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on May 11, 2014
I heard the author of this book, Jim Fallon, on Fresh Air talking about this book. He is a neuroscientist who discovered that his own brain scans are very much like the scans of the psychopaths that he studies. He is forced to recognize that not only is he himself a psychopath; he's also bipolar. He is well into his sixties when he realizes this, although friends and family have been trying to tell him for years that there's a problem.

Fallon admits that he's a narcissist and a psychopath, and he goes into some detail about the havoc this has wrought in the lives of his children and wife especially. He is apparently a deceitful womanizer, a sometimes drunk, a cold revenge-seeker, and a party animal extraordinaire. His candor about these character problems is admirable and chilling at the same time. In the end, unable to avoid the truth about himself, though, he just says, "I don't care." This is one of the most disturbing and revealing parts of the book.

The odd thing, though, is that he ends the book by claiming that psychopaths are on the whole good for society (if bad for the individuals around them) because they make life more fun, or something. This is the least convincing part of the book. He has just shown us how he callously tricks his family and colleagues, to the point that some of them refuse to associate with him any more. Then he claims it's all for the greater good! And he doesn't seem to see that this attitude is in itself psychopathic.

The most important point that he makes, for those of us who are parents, is that he would have been a much worse psychopath--possibly a criminal--if his parents hadn't raised him so well. In other words, he went from believing that genes are destiny to believing that the environment, one's upbringing, is the real determinant of whether or not a person with the "warrior gene" and the psychopathic brain scan will go on to be a serial killer or just a party animal scientist like himself.

I'm sure he's correct that childhood experiences, especially in the first few years when the brain is growing rapidly, are extremely important in shaping personality and character. But I think he underestimates the damage he's done to the people around him, or perhaps, as he says, he just doesn't care. I think Mr Fallon is not quite as benign as he sees himself, despite his professional success and lack of a criminal record. He was very lucky not only to have good parents, but to have married an extremely patient and loyal woman. I wonder what her book about him would be like.
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on June 2, 2017
Discovering psychopath in a journey of self-discovery makes for an interesting perspective on this topic. The book is a little dry at times.
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on June 15, 2017
Very interesting and informative view from a Neuroscientist with a psychopathic brain, but had no clue.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon November 8, 2014
Very insightful and intriguing. It's a definite read for those going into any kind of psychology field or if you just need to gather more information to determine if someone you know is on this journey and possibly how to help. It's well written and full of great information.
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on March 29, 2016
I really enjoyed this book. There is a lot of information to get through but there is much more to it than just psychopathy. The honesty Mr Fallon writes with is refreshing. It would have been easy to soft pedal some s***ty traits but it was decidedly more interesting this way.
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on August 31, 2017
Fascinating book. Good shape .
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on June 13, 2017
Insightful read. An interesting look into the thought process of a psychopath. I love him and hate him just as i do with all the psychopaths i tend to date. A glimpse of how they thought but didnt necessarily have the awareness to convey. Thank you.
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on October 1, 2017
Very good read, if not a bit wordy. Definitely a psychopath. Good clinical explanations. Hope it helps others who are living with, or have a relationship with a psychopath.
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on November 3, 2014
GREAT BOOK This guy is a psycho and it shows in his book even though he keep saying it doesn't.
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on May 18, 2014
Unfortunately, I have encountered many pro social psychopaths in my life, and I seem to have developed a spidey sense about them. Some have been more destructive than others, and this book illuminates why in all respects. It also explains why many of them have not turned out to be Dexter and why they are likable (at times) and even enjoyable.
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