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Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths Go to Work + Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us + The Sociopath Next Door
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: HarperBusiness; Reprint edition (May 8, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061147893
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061147890
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (176 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,851 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Psychopaths are described as incapable of empathy, guilt, or loyalty to anyone but themselves; still, spotting a psychopath isn't easy. Babiak, an industrial and organizational psychologist, and Hare (Without Conscience), creator of the standard tool for diagnosing psychopathology, present a study of the psychopath in the corporate landscape. A common description of psychopathology states that subjects "know the words but not the music;" Babiak and Hare state that "a clever psychopath can present such a well-rounded picture of a perfect job candidate that even seasoned interviewers" can be fooled. In between a disposable series of narrative acts that follow a psychopath's progress ("Act I, Scene I - Grand Entrance;" "Act III, Scene II - An Honest Mistake?" "Act V, Scene I - Circle the wagons"), thorough research and anecdotes from a number of sources-current literature, news media, and showbiz among them-to illuminate the power of the psychopath to manipulate those around him, as well as what strategies can be used to identify and disarm him. Clear and complete, this is a handy overview for managers and HR, with enough "self-defense" techniques to help coworkers from getting bit.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Babiak, an industrial and organizational psychologist, and Hare, the creator of the standard tool for diagnosing psychopathy, explore the infiltration into today's corporations by psychopaths, or those with destructive personality characteristics that are invisible to many with whom they interact. Their skilled manipulation begins with a perfect interview, as they are attractive job applicants who are confident and charming. They often flourish in fast-paced, changing industries with widespread uncertainty and can inflict considerable damage. Babiak and Hare explain in nontechnical language and real-world case studies how to protect employees and the company from these individuals who take advantage of organizational systems and processes, exploit communication weaknesses, and promote interpersonal conflicts. Babiak and Hare observe, "Companies accelerate their hiring practices to attract, hire, and retain new, high-potential talent before their competitors do. Gone are the days of the painstaking vetting process. Competition is fierce and qualified candidates few." This is an important perspective in the increasingly complicated hiring challenges facing corporate America. Mary Whaley
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

I could not drop the book, it's interesting and very well written.
Teresa
The tendency is to read a book like Snakes In Suits AFTER you've had a close encounter of the psychopathic kind - sort of in the spirit of a post-mortem.
nom de femme
Learning how to cope, and deal with their actions will aide you greatly in surviving your encounter with this type of person.
Stephanie Manley

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

327 of 334 people found the following review helpful By Psychlone on May 15, 2006
Format: Hardcover
The work of psychopath researchers Babiak & Hare has been reviewed in several periodicals over the past year, including Business 2.0, New York Times: Year In Ideas, Harvard Business Review and Fast Company, among others. Babiak is an Industrial-Organizational Psychologist with years of experience in the business world---he was the first to identify the "corporate psychopath"---and Hare is the world renowned author of Without Conscience, a seminal work on psychopaths. Their long awaited book, Snakes In Suits, has finally come out and it was well worth the wait.

Snakes In Suits is a page turner, written in an engaging and entertaining style, all the while conveying lots of new information on the topic. The book is structured in a somewhat unique way, as well, making it both a good book for the general reader as well as a must-have for the business reader. The fact that it is also well indexed is a plus, making it easier to refer back to topics in the future.

The authors make the point early on that "serial killer" psychopaths, those who make the headlines and crime show plot lines, make up only a small percentage of those in society who actually have a psychopathic personality. And, the rest of these people are living and working in the cubicle right next to us. To their credit, the authors carefully avoid the sensationalism that often characterizes books and articles on this topic. Their approach is even handed, balancing scientific evidence with an easy-reading style.

Each chapter begins with a case---drawn from the authors' real-life experience, no doubt---that includes dialog among the players (psychopath and victim alike). The reader becomes the "fly on the wall" watching and listening to what is going on.
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148 of 151 people found the following review helpful By a reader on March 7, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I don't usually recommend books that fall into the "Business," "Popular Psychology" or "Self-help" categories, but I believe this book is a must-read for anyone in business. (Read it before you start any new job, and remember its lessons.)

I'm not a mental health professional or scholar, so I can't say whether the characterization of "psychopath" is accurate; in my understanding, the more accurate term is "sociopath," unless actual physical violence or criminality is involved, but the definition is for those in the field to dispute or determine. Besides, in the absence of conscience, I would guess it's a slippery slope from the one to the other.

What I like most about this book is that it isn't merely focused on case studies, or on the havoc these personalities can wreak on their individual victims. Yes, the Ah-ha! moments when you finally recognize the manipulator and his/her tactics can be comforting, and it's great to finally see through these snakes' distortions of reality. However, the real contribution of this book, I contend, is that it addresses the collateral damage these monsters can do within an organization: crushing overall employee morale, eroding confidence in the company's internal ethics, and ultimately diminishing employee performance and retention of good "talent." (HR professionals, take note.)

I also appreciated that the authors don't give "band-aid" solutions to the victims. In my own case, after reading this book and assessing the damage done me by a snake in my sphere at a corporation I had loved working for, I sadly realized that the time had come to cut my losses and reinvent my professional life elsewhere.
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162 of 170 people found the following review helpful By Consultant on August 12, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I read Without Conscience first, and then this book, and consider them to be useful complements to each other. Contrary to what another reviewer remarked - the first book is essentially a primer, and Snakes in Suits is a more advanced text dealing with the organizational environment.

The authors give plenty of examples, and plenty of tell-tales of psychopaths. Sure, you may see one or two signs here and there of others around you - but as they point out - you need to see a repeated pattern of many of the signs to be sure that you're dealing with the real thing.

Therein lies the real benefit of this book - to give you the tools to make the assessment in advance or as the situation unfolds - not after the fact. Armed with that, you can protect yourself from the machinations of the corporate psychopath. Being a little distrustful of everyone also doesn't hurt - until proven otherwise of a long period of time. Over the years, I've observed that one mistake people tend to make (which makes them vulnerable to the psychopath) is that they look to have 'friends' at work. Find your friends elsewhere - and go to work for the paycheck and career advancement.

I take issue with some of the conclusions of the authors (personal opinion - I'm not in a position to professionally disagree) - that the psychopath can ingratiate themelves with senior magagement to the extent that all criticism of them is brushed off. Sure, in some cases that maybe true. But in most cases, some dark hints or FUD (fear, uncertainty, doubt) can work both ways - both for and against the psychopath. The key, as they point out - is to establish your own reputation and relationships throughout the organization and steer clear of the psychopath.
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