Cold-Blooded Kindness and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Qty:1
  • List Price: $26.00
  • Save: $7.26 (28%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Only 2 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
+ $3.99 shipping
Condition: Used: Acceptable
Comment: No apparent writing/highlighting. Binding in good condition, some wear around edges. Minor scuffs and scratches. Blacked out price sticker.--Please read our Seller Info and Policies prior to placing your order. Stock photo used.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Cold-Blooded Kindness: Neuroquirks of a Codependent Killer, or Just Give Me a Shot at Loving You, Dear, and Other Reflections on Helping That Hurts Hardcover – April 26, 2011


See all 2 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Hardcover
"Please retry"
$18.74
$8.80 $4.97
Best%20Books%20of%202014


Frequently Bought Together

Cold-Blooded Kindness: Neuroquirks of a Codependent Killer, or Just Give Me a Shot at Loving You, Dear, and Other Reflections on Helping That Hurts + Pathological Altruism
Price for both: $73.32

Buy the selected items together
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Best Books of the Year
Best Books of 2014
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for 2014's Best Books of the Year in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 387 pages
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books (April 26, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 161614419X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616144197
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #304,921 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Riveting and disturbing, an investigation into American-heartland pathos in which 'guilt', 'innocence', 'victim', 'perpetrator', come to seem almost hopelessly tangled. Barbara Oakley is to be commended upon looking so hard, and so closely, at the motives, in some, that underlie acts of 'kindness' and 'altruism'—suggesting that things are not always as they appear, and the phrase killed with kindness springs from the absolute bedrock of folk wisdom." --Joyce Carol Oates, Professor of the Arts at Princeton University, is a recipient of the National Book Award for her novel them, and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters

"Cold-Blooded Kindness is a terrific book. It combines old-fashioned narrative skills with new insights from science and a tough-minded view of good and evil that is neither sentimental nor cynical." --Steven Pinker, Harvard College Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, and author of How the Mind Works and The Blank Slate.

"This true-crime tale is as oxymoronic as the title suggests: An animal-loving mother of four kills her husband execution-style. Oakley studs the book with input from experts on battered women, altruism, and empathy gone awry. Her approach taps another paradox: We can understand genetic influences and remain baffled by any one human's behavior. Read this if you're convinced people are never who they appear to be." --Psychology Today

"I was up all night—read it in one fell swoop. Oakley's riveting narrative, lyrical prose, black humor, clarity of thought, and attention to detail put Cold-Blooded Kindness right alongside Capote's In Cold Blood and Mailer's Executioner's Song, but the insights from neuroscience put this in a class by itself." --Robert Burton, MD, neurologist and author of On Being Certain

"Cold-Blooded Kindness is a masterpiece. Our culture mistakenly teaches that all acts of kindness and altruism are good, but there are many overlooked victims out there who know that kindness can also control, manipulate, and harm. This book is their salvation." --Dr. Helen Smith, forensic psychologist and author of The Scarred Heart: Understanding and Identifying Kids Who Kill

"Truly a tour de force. Barbara Oakley couples the story-telling gifts of a born novelist with the insights of a sophisticated neuroscientist. Beginning with a sensational crime, Cold-Blooded Kindness gradually pulls back to reveal labyrinthine depths of duplicity conducted on a grand public scale. I alternated between shivering in horror and laughing out loud. This book is a murder mystery, a case study in social pathology, an artist's biography, a courtroom drama, and a scientific detective story all at once. A lot is at stake: human decency; the integrity of the legal system; and the powers of science to illuminate human behavior in its strangest and darkest forms. Cold-Blooded Kindness is a triumphant achievement. --Joseph Carroll, Curators' professor of English, University of Missouri, St. Louis; author of Evolution and Literary Theory and Literary Darwinism: Evolution, Human Nature, and Literature

"Barbara Oakley has written the most ambitious kind of true crime book, one that goes beyond a story well told and takes the lid off the simmering conditions and psychopathology that cook up into a tragic killing. There are haunting warnings for all of us in Cold-Blooded Kindness, as well as a fundamental truth: Homicide is self-will run riot—even if it wears a smiley face." --Lowell Cauffiel, New York Times bestselling author of House of Secrets

"This brave and important book reminds us that even our best intentioned assumptions become prejudices if they go too long unexamined. Truth and justice deserve our rigorously honest attention and we must trust that they will protect us better, in the long run, than convenient lies. The book is also an excellent read—lively, suspenseful, strange, and as insightful as it is disturbing. You should read it." --Jennifer Michael Hecht, author of The Happiness Myth and Doubt: A History

"Cold-Blooded Kindness is a masterful fusion of analytic depth and powerful narrative. A singularly incisive expose of the fallacy of simplistic moral dichotomies we routinely deploy to judge (and misjudge) the intricacies of human nature. And a gripping read to boot." --Elkhonon Goldberg, Ph.D., ABPP-CN, Clinical Professor of Neurology, NYU School of Medicine

"Barbara Oakley sets her sights on a seemingly mundane act of domestic violence to reveal the many hidden layers beneath. To make sense of those layers, Oakley uniquely dissects the dynamic psychological, social, and cultural forces that led an artistically gifted and seemingly kind and caring woman to kill her husband. Was she an abused victim or conniving victimizer? Read Cold-Blooded Kindness and find out." --Mark Blumberg, F. Wendell Miller professor of psychology, University of Iowa, and author of Freaks of Nature: What Anomalies Tell Us about Development and Evolution

"A wonderful, intelligent and engaging study that illuminates the disturbing relationship between some of those who appeal to our better instincts, as victims, and those on whom they prey, including ourselves—it will grip the general reader and should be compulsory reading for anyone working in the 'caring' professions. For many the world will never look the same after reading this book." --Psychiatrist Iain McGilchrist, author of The Master and his Emissary


About the Author

Barbara A. Oakley, PhD (Rochester, MI), is the acclaimed author of Evil Genes: Why Rome Fell, Hitler Rose, Enron Failed, and My Sister Stole My Mother’s Boyfriend. She has been dubbed a female Indiana Jones—her writing combines worldwide adventure with solid research expertise. Among other adventures, she has worked as a Russian translator on Soviet trawlers in the Bering Sea, served as radio operator at the South Pole Station in Antarctica, and risen from Private to Regular Army Captain in the US Army. Currently an associate professor of engineering at Oakland University in Michigan, Oakley is a recent vice president of the world's largest bioengineering society and holds a doctorate in the integrative discipline of systems engineering.

More About the Author

I work at Oakland University as a professor of engineering. I started studying engineering much later than many engineering students, because my original intention had been to become a linguist. I enlisted in the U.S. Army right after high school and spent a year studying Russian at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey California. The Army eventually sent me to the University of Washington, where I received my first degree'a B.A. in Slavic Languages and Literature. Eventually, I served four years in Germany as a Signal Officer, and rose to become a Captain.

After my Army commitment ended, I decided to leave the Army and study engineering so that I could better understand the communications equipment I had been working with. Five years later I received a second degree: a B.S. in Electrical Engineering. In the meantime, I worked several fishing seasons as a Russian translator on Soviet trawlers up in the Bering Sea. I wrote a book about that experience in 'Hair of the Dog: Tales from a Russian Trawler.' I also spent a season as the radio operator at the South Pole Station, where Philip and I met. (We were married as soon as we got 'off the ice,' in New Zealand.) With the B.S.E.E. degree in hand I settled down and spent three years working as a instrumentation and controls engineer at a laser research and development firm near Seattle.

We moved to the Detroit area in 1989. I worked for Ford briefly, and then began doing consulting and attending Oakland University part time while our children were small. I received a M.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering in 1995, and a Ph.D. in Systems Engineering in 1998. I was hired after my graduation to continue on as a professor at Oakland University.

Since then, I've become interested in learning about people and places using an out-side-the box perspective--as you can tell from my books. I feel compelled to explore ideas and concepts in writing--thank goodness I have a family that's forgiving of my compulsion!

Amazon Author Rankbeta 

(What's this?)

Customer Reviews

I read this 300 page book in one sitting - I couldn't put it down.
Book Fanatic
I've read a number of books on the brain, fascinating all, but none so entirely engrossing as Barbara Oakley's.
Wonderer
What many people don't realize is that truth isn't a He said/She Said thing.
Laura Knight-Jadczyk

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Irit Gat on April 21, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I could not put down Barbra's newest book Cold-Blooded Kindness. She is an amazing and articulate writer, weaving a true story of murder and "madness" with information about our neurological/biological make-up from scientific studies that makes for a fascinating read. If you are interested in some of the biological drives of human behavior then this is the book for you. I recommend it for professionals (psychologist, sociologist, biologists, neurologists, etc.)as well as anyone who is fascinated by human behavior and some of the "extremes" of what some people are capable of. I hope she writes another one SOON as she is one of the most amazing authors I have ever read (and I read voraciously!).
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Harrison Koehli on November 28, 2011
Format: Hardcover
There really isn't another book like this. Oakley has written on a subject that few, if any, have touched on before, at least not in this level of detail: the pathological manipulator as 'victim'. As she tells in the book, the original intent was to write about 'pathological altruism', a degree of caring that goes overboard, with negative consequences to the giver. But while researching the case of Carole Alden, things started to go in the opposite direction. Alden made headlines as an 'abused wife' who fought back, killing her abuser (with a gunshots through the back and point-blank through the head, mind you). But after analyzing the facts of the case, the police and court records, and interviewing dozens of people connected with Alden and her victim, Oakley saw another picture emerge. Alden turned out to be an expert manipulator, garnering sympathy from others and fostering an image as an empathic person with a deep love for animals, art, and the weak. But behind the facade, a stunning lack of irresponsibility, pathological degree of lying and 'impression management', and possible history of murder made themselves known. Oh, and then there's the S&M angle (just read the book).

If you've read Oakley's previous book, Evil Genes: Why Rome Fell, Hitler Rose, Enron Failed, and My Sister Stole My Mother's Boyfriend, you'll know what to expect: engaging narrative interspersed with the latest in cognitive research and neuroscience, with quotes from many of the leading authorities on all the topics involved. So you don't just get a true-crime story, but insights into animal hoarding, brain hemisphere functions, personality disorders, parent/child role reversal, altruism, and more.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By veronicaherself on June 2, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
After reading Barbara Oakley's previous book, Evil Genes, this was a letdown. Though she admits she started with an idea of the book's theme and was forced by her investigation into concluding it 180 degrees out from the original premise, there is no clear delineation of the transition. There is lots of interview material, but not enough analysis to make a coherent set of ideas from which to generalize. Get her first book instead, which is better written and full of clear scientific descriptions of the genetic and neurobiochemical underpinnings of the "successfuly sinister" (psychopathic) mind.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Cathy on March 14, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have to agree with other reviewers that the story was told in a confusingly disjointed way. What distracted me the most is that the author began to refer to the main culprit as a clearly bad person before presenting actual proof that she was bad, which made the story seem slanted. In addition to bringing in experts, which was valuable, she also relied a lot on anonymous sources and would sometimes quote "experts" who weren't actually experts in the content, such as quoting an English professor about criminal minds. Finally, there were problems with copy editing, such as repetitions of things already said and basic editing errors. I'm a long-time fan of thoughtful true crime but was disappointed by this one.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Book Fanatic TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 7, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I read this 300 page book in one sitting - I couldn't put it down. Barbara Oakley has managed to weave compelling narrative of a true crime with insightful analysis of related issues in psychology into a marvelous book. This is a story of an evil woman masquerading as a victim. I love true crime, science, and psychology and this book delivers all three in a masterfully told tale.

This is an account of a creative genius who left a terrible trail of true victims in her wake, most of whom are members of her own family by blood or marriage. Some of her children unfortunately remain under her spell. If you are at all interested in human behavior or true crime you will enjoy this book. It's that compelling. Very highly recommended.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Fifth Generation Texan on August 28, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This volume provides the best available introduction to the phenomenon known as "pathological altruism". An unusually broad range of perspectives are represented, including chapters by some by my favorite thinkers -- science fiction writer David Brin, evolutionary biologist David Sloan Wilson and developmental psychologist Carolyn-Zahn Wexler. Chapters are well-organized and integrated, with topics ranging from the usefulness of foreign aid to the wisdom of contacting other life-forms in the universe. Together they challenge us to rethink many long established assumptions.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews