The psychopath test A journey through the madness industry

Jon Ronson, 1967-

Book - 2011

"In this madcap journey, a bestselling journalist investigates psychopaths and the industry of doctors, scientists, and journalists who study them"--Provided by publisher.

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Subjects
Published
New York : Riverhead Books 2011.
Language
English
Physical Description
275 p. : ill
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN
9781594488016
1594488010
Main Author
Jon Ronson, 1967- (-)
Review by Booklist Reviews

Best known for The Men Who Stare at Goats (2004), Ronson writes with flawless pacing about his adventurous attempt to discover what the term "psychopath" means. It's not just a slur to throw around when you're angry at a neighbor, but rather a carefully studied series of self-aggrandizing and socially questionable behaviors. Unfortunately, those behaviors are found in CEOs who recklessly eliminate jobs while lavishing money on themselves and their friends, as well as inmurderously dangerous Mafiosi. So the line between pathologically psychopathic and successful is hard to trace. In addition, real psychopaths are often such clever cons that, upon learning what constitutes psychopathogy, they turn this knowledge to nefarious purposes. While Ronson leaves the reader with almost as many questions as answers at book's end, he is a masterful storyteller who sharesa compelling tale about a quest for information. Copyright 2011 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

In this engrossing exploration of psychiatry's attempts to understand and treat psychopathy, British journalist Ronson (whose The Men Who Stare at Goats was the basis for the 2009 movie starring George Clooney) reveals that psychopaths are more common than we'd like to think. Visiting Broadmoor Psychiatric Hospital, where some of Britain's worst criminal offenders are sent, Ronson discovers the difficulties of diagnosing the complex disorder when he meets one inmate who says he feigned psychopathy to get a lighter sentence, and instead has spent 12 years in Broadmoor. The psychiatric community's criteria for diagnosing psychopathy (which isn't listed in its handbook, DSM-IV) is a checklist developed by the Canadian prison psychologist Robert Hare. Using Hare's rubric, which includes "glibness," "grandiose sense of self-worth," and "lack of remorse," Ronson sets off to interview possible psychopaths, many of them in positions of power, from a former Haitian militia leader to a power-hungry CEO. Raising more questions than it answers, and far from a dry medical history lesson, this book brings droll wit to buoy this fascinating journey through "the madness business." (May) [Page ]. Copyright 2010 PWxyz LLC

Review by Publisher Summary 1

"In this madcap journey, a bestselling journalist investigates psychopaths and the industry of doctors, scientists, and everyone else who studies them. 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 Ronsonhow 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, moreand more, defined by their maddest edges"--

Review by Publisher Summary 2

"In this madcap journey, a bestselling journalist investigates psychopaths and the industry of doctors, scientists, and journalists who study them"--

Review by Publisher Summary 3

Traces how the author's investigation into an alleged hoax unexpectedly drew him into the mental health industry, explaining how an influential psychologist revealed the psychopathic profiles of top CEOs and politicians while imparting strategies for recognizing psychopathic behavior.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

Traces how the author's investigation into an alleged hoax unexpectedly drew him into the mental-health industry, explaining how an influential psychologist revealed the psychopathic profiles of top CEOs and politicians while imparting strategies for recognizing psychopathic behavior. By the best-selling author of The Men Who Stare at Goats. 35,000 first printing.

Review by Publisher Summary 5

In this madcap journey, a bestselling journalist investigates psychopaths and the industry of doctors, scientists, and everyone else who studies them.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.Watch a Video