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The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry [Kindle Edition]

Jon Ronson
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (550 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $16.00
Kindle Price: $8.77
You Save: $7.23 (45%)
Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC

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Book Description

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.

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Engrossing.... This book brings droll wit to buoy this fascinating journey through 'the madness business.'" ---Publishers Weekly

Review

“Because of Ronson’s relentless self-deprecation and goofy, British humor, it’s easy to tag along without fully realizing the rigor of his reporting, which is itself frenzied with compulsive questioning and obsessive research.” -- The Boston Globe

“A rollicking, page-turner of a book... no ordinary piece of investigative journalism… Ronson’s storytelling skills are strong enough to enliven even the necessary reflections that would be one yawn after another if entrusted to a lesser writer.” -- San Francisco Chronicle

“…A book that manages to be as cheerily kooky as it is well-researched.” -- Los Angeles Times

“Engagingly irreverent…” -- New York Times

“[A] fascinating and humane book…” -- Washington Post Book World

“…Both terrifying and hilarious.” -- O, The Oprah Magazine

Product Details

  • File Size: 659 KB
  • Print Length: 272 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1594488010
  • Publisher: Riverhead Books (May 12, 2011)
  • Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004XFYWC0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,128 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
550 of 592 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Serious Topic Tackled with Humanity May 12, 2011
Format:Hardcover
'People who are psychopathic prey ruthlessly on others using charm, deceit, violence or other methods that allow them to get what they want. The symptoms of psychopathy include: lack of a conscience or sense of guilt, lack of empathy, egocentricity, pathological lying, repeated violations of social norms, disregard for the law, shallow emotions, and a history of victimizing others.'
- Robert Hare, Ph.D

I've been hooked on Jon Ronson's writing since 'The Men Who Stare at Goats' was first published. Ronson cuts right to the heart of important topics by having the guts to ask the difficult questions. His literary style is equal parts journalistic rigour, deep compassion and incisive observational humour that often shines the light of ridicule on darker human behaviours. 'The Psychopath Test' explores psychiatry, psychopathology, medication and incarceration of 'dangerous' individuals. The book reads like a mystery novel, which - driven by Ronson's compelling prose - makes it difficult to put down.

The story begins with a meeting between Ronson and a history student who has received a cryptic book called 'Being or Nothingness' in the mail. The same book has been received by several individuals around the globe, most of whom work in the field of psychiatry. The book contains 42 pages, every second one blank. (This made me wonder...in 'The Hitch-hiker's Guide to the Galaxy', the ultimate answer to life, the Universe and Everything was 42. Was this relevant? Was the mysterious author of 'Being or Nothingness' implying that his cryptic messages, if decoded, could lead to enlightenment?
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234 of 252 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars On the right track, but never reaches the depot June 4, 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I was absolutely engaged by this book--kept me hoping for more from beginning to end, and though it's written with verve and enthusiasm, although perhaps a bit too breezy from time to time, it never quite lives up to its promise, or, in fact, the startling possibilities of its unsettling premise. That premise is stated succinctly on page 112 (of my Kindle edition). Drawing heavily on the pioneering work of Bob Hare, Ronson provides us with a tentative answer to some of the most perplexing we face in life: "Why is the world so unfair? Why all that savage economic injustice, those brutal wars, the everyday corporate cruelty? The answer: psychopaths. That part of the brain that doesn't function right....We aren't all good people just trying to do good. Some of us are psychopaths. And psychopaths are to blame for this brutal, misshapen society. They're the jagged rocks thrown into the still pond."

I audibly gasped when I read that paragraph because it seemed like so much common sense. Our world is as screwed up as it is not because of global warming and corrupt political systems, but because the individuals running it, economically, politically, and socially, are irresponsible, self-absorbed, selfish, egotists who have a grandiose sense of themselves and care little or nothing about the impact of their decisions and actions on others. They have virtually no sense of empathy and are generally pathological liars. They are impulsive and refuse to accept responsibility for their actions. Usually, they demonstrated behavior problems early in their lives and have conned and manipulated their way through it.
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213 of 235 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Psychopaths among us May 18, 2011
Format:Hardcover
I think it's safe to say that British journalist Jon Ronson is obsessed with obsessives. Known for the book behind the film, The Men Who Stare At Goats, he turns his attention in this book to psychopaths'the rare, incredibly manipulative individuals who are devoid of normal human emotion and spend their days treating people as play things to manipulate for their own gain.

In the book, Ronson takes us into the fascinating world of psychopaths by speaking to the experts and having amusing conversations with the psychopaths themselves. His conversations with psychopaths provide the book's best moments. Ronson comes across as anxious and easy to manipulate, which really gets the psychopaths to open up with him. He's also quite funny, which makes for some great interviews.

One in a hundred people are psychopaths, and those who aren't locked up in prisons can be hard to identify if you don't know what you're looking for. The book includes the actual test developed by Candadian psychologist Robert Hare that determines whether a person is a psychopath. Thankfully, I passed the test and it's quite fun to take it and see how you score on the traits typically seen in psychopaths: a lack of remorse, pathological lying, superficial charm, sexual promiscuity and extreme, self-serving manipulation.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
The book is in good condition. I like the fact that the book has a plastic cover
Published 2 days ago by Nisa Ali Hasan
3.0 out of 5 stars Too lightweight for the topic.
While there are some interesting case studies in this book, I just felt that it was too much of a journalistic compile of other people's research to warrant the 5 stars. Read more
Published 6 days ago by W. Rawady
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoughtful and entertaining
Psychopathy and other mental conditions are described from clinical, social and emotional perspective. I'm already familiar with Bob Hare's work. Read more
Published 11 days ago by G. card
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I was surprised by the turn of direction half way through. Such a delightful and insightful read.
Published 14 days ago by jessie kirchman
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
I found this book very helpful, now I see the signs of personalities that I did NOT know existed.
Published 14 days ago by Dixi Conner
5.0 out of 5 stars The Absurdity of Psychiatry
I picked this one up, in paperback, some time ago because I had enjoyed The Men Who Stare at Goats. It sat on the shelf for ages, a victim of the ease of the kindle. Read more
Published 18 days ago by James Kemp
5.0 out of 5 stars An Eye Opening Read
What an amazing story! Ronson takes the reader on a fascinating journey into the world of psychopaths by talking to the experts and even the psychopaths themselves. Read more
Published 19 days ago by Maggie Anderson
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I've read this book twice and I'm sure will read again.
Published 25 days ago by Lisa Lewis
5.0 out of 5 stars Psycopath Test....
Very interesting
Published 1 month ago by Bill Buckley
5.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting read! For me, this was the ...
Very interesting read! For me, this was the first non-fiction page-turner I've read.

This isn't some scholarly journal or psychology text to analyze as your earn your... Read more
Published 1 month ago by T. L. Smith
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More About the Author

Most of all, I suppose, I write about mysterious worlds. I write about them in as human a way as I can. These worlds have included powerful secret societies like Bohemian Grove and The Bilderberg Group (I infiltrated them in my book Them), extremist communities - Islamic militants, politically correct Klansmen (also in Them), people who believe the world is ruled by 12-foot shape-shifting lizards (Them), and Military Intelligence chiefs who believe it possibe to pass through walls and kill goats just by staring at them (The Men Who Stare At Goats). In Goats, I also look at how these crazy ideas have mutated themselves and live on in the War on Terror.
These are funny stories about unfunny things.

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