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Q. Were you always aware that you were different?
A. Yes, though when I was young, I thought maybe it was just because I was smarter than everyone else. I saw things that other children did not see, was aware of the adult world in a way that even my smart siblings were not—awkward interactions from the end of an affair, why my grandpa treated my dad differently from his other children (he was adopted), and so on. I knew other people did not see these things because I would reference them and get blank stares in return. I learned to keep things to myself, even to pretend I didn’t see them. Those were probably some of my first attempts to wear a mask of normalcy.
Q. What are the common characteristics/behaviors shared by most sociopaths? Do they describe you, too?
A. Lack of remorse or concern for hurting or stealing; being deceitful, manipulative, impulsive, irritable, aggressive, and consistently irresponsible; failure to conform to social norms; and being unconcerned about people’s safety, including their own. You need to have at least three of these to be a sociopath. I have them all, to varying degrees.
Q. You believe that sociopaths have a natural competitive advantage. Why?
A. Sociopaths have several skills that lend themselves to success in areas such as politics and business: charm, an ability to see and exploit weaknesses/flaws (which in politics is called “power-broking” and in business, “arbitrage”), confidence, unflagging optimism, an ability to think outside the box and come up with original ideas, and a lack of squeamishness about doing what it takes to get ahead.
Q. If you don’t have a sense of morality, or feel the emotions that most people do, how are you able to operate in the world without being detected?
A. I think everyone learns to lie about his or her emotions to a certain extent; I just take it a step farther. People ask, “How are you?” and you respond, “fine,” even though you had a fight with your spouse that morning, have a sick child, or any multitude of things that make it hard for you to feel fine about almost anything in your life. You could honestly answer the question, but you don’t because overt displays of strong emotion in ordinary social interactions are not accepted. Most of the time I don’t need to show any emotion at all, and I try to limit the times that I do by begging off attending funerals, weddings, etc. When I do show up to these functions, I try to mimic the other attendees. If I’m dealing with a person one-on-one, I just try to reflect their emotions; usually they’re distracted enough by their own overflowing emotions not to notice my lack of them.
Q. Research shows that one in twenty-five people is a sociopath, yet most of us believe we’ve never met one. Are we just kidding ourselves? Are you able to spot them?
A. Statistically, everyone has met at least one sociopath; in fact, most people will have a close encounter with a sociopath at some point in their lives, either as a friend, family member, or lover. Sometimes I can tell who they are. I find that many successful sociopaths will leave deliberate clues as to what they are, the thought being that only other sociopaths would recognize them. I think sociopaths, like serial killers, often have a yearning to be acknowledged for who they are. They want people to admire their exploits, and that is hard to get when they are completely hidden, so they make small compromises.
She writes in an easy conversational style, and I found the book (mostly) easy to read and quite engaging.
If she isn't, it would explain why the whole book just feels like the author trying just a little too hard to be convincing.
As much as we all would like to think we `would know', few see the sociopath for what they really are until it is too late.
You really can't expect a ton from this book. If you are looking for a view from the inside of this person's mind, this can be an interesting read. Read morePublished 10 hours ago by Island Lawyer
Well written, but boring. I believe the author is doing exactly what she states in her book - writing lies to manipulate the reader. Read morePublished 3 days ago by jbrant
I reccommend this book to people who want to know more of the subjective world of "sociopaths". Read morePublished 13 days ago by Pierre Joubert
Obsessed, pretentious, pitiful. I'm am disheartened by the "terrible" childhood you endured. It's pitiful to use that as an excuse to be selfish. Read morePublished 14 days ago by andrew glaza
Got to chapter 5 and said "I'm done". Thought I was going to have an opportunity to understand and find some compassion for the sociopath's world but instead all I got was... Read morePublished 15 days ago by Michele Hunter
Boring and full of contradictions that make it seem like it's full of lies. Full of self pity and self adoration. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Salad Gal 3030
I thought this was going to be more realistic. The person in the story is not a real sociopath, however.Published 1 month ago by ghostwriter