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Publisher's Summary

We are accustomed to think of sociopaths as violent criminals, but in The Sociopath Next Door, Harvard psychologist Martha Stout reveals that a shocking 4 percent of ordinary people, one in 25, has an often undetected mental disorder, the chief symptom of which is that that person possesses no conscience. He or she has no ability whatsoever to feel shame, guilt, or remorse. One in 25 everyday Americans, therefore, is secretly a sociopath. They could be your colleague, your neighbor, even family. And they can do literally anything at all and feel absolutely no guilt.

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.

Critic Reviews

"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)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Insightful

It has interesting information about sociopaths and their inner workings. I thought the audiobook was poorly read with noticeable changes in voices here and there.

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Read to arm yourself!

This will give you more understanding about sociopaths you may briefly run into and also help you deal with those sociopaths in your everyday life. Unfortunately most of us have to have some sort of "relationship" with one on an regular basis or even a family member at some point. You might as well know the score and have some strategy. This book will help with that.

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Should be required reading.

The best book I've read on the subject. Totally demystifies what it means to be a sociopath.

I want to keep 50 copies to hand out to people.

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Great read!

I've read several psychology type books this is by far my favorite. The topic is interesting and the presentation had the reader in mind. As a lay person- I think I have an idea of what a sociopath is because of the presentation. The narration was excellent. A great read for anyone interested.

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Sociopath Next Door Analysis - Excellent

This book helped me to broaden my view of the different types of sociopath people. The narrator kept me interested even through the scientific analysis and reports. Though some may be monsters who are polite articulate intelligent charismatic beings you also sense they are human who need to feed on other people's positive energy to survive, psychic vampires of some sort. This book helps you identify them and how to deal with them. Interesting read.

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Good but I wanted more

This book was very entertaining and informative but it felt like it ended too early. I would have loved to hear more examples of sociopaths

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Interesting and pleasant reader

This reader was very easy to listen to. I would have liked a few less stories and more psychocolgy. But a great book.

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Overall ok.

A good read, but won't re-read. Would have like more stories and examples of sociopathy, and less rambling on the nature of conscience and how valuable it is (preaching to the choir, somewhat).

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Insightful and enterntaining

Through a series of stories, Matha Stout digs deep on the meaning and the extent of conscience, and how lives without it look like. The book is very well read and once its start it gets you hooked. Additionally it has helped me understand who to stay clear off and how to forgive some cruel moments in my life when I have encountered sociopaths. I higly reccomend.

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Important for daily lives

Being a survivor of emotional trauma this book has freed me from guilt and shame. I am finding the ability to set boundaries without the internal struggle of needing justification.