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Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us [Paperback]

Robert D. Hare
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (357 customer reviews)

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Book Description

January 8, 1999 9781572304512 978-1572304512 1
Most people are both repelled and intrigued by the images of cold-blooded, conscienceless murderers that increasingly populate our movies, television programs, and newspaper headlines. With their flagrant criminal violation of society's rules, serial killers like Ted Bundy and John Wayne Gacy are among the most dramatic examples of the psychopath. Individuals with this personality disorder are fully aware of the consequences of their actions and know the difference between right and wrong, yet they are terrifyingly self-centered, remorseless, and unable to care about the feelings of others. Perhaps most frightening, they often seem completely normal to unsuspecting targets--and they do not always ply their trade by killing. Presenting a compelling portrait of these dangerous men and women based on 25 years of distinguished scientific research, Dr. Robert D. Hare vividly describes a world of con artists, hustlers, rapists, and other predators who charm, lie, and manipulate their way through life. Are psychopaths mad, or simply bad? How can they be recognized? And how can we protect ourselves? This book provides solid information and surprising insights for anyone seeking to understand this devastating condition.

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Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us + The Sociopath Next Door + Psychopath Free: Recovering from Emotionally Abusive Relationships With Narcissists, Sociopaths, & Other Toxic People
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

"Psychopaths are social predators who charm, manipulate, and ruthlessly plow their way through life, leaving a broad trail of broken hearts, shattered expectations, and empty wallets. Completely lacking in conscience and in feelings for others, they selfishly take what they want and do as they please..." In Without Conscience Robert Hare argues convincingly that "psychopath" and "antisocial personality disorder" (a psychiatric term defined by a cluster of criminal behaviors) are not the same thing. Not all psychopaths are criminals, he says, and not all criminals are psychopaths. He proposes a psychopathy checklist that includes emotional/interpersonal traits such as glibness, grandiosity, lack of guilt, and shallow emotions, as well as social deviance traits such as impulsiveness, lack of responsibility, and antisocial behavior. His writing is lucid and illustrated with numerous anecdotes. The final chapter, "A Survival Guide," is especially recommended: as Hare writes, "Psychopaths are found in every segment of society, and there is a good chance that eventually you will have a painful or humiliating encounter with one." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

This work of pop psychology merits attention because Hare has pioneered in the field of psychopathy, which is still in a formative state. Psychopaths, he asserts, are neither sociopaths nor psychotics but rather are people who are well aware of the difference between right and wrong and ignore the distinction. Additionally, they are egocentric and have no feelings of empathy, guilt or remorse. They view others as potential victims, and they leave a trail of unhappiness behind them in those who have succumbed to their deceitful manipulations. Whether nature or nurture underlies their aberration is still uncertain; they are almost impossible to treat, according to Hare, because they are convinced that they have no psychological or emotional problems. Although, as he notes, much of the literature on psychopathy is scientific, Hare here presents material in a form accessible to lay readers.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 236 pages
  • Publisher: The Guilford Press; 1 edition (January 8, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9781572304512
  • ISBN-13: 978-1572304512
  • ASIN: 1572304510
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.4 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (357 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,955 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Robert D. Hare, Ph.D., is the author of Without Conscience and the creator of the standard tool for diagnosing psychopathy. He is an emeritus professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia, and president of Darkstone Research Group, a forensic research and consulting firm. He has won numerous awards for his research, lectures widely on psychopathy, and consults with law enforcement organizations, including the FBI. He lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, with his wife.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
376 of 385 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The creepy folk February 10, 2005
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Robert Hare's book is a landmark publication and very frequently referenced by other professionals, which speaks to the respect in which his colleagues hold his research and writings. This is an excellent book. It is well-written, lucid, and aimed at the lay person. His clarification of the terms "psychopath," "sociopath" and "anti-social personality disorder" are quite useful.

My only problem with the book is that Hare's examples come largely from the criminal world, where many psychopaths end up, and in which he worked for many years. Because of this, we may lose sight of the fact that many "psychopaths" are NOT criminals, but produce enormous chaos and emotional mayhem in the lives of others -- others who do not understand this disorder and cannot make sense of what has happened to them.

Psychopaths by their very nature are con artists, but not all are thieves and murderers. Some are just emotionally abusive, cruel, manipulative, controlling and bring families, employees, employers and acquaintances to ruin in a hundred other ways.

Empty, pathetic and destructive, they run the gamut from the emotionally frozen, disengaged, cruel parent to the serial killer -- all marked by one thing, their inability to relate empathetically to others.
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216 of 224 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Psychopaths at the back door - the facts revealed December 21, 2005
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
After reading this extremely sobering text, and it is strongly suggested you do, you will recognize someone in your past, present or future to be a psychopath. As Hare suggests, it is dangerous to label individuals without proper clinical research including intense interviews and applying the "Psychopathic Checklist" before a likely diagnosis can be made. However recent research has shown that there are literally millions of psychopaths in jail, mental institutions or simply walking the streets. They can be in your work places, a problem child or sharing your bed. It's a frightening thought, and this book has been written to outline the essential characteristics of the psychopath and a general "survival guide" to help us recognize and prevent the majority of harm to oneself and our loved ones.

Hare provides many case histories from thousands of interviews with psychopaths and their victims. The renowned psychopathic checklist that he and his team developed over many years has proved to be a worthwhile tool in diagnosis. Most of these case histories are terrifying and ultimately sad as the psychopath invariably leaves a wake of destruction wherever they are and with whom they come in contact. These predators are the grand seducers because they have developed a strategy to detect one's weaknesses, doors of opportunity, to attain their every desire, whether money, sex or power. These characteristics seem obvious on first reading, but are a little more difficult to spot in actual physical contact.

The psychopath is usually glib and superficial, egocentric and grandiose and most importantly feels no guilt or remorse after committing an illegal or terrible act. Most often they are impulsive, deceitful and highly manipulative.
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303 of 320 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't be devastated by one of these people - READ June 3, 2006
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Without Conscience has a lot of information that will help someone distinguish an everyday Psychopath from the rest of the population. Yes it speaks of famous cases, it speaks of prison inmates, but it also covers the ground that most of us walk on every single day. Grocery stores, work, church, school, etc.

Not all Psychopaths are criminals, nor do all of them turn physically violent. In truth most of them are our neighbors, friends, family members, spouses, and even our own children. Most Psychopaths stay so low key that it's hard (next to impossible) to pick up on what is happening until it's too late. By then you are in over your head, financially and emotionally devastated. I know, because I was a target of one of these people.

If I had known what a Psychopath was, and had already read this book, I would have known to avoid the individual at all cost. This book covers every thing to help us make an intelligent decision about the type of person we may be dealing with. If you have doubt of any person in your life, read this book. Better safe than sorry. Believe me, the Psychopath won't care about what he or she does to you. You have to protect yourself from them.

This book will put you on the right path. Always remember 1 out of every 25 people have this mental disorder, so your chances of meeting or already knowing one are very high. Take precautions now before it's too late.
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83 of 86 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully insightfull October 28, 2006
Format:Paperback
I never went looking for this type of book but it came to me after a very traumatic time in my life, a time when I was at odds with everything and everyone.I actually found this book at a second hand store without its cover.I saw the words "WITHOUT A CONSCIENCE" and new who it was about.

I was married to an extreme psychopath, he is actually in prison for raping and stabbing a strange woman with a screwdriver six times.Who knows what else he may have done, but got away with?

This man was a tirant in my life , he broke me mentally , emotonally, and spiritually.The problem is getting away from these people once they "OWN" you, because thats exactly how they feel about you.They don't let thier possesions go easily!I have to admit I got off easily, if he hadnt been incarcerated who knows where I would be today, or even if I would be at all?

I found this book helped me get through the post tramatic problems I was having, and to learn to trust again.This book will help you to understand the way these people think.I certaintly know now how to avoid ever being in a situation like that again.It also was intriguing in a way of just getting into the head of a psychopath. knoledge is always the best defence!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The best book on psychopathy
Simply an excellent read. Hare is the father of psychopathic research. It's the most informative read on the subject matter.
Published 4 days ago by PKP Trainer
5.0 out of 5 stars It is great for what I am trying to learn and study
I adore this book! It is great for what I am trying to learn and study. It gives you clear ideas of how psychopaths function in regards to mannerisms and even brain processes. Read more
Published 4 days ago by Sara Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book.
Very clear explanations. Excellent book.
Published 4 days ago by Marcia Petitt
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A+ perfect
Published 5 days ago by Nora
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A must-read - Robert Hare is THE authority.
Published 8 days ago by Foof
5.0 out of 5 stars This book helped me understand why some people do what they do.There...
Robert Hare makes an excellent argument as to why some people can do the most horrific things and not skip a beat. Conscience is the tether that keeps most of us neurotic and safe. Read more
Published 17 days ago by Searcher
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read
This book will give you the rare and raw look at who in your life is a psychopath.
It helped me understand my x-husband and how he made me feel like the "bad one".
Published 24 days ago by Sarah F. Bordeaux
5.0 out of 5 stars A Sobering, Compelling Read
Dr. Robert Hare is a researcher who experienced a "trial by fire" as a prison psychologist in British Columbia, Canada with a recently acquired master's degree. Read more
Published 26 days ago by Geneva Lewis
5.0 out of 5 stars LOVE THIS!!
Amazing book loaded with the most interesting content! Very fast read! Used this in conjunction with my criminal psychology course materials and learned so much from this book. Read more
Published 1 month ago by AmberI
4.0 out of 5 stars good read
this was an interesting read, depending on what you are looking for... Dr. Hare is one of the most knowledgeable individuals on psychopathy and it was interesting to get insight... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Danielle Smith
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