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The Psychopath Test Audiobook

The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry

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Publisher's Summary

The Psychopath Test is a fascinating journey through the minds of madness. Jon Ronson's exploration of a potential hoax being played on the world's top neurologists takes him, unexpectedly, into the heart of the madness industry. An influential psychologist who is convinced that many important CEOs and politicians are, in fact, psychopaths, teaches Ronson how to spot these high-flying individuals by looking out for little telltale verbal and nonverbal clues. And so Ronson, armed with his new psychopath-spotting abilities, enters the corridors of power.

He spends time with a death-squad leader institutionalized for mortgage fraud in Coxsackie, New York; a legendary CEO whose psychopathy has been speculated about in the press; and a patient in an asylum for the criminally insane who insists he's sane and certainly not a psychopath. Ronson not only solves the mystery of the hoax but also discovers, disturbingly, that sometimes the personalities at the helm of the madness industry are, with their drives and obsessions, as mad in their own way as those they study. And that relatively ordinary people are, more and more, defined by their maddest edges.

©2011 Jon Ronson (P)2011 Tantor

What the Critics Say

"Engrossing.... This book brings droll wit to buoy this fascinating journey through 'the madness business.'" (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

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  •  
    Ilana Montreal, Quebec, Canada 02-13-17
    Ilana Montreal, Quebec, Canada 02-13-17 Member Since 2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "If You Think You Are One, You Certainly Aren't."

    Equipped with a 40 point questionnaire provided by its creator, Ronson sets out to identify psychopaths (once and for all, I now know that 'psychopath' and 'sociopath' are one and the same thing). He makes the very valid and probably all too true point that psychopaths are often to be found at the top of the echelon, as politicians and especially CEOs, since their lack of empathy and competitive urge and predatory instincts are useful traits to have in a cut-throat financial market. In the later part of the book, Ronson makes the case that psychiatry has overreached its purpose by giving diagnoses where none are necessarily needed, and he mentions both autism and bipolar disorder as two of the most commonly inappropriately and overused mental conditions ascribed to children. One specialist argues that there is no real evidence that bipolar disorder actually exists in children, as apparently the illness usually develops in late teens or young adulthood and not before. I contest this finding as I'm absolutely certain I've been 'bipolar' (or whatever new term they find for my specific condition in future) since early childhood.

    One theory he proposes is that society, and specifically, all the EVILS in society, are caused by psychopaths shaping the world to suit their needs for exploitation and victimization. I believe this book has been hugely influential since it came out in 2011 and may directly or indirectly have influenced journalists and the public at large to claim that the current POTUS is unhinged and probably a psychopath... though since this term isn't used in DSM-4 (The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders; DSM-5 was released in 2013, after the publication of this book), the closest diagnosis they can give is 'narcissistic personality disorder', which essentially amounts to the same thing.

    Statistics show that 1% of the population are psychopaths and that they are much more present in our daily lives than we might realize. Most people reading on psychology and psychiatry has a natural tendency to worry that they may have whatever illness is described, so the question 'am I a psychopath?' is bound to occur to most readers, but the author claims that just the fact of worrying if you are one indicates you definitely aren't, since psychopaths aren't capable of introspection to begin with. Also, anyone with a surfeit of empathy, as Joh Ronson is (he suffers from pronounced anxiety problems) is more likely to be a victim of a predatory sociopath than to become one. The current theory is that people are born this way and are impossible to 'cure' and that trying to rehabilitate them only teaches them how to more convincingly mimic how most sane people express emotions, in effect providing a kind of 'finishing school' for psychopaths. I found those segments describing how the illness (or characters trait) is manifested and how researchers used extremely unusual methods (including LSD trials) to find a 'cure' really fascinating. Definitely recommended.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JAA 11-20-16
    JAA 11-20-16
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    "Fascinating, but not very actionable"

    Well read
    Well written
    Excellent perspectives
    but not enough actionable information.
    Worth the read for broadening horizons, but maybe not much else.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gina M Clingerman 09-19-16 Member Since 2015
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    "Psycopaths Are Everywhere"
    Any additional comments?

    After reading the Men Who Stare at Goats I had to pick up the Psychopath Test. And I was not disappointed! I could hardly stand to turn off the audio book when I had to go to work or shut off the car. I listen when I travel. This story about the madness industry is absorbing, well researched, and totally scary! I love how Jon gets so involved in the stories that he is researching/reporting on. This is a must read/listen if you may have lived with a psychopath or are curious about how to identify them, who they are, and how they operate in this world. It is eye opening and a bit scary to realize that psychopaths are often involved in shaping the law, the stock market, and other aspects of our lives that we are blind to. Read it!!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    T. McCrum Portland, OR 10-06-17
    T. McCrum Portland, OR 10-06-17 Member Since 2017
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    "Couldn’t Get Into It"

    I loved Jon Ronson’s The Butterly Effect and saw this title listed at the top of the list with rave reviews. It started off just okay and quickly I lost interest. I think Jon has an amazing voice for narrating, but this “story” felt more like I was reading out of a medical book and it just would not keep me interested. I ended up returning it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    BoogieMan 2718 10-03-17
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    "Excellent Excellent Excellent! "

    As with all of his books I have listened to so far, this one was no exception. This book's topic was thoroughly reaearched, the content was clear and informative, and the narration was fantastic. I wouldn't listen to anyone but Jon Ronson narrate his books. I highly recommend this book and his others including "Them, Adventures with Extrimists" and "So You've Been Publicly Shamed."

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joe S 10-02-17
    Joe S 10-02-17 Member Since 2017
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    "Waste of time"

    After about 30 minutes I couldn't take anymore of the book it is poorly structured and I'm not sure whether it's fiction or not

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    L. de Curtis Modena, Italy 09-28-17
    L. de Curtis Modena, Italy 09-28-17 Member Since 2014
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    "intriguing and insightful"

    an eye opening exploration of the controversial topic of mental illness diagnosis, business and the underlying economy

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Trisha K Pelzel 09-25-17 Member Since 2017
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    "Quite Interesting"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Psychopath Test to be better than the print version?

    Never read the book so I would not know.


    What three words best describe Jon Ronson’s voice?

    Calm Unanimated Flat


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    The Psycopath the Next Office Over


    Any additional comments?

    Well worth listening too. My only issue is that I felt Ronson's voice was a bit flat.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Liz R 09-23-17
    Liz R 09-23-17
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    "VERY Interesting"

    I listened to the whole book in just a few days. It's written in a narrative style and carries the listener through the process of discovery that the author experienced himself. It is a fairly basic exploration of psychopathy and its general traits (including a check list). But this is not a detailed study or explanation of the biology or physiology of psychopathy. It doesn't deal with nature and very little with nurture, but highlights different manifestations of psychopathy on a spectrum from criminal to high-level executives. Very interesting… Worth the listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mr Dangerous Los Angeles, Ca 09-21-17
    Mr Dangerous Los Angeles, Ca 09-21-17 Member Since 2017
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    "Not very informative for me."

    Ron Jonson I really like as a narrator, but this whole story felt disjointed and all over the place. I like writers putting themselves as the lead in their stories, Neal Strauss is a great example. Jonson just isn't nearly as interesting. The material lacked and really didn't let me in on anything new.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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