- File Size: 1919 KB
- Print Length: 288 pages
- Publisher: Scientific American / Farrar, Straus and Giroux; Reprint edition (October 16, 2012)
- Publication Date: October 16, 2012
- Sold by: Macmillan
- Language: English
- ASIN: B007NKN9U8
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Not Enabled
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#177,809 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
- #229 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Health, Fitness & Dieting > Counseling & Psychology > Personality
- #261 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Nonfiction > Politics & Social Sciences > Social Sciences > Popular Culture
- #413 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Health, Fitness & Dieting > Counseling & Psychology > Pathologies > General
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The Wisdom of Psychopaths: What Saints, Spies, and Serial Killers Can Teach Us About Success Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
Dutton takes the term psychopath and completely undermines any point to it as a diagnostic term. Once he's placed it on a 'spectrum' it enables him to talk about 'turning up and down' the dials, even turning them up on some traits associated with the psychopath (fearlessness, ruthlessness) while not on others. What if, says Dutton, we could take those traits and apply them to particular situations, like defusing a bomb, or performing difficult surgery? But this isn't the issue of psychopathy. The problem with psychopathy is precisely that it is a general callous disregard for other individuals as worthy of any consideration other than that which will serve their self interested needs. It's not something they 'turn on and turn off' as situations require. And he never makes the case that it is.
Dutton focuses on the functional psychopath to make his argument that they're not all damaging to society, but that they often perform much needed tasks. What he doesn't do is talk to the families of these so called 'functional' psychopaths. He doesn't look at the psychological havoc often spread, which while not illegal, and not landing them in jail, often has enormous ramifications for those individuals that are forced to deal with them on a day to day basis.
His treatment of the term empathy is curious to say the least, and again he stretches it to a point where it largely becomes meaningless. Far from lacking empathy, says Dutton, psychopaths have too MUCH empathy. His proof? Well look at the obvious pleasure a serial killer psychopath takes in the distress of his victim.Read more ›
"The Wisdom of Psychopaths," an exploration of serial killers, monks, spies and CEOs through the prism of personality tests and neuroscience, is a good book lurking within a bad one. In this regard it perfectly reflects its theme, which is that among the dark traits which make a person psychopathic nestle behaviors and abilities that are not only necessary, but good, for individuals and society. In the seeds of evil, he proposes, wisdom may be found.
An Oxford University research psychologist, Dutton may discomfit many readers with an almost adolescent joy in mixed metaphors and grating puns, relishing the shock value of his premise as he liberally applies the term "psychopath" to all kinds of people. It may sound like he is suggesting sadistic ax-murderers or serial rapists lurk within all men, but his point is rather more subtle. Perhaps this approach is a deliberate attempt to open the reader's mind to new ideas. Or perhaps he needs a more restrained editor.
Still, a razor-sharp intellect with a serious academic purpose lurks behind the loose phrasing and wordiness. Dutton stacks up references to interlocking personality studies, brain scans and physiological examinations, comparing members of the general population with those behind bars and those who excel at certain sharp-end professions. His argument is that most "psychopaths" aren't violent, and indeed most aren't locked away.Read more ›
I was left with as many questions as answers. While Mr. Dutton addressed professions, he didn't touch age. I'd be willing to bet that children score high on psychopath tests, because children aren't born with empathy but learn it. So while Dutton is asking questions, he's cherry-picking his questions and demographics. He's addressing certain demographics that he wants us to pay attention to in order to make his point.
Another question I had concerned intelligence - do psychopaths test high, low or conform to the same kind of bell curve non-psychopaths do? And, on the subject of intelligence: He mentions a number of self-confessed psychopaths, so apparently psychopaths do know they're psychopaths. Then he mentions psychopath tests that seem to me to be idiotically simple to see through.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book is well written. It has plenty of information that will help you to better understand people.Published 3 days ago by Amazon Customer
I am hooked on this book, haven't finished it but I am a psychology major myself and it's very informative. Read morePublished 8 days ago by jacqueline
A brilliant trip thru the world of Psychopaths, who in reality are not Hannibal Lecter in silence of the lambs. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Pedro Cuevas Estandia
What I liked...the three or four interesting points I sifted out of this mess of a book, and the poem at the end. What I didn't like...rambling babbling mindless writing. Read morePublished 5 months ago
I liked it well enough, and found the concepts interesting enough, that I ended up wishing there had been more detail and substance. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Chesneys
Interesting journey into the topic of psychopaths. Dutton describes the concept and how it has been studied. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Jim Defronzo - Revolutions and Revolutionary Movements; The Iraq War
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