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Publisher's Summary

Let's say you're about to hire somebody for a position in your company. Your corporation wants someone who's fearless, charismatic, and full of new ideas. Candidate X is charming, smart, and has all the right answers to your questions. Problem solved, right? Maybe not. Psychopaths may enter as rising stars and corporate saviors, but all too soon they're abusing the trust of colleagues, manipulating supervisors, and leaving the workplace in shambles. In Snakes in Suits, corporate psychologist Dr. Paul Babiak teams up with psychopathy expert Dr. Robert Hare to focus on the psychopath's role in modern corporations. They found that it's exactly the modern, open, more flexible corporate world that is the perfect breeding ground for these employees.

Snakes in Suits reveals psychopaths' secrets, introduces the ways in which they manipulate and deceive, and helps listeners see through their games. It is a compelling, frightening, and scientifically sound look at exactly how psychopaths work in the corporate environment, teaching you how they apply their "instinctive" manipulation techniques to business processes. It's a must listen for anyone in the business world, making you aware of the subtle warning signs of psychopathic behavior---before it's too late.

©2006 Paul Babiak and Robert D. Hare (P)2011 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"Clear and complete, this is a handy overview for managers and HR, with enough "self-defense" techniques to help coworkers from getting bit." (Publishers Weekly)

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  • Cynthia
  • Monrovia, California, United States
  • 05-13-13

What if there’s a Psychopath in the Next Cubicle?

In 2011, Simon Baron-Cohen published “The Science of Evil: On empathy and the origins of cruelty.” That book discusses psychopathy in detail, and the organic reasons someone may lack empathy. Autism is probably the most common reason, but psychopathy - which Baron-Cohen convincingly argues can arise from congenital or traumatic reasons - is the scariest. Autistics generally don’t blend in, and often lack the social skills to progress in a corporation. Psychopaths can fit in, and often do. Worse, psychopaths, unlike autistics, may enjoy hurting people.

Dr. Robert D. Hare and Dr. Paul Babiak’s 2006 “Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths Go to Work” provides tools to identify psychopaths in the workplace. The common mythology is that psychopaths are compulsive serial killers, but that is definitely not the case. Bernie Madoff, the mastermind of the biggest Ponzi scheme uncovered in US history (in 2008), meets Hare and Babiak’s definition of a psychopath. Madoff ruined so many lives, including his own son’s (Mark Madoff committed suicide in 2010), but he has never been accused of even throwing a punch - much less pulling a trigger.

Hare and Babiak provide guidance on how to deal with psychopaths. The best recommendation is to just get away from the psychopath - as you would from any dangerous snake. That’s not always possible - the economy is terrible, a move may not be possible, and the psychopath may be your child’s parent - or your own parent.

Babiak is actually listed as the first author of “Snakes in Suits”, but Hare is actually one of the pioneers who identified psychopathy as a mental disorder. Hare developed ‘The Psychopathy Checklist’, which is widely used to diagnose criminal offenders.

“Snakes in Suits” is an interesting, thoughtful book, and a reminder that while most of us are “neuro-typical” (in Temple Grandin’s [author of 2013’s “The Autistic Brain] parlance), there are people who think differently and may never be able to empathize.

The narration was good, and kept me engaged.

29 of 35 people found this review helpful

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  • Jill
  • United States
  • 10-19-13

Could have done this book in two chapters

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

I enjoyed it for what it was but it was so redundant - making the same point over and over. It left you confused about whether it was supposed to be a professional book or whether I was even supposed to be reading it as a normal person.

What other book might you compare Snakes in Suits to and why?

none

Would you listen to another book narrated by Todd McLaren?

Yeah - he was a good narrator

Was Snakes in Suits worth the listening time?

Not at all. Save your time, google what the characteristics of a psychopatch are, and get a different book

10 of 12 people found this review helpful

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  • Traci
  • VERNON, NJ, United States
  • 01-03-12

Could have been done better.

I chose this book because I enjoyed Robert D. Hare's "Without Conscience." I thought that it may have expanded on his previous book, but it failed to go far beyond what I had already learned. It was extremely repetitive and became monotonous after a while. The anecdotal stories could have made it more interesting, had he gotten to the point before the end of the book. Because of this, the conclusion was flimsy and made it feel like the book was halted to an end. If you haven't read any other books about psychopaths this book may be more enjoyable to you. The narrator was well spoken, however, the different voices he used to create better dialogue ended up being somewhat hokey. His raspy voice ended up sounding like Mr. Burns from the Simpsons. I wouldn't recommend this book, there are plenty of better books out there on this topic.

9 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • Frank
  • DURHAM, NC, United States
  • 04-28-12

Bad acting ruins this one

What did you like best about Snakes in Suits? What did you like least?

A fascinating subject well-explored is all but ruined by the reader's attempts at voice characterizations. This seems to be ongoing problem with audible books -- don't know if the problem is with the readers or the directors. Office conversations are coming off as poor imitations of Simpson episodes, and action sequences suggest Power Ranger cartoons. Please, performers, face the music -- You are not real actors. You'd be lucky to score a role in your local community theater. Stop trying, and just read the text. You're good at that. Inflect the dialog slightly if you must, but please, please stop with the ridiculous impersonations. You're ruining the writing. Reading an interesting book written by a creative author doesn't make you creative. Either you are or you are not -- and you are not. Please, more respect for the text.

12 of 16 people found this review helpful

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About 1/4 of this is interesting

What would have made Snakes in Suits better?

the story examples given in this book are long and drawn out, not much in this book kept my attention, at time I was bearing with it just to get to the next chapter. This book could have been abridged.

What could Robert D. Hare and Paul Barbiak have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Make it shorter.

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

It was adequate.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

Not really since I read Jon Ronson's recent book on the same subject and he tackled it far better and kept it interesting.

Any additional comments?

Not something I would listen to again.

11 of 15 people found this review helpful

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  • elise
  • Toronto, ON, Canada
  • 03-17-14

So close to home!

If you could sum up Snakes in Suits in three words, what would they be?

This book made my skin crawl on many an occasion, as I could imagine people in the stories they described. A great introduction to the topic. Can't wait to read / listen to their newest work.<br/><br/>Only minus: the end of the book gets tedious and repetitive. Skip the final chapter to stay sane. ;)

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

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A real eye opener.

Who would imagine that this kind of thing goes on unnoticed, in the corporate world.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Worth listening to

Obviously biased against so called psychopaths, but a good listen nevertheless. The author is a good writer. And I liked the ending very much :)
Also, the performance was great. An interesting voice making the listen very enjoyable. Great impressions of different voices made it even better.

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highlights the worst of office politics

an easy listen, very informative and show you what to be alert for so you are not caught unawares.

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Very good follow-up to Without Conscience

The characteristics and personality traits given are excellent references for anyone studying psychopathy. I found this book an excellent follow-up to Without Conscience by Hare. I loved the ever unfolding drama intermixed with the more technical aspects. It really helped me to apply the technical concepts in my mind more clearly.