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Almost a Psychopath: Do I (or Does Someone I Know) Have a Problem with Manipulation and Lack of Empathy? (The Almost Effect Series) 1st Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 91 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1616491024
ISBN-10: 1616491027
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Editorial Reviews

Review

--2012 IPBA Benjamin Franklin GOLD Award Winner in the category of Psychology

"Dr. Schouten and Mr. Silver have written a sophisticated self-help book aimed primarily at those victims--parents, spouses and co-workers--but also at those who might sense some of these traits in themselves. The authors include a detailed discussion of the thought processes behind a psychiatric evaluation and an overview of the still-tentative theories of causation.

The almost-psychopaths are inherently fascinating; they may rise high and fall low (certain scions of politics and finance come to mind) or simply cause smaller miseries in their roles as controlling spouses, manipulative colleagues or uncontrollable teenagers.

At work they may be competent, self-disciplined and high-achieving. At home they may be charming and lots of fun. And on the inside they may be just as morally empty as any true psychopath, but the almost-psychopaths are grounded enough to keep some of their worst instincts in check, staying employed and out of major legal trouble."
--Abigail Zuger, New York Times, June 26, 2012

"Most of us have had an inexplicably uncomfortable feeling upon meeting certain people. They do not fit the psychopath mold, but they leave us with the proverbial hairs on the back of our necks standing alert. Schouten and Silver have done a masterful job explaining both why we have this reaction and how we might deal with almost psychopaths."
--Mark Albanese, MD, Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and the Director of Addictions at Cambridge Health Alliance.

"At a time when the label 'psychopath' has devolved into a mere epithet, Schouten and Silver provide the understanding that comes from recent research in the field, as well as their many years of education, training, and clinical practice. Most importantly, their 'operational' approach to interactions with those who demonstrate psychopathic behaviors provides a primer for all who might otherwise fall prey to psychopathic behaviors of colleagues, co-workers, and yes, even family members."
--Gregory Saathoff, MD; author, Criminal Poisoning: Clinical and Forensic Perspectives, Associate Professor of Research, University of Virginia School of Medicine

"Psychopaths are the predatory and very dangerous few. Those who are 'almost a psychopath' create mischief and misery for many. In this marvelous book of knowledge, wisdom, and sound advice, the subclinical--or should we say subcriminal--psychopath is brought to life. He can be dangerous but not lethal, duplicitous but not completely fraudulent. We finally have a book to help us recognize and cope with this personality.
--Reid Meloy, PhD, Forensic Psychologist and author, The Psychopathic Mind

"The Almost Effect Series of books captures the fundamentally human experiences and helps readers interpret what the symptoms might mean--both for themselves and others. The Almost Effect collection should be required reading for those interested in psychology and human behavior."
--Howard J. Shaffer, PhD, Associate Professor at Harvard Medical School; Director of the Division on Addiction at the Cambridge Health Alliance; co-author: Change Your Gambling, Change Your Life

"By highlighting the continuum of psychopathy and placing its associated symptoms and behaviors within the context of everyday encounters, the authors make understanding these difficult to manage people a little bit easier for everyone."
--Sally C. Johnson, MD

"Almost a Psychopath is a powerful read for those who want to better understand this mental illness and how to work with such individuals."
--The Midwest Book Review

About the Author

Ronald Schouten, MD, JD, has assessed individuals ranging from victims of child abuse, professional misconduct, and domestic violence to those accused of crimes that include bank robbery, campus shootings, and multiple murders. He is currently on staff at Harvard Medical School.

James Silver, JD, is a former federal prosecutor and current criminal defense attorney who has tried cases and handled appeals on offenses spanning the gamut of illegal behavior, from shoplifting to murder.
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Product Details

  • Series: The Almost Effect Series
  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Hazelden; 1 edition (June 12, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1616491027
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616491024
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (91 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #498,192 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
What a sobering reminder of the huge spectrum of people in this world! You probably already know an "almost psychopath" (unlike full on psychopaths, they are shockingly prevalent in our society). The wrenching clinical examples of these types of people and their interactions with loved ones and co-workers are unforgettable.

On a more practical level, this book also instructs on how to recognize and deal with these types of people that you will (most likely) encounter. I defy you to read this book and not think "My god, he is PERFECTLY describing my step brother/former boss/neighbor etc." Schouten and Silver also give great, accessible introductions to common similar social disorders.

A highly recommended, thoughtful and provoking book.
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Format: Paperback
I read this book immediately after finishing The Psychopath Test. That book left me with lots of questions which this one answered.

I'd venture to say that the majority of people--who are not psychopaths, or even almost psychopaths--have a hard time accepting that there are lots of folks in the world who simply don't think the way normal, empathetic people do. We bend over backwards to rationalize the bad behavior of colleagues, bosses, and family members--especially when they are charming and smart--because we take it as a given that everyone is as interested as we are in finding outcomes that are fair and equitable. We assume that if someone seems to be acting without regard to others it is probably just that they didn't understand the full scope of their actions or perhaps there was some miscommunication. In short: we are naive.

As a result, we can end up exhausting ourselves on approaches to "fixing" the problem that are doomed to failure. This book, through examples and stories, outlines clear and effective strategies for recognizing and dealing with the almost psychopaths in your life.
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Format: Paperback
While fiendish fictional cannibals and rampaging axe murderers are what come to mind when we think of psychopaths, the reality of the phenomena is much broader, far more common, and can hit creepily close to home, as this new book make clear. "Almost psychopaths," whose conning, cruel, and manipulative behavior lands them just short of the truly evil end of the psychopathy spectrum, can be found anywhere. They may be in your workplace, your school, your neighborhood, or even be members of your family. Until you can recognize their patterns and behaviors you'll remain vulnerable.

Backed by science and full of real case studies, this book provides valuable insights to help you recognize and deal with the almost psychopathic among us - ranging from those who cause recurrent problems to major predators. Absolutely worth the read.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Being lied to, cheated, betrayed , fooled is like a robbery: even afterwards you can't believe it really happened....and it gets even worse when you somehow are convinced to leave your psychologic door unlocked a second and even a thrid time. It happens too often, but who wants to admit it?

This book finally offers protective suggestions for those of us who still want to trust ( not a bad trait, aftter all!). Starting with encouragement to forgive yourself when these selfish experts transgress upon you, this concise book is as practical as it is clearly written. Read it and share with your friends.
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This book does offer a mostly good, useful overview of psychopathy, narcissism and other personality disorders. But its shortcomings are significant. The advice it offers to confront someone you suspect may have one of these conditions, however tactfully, is not only naive; it irresponsible because this advice is potentially dangerous. It is true that an incapacity for empathy and a lack of conscience, the most fundamental (and devastating) aspects of these mental illnesses, occur on a continuum. So there are people with narcissistic tendencies who are not completely without conscience. Yet anyone who is so far along the continuum that they could be considered "almost a psychopath" is someone who breeds misery, and very possibly enjoys doing so. Therefore a well-meaning conversation about their damaging conduct by someone who is not a mental health professional and who may even be one of their deliberate targets, at best is likely to exacerbate the problem. Such a conversation could even lead to tragedy, but is highly unlikely to improve the situation. The hallmark of personality disorders is that they typically hurt those who come in contact with the psychopath, narcissist etc., while the person with the condition, by definition, does not believe he or she has a problem. They act the way they do because, as one self-help guru has put it, "it works for them." (At least it seems to work in their favor in the short term, from their limited perspective.) The details of the advice in Almost a Psychopath about reporting the problem within the workplace should also be taken with a grain of salt. This is because, as the book actually admits, such reporting involves compounding, rarely reducing, the risk to yourself (which is one of the things a skillful psychopath is counting on).Read more ›
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