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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Psychopath Test

Quiz.  The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through The Madness Industry by Jon Ronson immediately drew my attention because:
A) I love psychology books;
B) I love anything about psychopaths;
C) I love true crime;
D) All of the above.

If you selected D, you win!  You win my undying admiration and respect.  Unless you are my sister, since I don't listen to you anyway.  But I digress.

Ronson is a journalist who decided to investigate psychopathy--what is it, who diagnoses it, and who are these people?  Boy howdy, does he ever discover this.  This book was riveting in a way that  non-fiction-psycho-babble is.  I was fascinated by Ronson's dealing with the Scientologists and the animosity they genuinely feel toward a field of study that has helped (and hurt, no doubt) so many.  Ronson met with Bob Hare, the man responsible for the psychopath checklist that is still widely used.  Ronson investigated the idea that many CEO's and head honchos in politics and in finance are psychopaths--and really, who wouldn't agree with that? 

I love stories to prove points, and there were many of them in this book.  I would highly recommend this book if you have a checklist like mine above. 

The biggest thing I took out of this was that I am not a psychopath.  Oh sure, I meet some of the requirements on the checklist (see Item 2: Grandiose sense of self-worth), but Ronson's point that if you are worried that you are a psychopath then chances are good you aren't one made me sleep better at night.

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