociopathic revenge novel, a low-level employee at a Midwestern insurance company plots to destroy her boss. Jane appears perfectly ordinary: nondescript and insecure, just the sort of woman that her boss Steven likes to prey on. But Jane is far from ordinary, and she's planning to beat Steven at his own game. A smart, feminist thriller, Jane Doe explores the intersections of gender, power, sex, and sociopathic tendencies.

Eye of the Needle

Ken Follett's classic spy thriller, Eye of the Needle is about a ruthless Nazi assassin and the one woman capable of stopping him from assuring an all-out Nazi victory. She lives on an isolated island, and, despite herself, she's coming to love the deadly man who has stumbled into her life. Samuel West's narration is full of suspense—that's as palpable in the 2021 audiobook as it was in the original, published in 1978.

Red Dragon

Marking the debut of Hannibal Lecter, Red Dragon is just about as bloody, gruesome, and disturbing as novels about ruthless and remorseless serial killers get. The story follows Special Agent Will Graham, who reluctantly turns to Hannibal Lecter, an infamous murderer he put in jail, for help in a case involving a series of sacrificial killings. The second book in Thomas Harris's acclaimed trilogy, The Silence of the Lambs was adapted for film with huge commercial and critical success, with Anthony Hopkins inhabiting the cannibalistic sociopath.

The Talented Mr. Ripley

Inviting the fictional psychopaths to dinner and not setting a place for Mr. Ripley? Unforgiveable. In 1950s New York, Tom Ripley is a handsome, ambitious con man—perfectly suited to trading his lot in life for anyone else’s at his first opportunity. When he’s sent to Europe to bring back a rich, bored classmate he barely knows, Ripley tastes the sweet life and decides to keep it at any cost. And he’s good at it. There are five novels in the talented Patricia Highsmith's "Ripliad,” each produced with Kevin Kenerly narrating.

You

In this twisty thriller, Joe, a seemingly perfect bookstore clerk, falls into instant lust with Guinevere Beck, a recent Brown graduate. He immediately begins stalking her, using all his guile and charm to present himself as the perfect boyfriend. When they begin a relationship, Beck discovers Joe is not who she thought he was—and the consequences are dire. You is a chilling contemporary novel about obsession, betrayal, and the insidious presence of technology in our lives. Tony Award-winning actor Santino Fontana narrates, taking listeners inside the mind of an alluring, relentless predator—who is often described by fans as a psychopath.

American Psycho

American Psycho is the story of another infamous fictional psychopath, created in the early 1990s by best-selling author Bret Easton Ellis. Patrick Bateman is a suave, well-respected Wall Street businessman by day. But he spends his nights torturing and murdering, unleashing horrifying violence on unsuspecting New Yorkers. Narrator Pablo Schreiber delivers a chilling performance of this modern classic; his voice is by turns cold and calculating and disturbingly charming.

Psycho

First published in 1959, Robert Bloch's Psycho is still one of the creepiest horror novels ever written. Hotel manager Norman Bates, the story's iconic villain, is one of the most well-known psychopaths in fiction—and he's partly based on one the most well-known real-life serial killers: Ed Gein. Even if you're an avid fan and repeat viewer of the 1960 Hitchcock film starring Anthony Perkins, the audiobook, narrated by the remarkable Richard Powers, is well worth a listen—especially if you're in the mood for a good scare!

Jane Doe

In this vivid sociopathic revenge novel, a low-level employee at a Midwestern insurance company plots to destroy her boss. Jane appears perfectly ordinary: nondescript and insecure, just the sort of woman that her boss Steven likes to prey on. But Jane is far from ordinary, and she's planning to beat Steven at his own game. A smart, feminist thriller, Jane Doe explores the intersections of gender, power, sex, and sociopathic tendencies.

Eye of the Needle

Ken Follett's classic spy thriller, Eye of the Needle is about a ruthless Nazi assassin and the one woman capable of stopping him from assuring an all-out Nazi victory. She lives on an isolated island, and, despite herself, she's coming to love the deadly man who has stumbled into her life. Samuel West's narration is full of suspense—that's as palpable in the 2021 audiobook as it was in the original, published in 1978.

Red Dragon

Marking the debut of Hannibal Lecter, Red Dragon is just about as bloody, gruesome, and disturbing as novels about ruthless and remorseless serial killers get. The story follows Special Agent Will Graham, who reluctantly turns to Hannibal Lecter, an infamous murderer he put in jail, for help in a case involving a series of sacrificial killings. The second book in Thomas Harris's acclaimed trilogy, The Silence of the Lambs was adapted for film with huge commercial and critical success, with Anthony Hopkins inhabiting the cannibalistic sociopath.

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