- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 8 hours and 19 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Macmillan Audio
- Audible.com Release Date: November 1, 2012
- Whispersync for Voice: Ready
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00A0162ZG
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The Wisdom of Psychopaths: What Saints, Spies, and Serial Killers Can Teach Us About Success Audible – Unabridged
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Top Customer Reviews
Dutton takes the term psychopath and completely undermines any point to it as a diagnostic term. Once he's placed it on a 'spectrum' it enables him to talk about 'turning up and down' the dials, even turning them up on some traits associated with the psychopath (fearlessness, ruthlessness) while not on others. What if, says Dutton, we could take those traits and apply them to particular situations, like defusing a bomb, or performing difficult surgery? But this isn't the issue of psychopathy. The problem with psychopathy is precisely that it is a general callous disregard for other individuals as worthy of any consideration other than that which will serve their self interested needs. It's not something they 'turn on and turn off' as situations require. And he never makes the case that it is.
Dutton focuses on the functional psychopath to make his argument that they're not all damaging to society, but that they often perform much needed tasks. What he doesn't do is talk to the families of these so called 'functional' psychopaths. He doesn't look at the psychological havoc often spread, which while not illegal, and not landing them in jail, often has enormous ramifications for those individuals that are forced to deal with them on a day to day basis.
His treatment of the term empathy is curious to say the least, and again he stretches it to a point where it largely becomes meaningless. Far from lacking empathy, says Dutton, psychopaths have too MUCH empathy. His proof? Well look at the obvious pleasure a serial killer psychopath takes in the distress of his victim.Read more ›
"The Wisdom of Psychopaths," an exploration of serial killers, monks, spies and CEOs through the prism of personality tests and neuroscience, is a good book lurking within a bad one. In this regard it perfectly reflects its theme, which is that among the dark traits which make a person psychopathic nestle behaviors and abilities that are not only necessary, but good, for individuals and society. In the seeds of evil, he proposes, wisdom may be found.
An Oxford University research psychologist, Dutton may discomfit many readers with an almost adolescent joy in mixed metaphors and grating puns, relishing the shock value of his premise as he liberally applies the term "psychopath" to all kinds of people. It may sound like he is suggesting sadistic ax-murderers or serial rapists lurk within all men, but his point is rather more subtle. Perhaps this approach is a deliberate attempt to open the reader's mind to new ideas. Or perhaps he needs a more restrained editor.
Still, a razor-sharp intellect with a serious academic purpose lurks behind the loose phrasing and wordiness. Dutton stacks up references to interlocking personality studies, brain scans and physiological examinations, comparing members of the general population with those behind bars and those who excel at certain sharp-end professions. His argument is that most "psychopaths" aren't violent, and indeed most aren't locked away.Read more ›
I was left with as many questions as answers. While Mr. Dutton addressed professions, he didn't touch age. I'd be willing to bet that children score high on psychopath tests, because children aren't born with empathy but learn it. So while Dutton is asking questions, he's cherry-picking his questions and demographics. He's addressing certain demographics that he wants us to pay attention to in order to make his point.
Another question I had concerned intelligence - do psychopaths test high, low or conform to the same kind of bell curve non-psychopaths do? And, on the subject of intelligence: He mentions a number of self-confessed psychopaths, so apparently psychopaths do know they're psychopaths. Then he mentions psychopath tests that seem to me to be idiotically simple to see through.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Interesting journey into the topic of psychopaths. Dutton describes the concept and how it has been studied. Read morePublished 12 days ago by Jim Defronzo - Revolutions and Revolutionary Movements; The Iraq War
Surprisingly well written and insightful. I was not familiar with this area at all but the book is clear and concise with just the right amount of humor and depth. Read morePublished 20 days ago by Buyer
I thought this was a solid book, with an interesting premise but I found it to be lacking in depth in some places and rather moving from supposition to supposition. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
The author is a bit of a sensationalist. The term "Psychopath" is more marketing than scholarship.Published 2 months ago by James Kayten
The best part of this book is the title and a couple of pages that have some value-added information. Read morePublished 2 months ago by JeannieChiliBeanie
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