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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) Paperback – May 22, 2012
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"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
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.
- Item Weight : 12.8 ounces
- Paperback : 280 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1616491027
- ISBN-13 : 978-1616491024
- Dimensions : 5.4 x 0.7 x 8.4 inches
- Publisher : Hazelden Publishing; 1st edition (May 22, 2012)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #406,031 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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I have both personal and professional experience with the subject/pathology and when I look back on all the hours (adding up to days or weeks) conversations I had with friends trying to "diagnose" and analyze a person's behavior I become incredibly sad. It is crucial that one fully understands at least one basic fact about psychopaths (and even "normal" people): It is never your job to figure out why a person does what they do or behaves in a certain way. It all comes down to how YOU feel. Learn to identify who these people are so you can steer clear of them. Learn for yourself, even if you're already in a relationship with a person exhibiting this behavior. You are not "stupid" or "weak" for "falling for it," but only you are responsible for spotting it, saying no and standing your ground and getting away from them. They will always win and it will always be at your expense. It's a must read for men and women, especially those with compassion and a big heart. We are the ones they like best because we *want* to believe.
Fantastic reading for anyone, and you'll be doing yourself or someone you care about a favor bigger than you may ever fully realize.
Furthermore, they claim that an “almost” psychopath can change while a true psychopath is incapable of changing and immune to treatments. Again, this would lead to the conclusion that an “almost” psychopath is not at all a psychopath - merely an individual who conforms less to certain social norms and societal expectations.
Didn’t gain anything from this book. Wouldn’t recommend it, unless you’re trying to learn about clinical diagnostic criteria for psychopathy and what they are not.
Top reviews from other countries
Substantial significance is given to the statistical analysis of questionnaires in determining psychological states and mental stability. This approach relies on the belief that the questionnaires (and the creators and interpretors of the questionnaires) encapsulate infallible understanding, skill and wisdom and that the respondents have perfect self-awareness and accurately record their responses (and/or are not playing the system).
In the case studies provided, there is no analysis of the influences of significant others on an individual's development. In the case of Sammy, he and his "problematic" behaviour are viewed in isolation. There is implied criticism of the teenager's attempt at self-assertion: "Sammy - Sam, as he insisted they start calling him - began having more troubles with his studies and the paediatrician reluctantly suggested that Sam try a stimulant medication to address his ADHD."
There are several instances where medication is suggested even thought the authors say they don't promote it. In the case study of Sam, the authors later note: "medication might have been appropriate for the child early on." ADHD, a condition voted into existence by a board of psychiatrists is often 'treated' by psychiatrists in the USA with medication - a 'treatment' for which they commonly receive a drug company commission.
The detrimental effects of chemicals on the brain (the examples in the book being flea powder and lead) are mentioned in relation to how they adversely alter behaviour, however no consideration is given to the effects of the modern American diet, which, for the majority, is industrially produced, toxin laden and nutrient deficient and is also known to have a detrimental effect on the human body, including the brain and mental health.
The authors of 'Almost a Psychopath' claim to dislike labels, but the judgemental title of the book would seem to be the ultimate in labelling, since anyone has the potential to be 'almost' anything. I'm 'almost' glad I bought this book: it recommends 'Difficult Conversations. How to discuss what matters most' by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton and Sheila Heen, which (in contrast to 'Almost a Psychopath') is worth buying.
'Almost a Psychopath' might satisfy some readers looking for a quick-fix justification for negatively pointing the finger at others, but that is not really helpful to anyone and there are many other alternative books available written with much greater depth, insight and understanding of the human psyche.
With plenty of case studies, Schouten and Silver provide fascinating insights into the frightening world of the psychopath and compelling evidence for the existence of a far more populous netherworld of "Almost Psychopaths".
I guarantee that anyone who reads this will recognise acquaintances and colleagues (especially former bosses;) who fit the descriptions to a tee!
However for me personally having read a lot on this subject I feel the book just puts together a lot of other research. However this is great if you haven't read lots of books on the subject and I do recommend giving it a read. Very easy to read style and easy to understand for non academics.