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Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths Go to Work Paperback – May 8, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
Psychopaths are described as incapable of empathy, guilt, or loyalty to anyone but themselves; still, spotting a psychopath isn't easy. Babiak, an industrial and organizational psychologist, and Hare (Without Conscience), creator of the standard tool for diagnosing psychopathology, present a study of the psychopath in the corporate landscape. A common description of psychopathology states that subjects "know the words but not the music;" Babiak and Hare state that "a clever psychopath can present such a well-rounded picture of a perfect job candidate that even seasoned interviewers" can be fooled. In between a disposable series of narrative acts that follow a psychopath's progress ("Act I, Scene I - Grand Entrance;" "Act III, Scene II - An Honest Mistake?" "Act V, Scene I - Circle the wagons"), thorough research and anecdotes from a number of sources-current literature, news media, and showbiz among them-to illuminate the power of the psychopath to manipulate those around him, as well as what strategies can be used to identify and disarm him. Clear and complete, this is a handy overview for managers and HR, with enough "self-defense" techniques to help coworkers from getting bit.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Babiak, an industrial and organizational psychologist, and Hare, the creator of the standard tool for diagnosing psychopathy, explore the infiltration into today's corporations by psychopaths, or those with destructive personality characteristics that are invisible to many with whom they interact. Their skilled manipulation begins with a perfect interview, as they are attractive job applicants who are confident and charming. They often flourish in fast-paced, changing industries with widespread uncertainty and can inflict considerable damage. Babiak and Hare explain in nontechnical language and real-world case studies how to protect employees and the company from these individuals who take advantage of organizational systems and processes, exploit communication weaknesses, and promote interpersonal conflicts. Babiak and Hare observe, "Companies accelerate their hiring practices to attract, hire, and retain new, high-potential talent before their competitors do. Gone are the days of the painstaking vetting process. Competition is fierce and qualified candidates few." This is an important perspective in the increasingly complicated hiring challenges facing corporate America. Mary Whaley
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
Here’s what I did learn:
First: learn all you can about psychopathy [read: buy this book and others!].
Second: once you’ve learned all about how to spot a psychopath, you’re still not ‘qualified’ to label someone as such, so don’t.
Third: avoid the psychopath, perhaps find another job but leave on your terms. To this I say: Good luck! If you are a conscientious and caring employee, you care about what you do. I was raised to speak up when you see wrong doing; this responsibility is mandatory if others are harmed. Running away from situations only perpetuates the problem. I’m looking for actual strategies beyond ‘identify them, but god forbid you actually label them as such, then run.’
Well…I find those lessons unacceptable. If you are a person such as myself who is forced to work with a psychopath [yes…I’m ‘daring’ to call a spade a spade], then you already know all too well the tell tale signs of one. In fact, if you are moderately intelligent and literate, you could probably write a book or screenplay on psychopathy yourself. Well over 95% of the book provides tips on recognizing characteristics of psychopathy and how our current business culture allows them to thrive [get hired, get promoted, and generally wreak havoc]. I would again argue most readers attracted to this book already know this. Ok…so what does society do to mitigate this then?
The book is great if someone knows little to nothing about psychopathy. I would like to state again, however, that the reader attracted to the title and background of the authors is looking for real world solutions beyond ‘run.’ This book was a big disappointment for me and left me feeling rather discouraged. I have found some websites with more useful, practical strategies in dealing with psychopaths in the workplace such as simply asking the psychopath to repeat him or herself. It throws them off their ‘game’ / disrupts their rhythm of web weaving—simple, but effective. How much good it does in the end, however, I don’t know. That’s why I turned to world-renowned psychologists and psychiatrists who have studied this personality disorder for decades: for tried and true strategies that have been scientifically studied to stem the progression of psychopathic damage on others [beyond simply stating the obvious of ‘don’t hire a psychopath in the first place.’].
To me, it seems that our modern day corporate America is colder and more full of it than ever before! And for the record, they were not that nice years ago...! We as workers need to be aware of this and cover ourselves and fellow workers against such individuals and institutions that promote or allow said negative behavior - people.
BOSSES AND MANAGERS NEED TO READ THIS BOOK AS WELL AND CHECK THEMSELVES AND THE MANAGEMENT AROUND THEM AS WELL!!!