- Hardcover: 288 pages
- Publisher: Scientific American / Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 37779th edition (October 16, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0374291357
- ISBN-13: 978-0374291358
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 8.7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 260 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #258,116 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Wisdom of Psychopaths: What Saints, Spies, and Serial Killers Can Teach Us About Success Hardcover – October 16, 2012
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“A terrifically entertaining and chilling book.” ―William Georgiades, Slate
“The Wisdom of Psychopaths is an engaging and enlightening look at both the positive and negative sides of the personality characteristics that make up the diagnosis of psychopathy.” ―Michael Shermer, The Wall Street Journal
“[A] high-octane charge across the psychopathy continuum.” ―Kaja Perina, Psychology Today
“There's no denying it: we love our psychopaths….[and] in his entertaining new book…Dutton sheds some light on the stunning magnetism of the ethically challenged.” ―The Daily Beast
“It's hard not to like Dutton's book . . . Dutton, like [Norman] Mailer, is waging war against the bien-pensant. And I'm with him. Life would be more fun if more people cultivated their inner psychopath.” ―Ann Marlowe, Tablet
“Dutton deftly navigates through some disturbing subject matter, but his message is ultimately upbeat: Scientists may be able to learn a lot from the darker side of human nature.” ―Allison Bohac, Science News
“A convincing study . . . The admirable quality of this book is Dutton's refusal to accept easy answers in one of the more sensational fields of popular psychology.” ―Tim Adams, The Observer (UK)
“Dutton spins a solid yarn, turning what could easily have been a dry survey of psych research into entertainment.” ―Scott Olster, Fortune (CNN Money)
“The Wisdom of Psychopaths is a surprising, absorbing, and perceptive book. Kevin Dutton has amassed a great deal of knowledge about these charming, cold, fearless, emotionally indifferent people, who are so attractive in some ways and so appalling in others, and set it out in a briskly readable prose studded with gripping anecdotes. I found it altogether fascinating.” ―Philip Pullman, author of the bestselling His Dark Materials trilogy
“Dutton tackles an elusive, important, and much neglected aspect of the mind: our personality. He presents some highly original insights and does so in a provocative and humorous style―offering practical tips along the way for both ‘normals’ and ‘sociopaths.’” ―V. S. Ramachandran, Ph.D., author of the bestselling The Tell-Tale Brain
“Dutton has written a masterful, readable, and entertaining treatise on psychopathy and its manifestations in everyday life. Some of his ideas will generate debate and controversy, but he clearly has provided a thought-provoking book for those seeking to understand the ‘psychopathic' world in which they live.” ―Robert D. Hare, Ph.D., author of Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us and developer of the Hare Psychopathy Checklist
“The irrepressible Kevin Dutton has done it again! This time he has produced an irreverent romp through the bright side and dark side of the mysterious psychopath, and does a great job of mixing the scientific with the personal, offering readers an insider’s glimpse into the workings of fascinating persons―and fascinating personalities. Readers will come away both enlightened and entertained.” ―Scott O. Lilienfeld, Professor of Psychology at Emory University, President of the Society for the Scientific Study of Psychopathy, and coauthor of 50 Great Myths of Popular Psychology
“If you’ve been keeping your inner psychopath locked up in the maximum-security unit of your mind, Kevin Dutton explains why giving him some fresh air from time to time may actually do you―and, more important, the rest of us―a world of good. Just give him this book to read and make sure he’s a literate, functional psychopath.” ―Jesse Bering, author of Why Is the Penis Shaped Like That?
About the Author
Dr. Kevin Dutton is a research psychologist at the Calleva Research Centre for Evolution and Human Science, Magdalen College, University of Oxford. He is a fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine and the Society for the Scientific Study of Psychopathy. Dutton is the author of Split-Second Persuasion. His writing and research have been featured in Scientific American Mind, New Scientist, The Guardian, Psychology Today, and USA Today. He lives in Oxford, England.
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There are interesting references to studies as to the why and how of being a psychopaths.
I would agree that certain psychopathic behaviors are, arguably, more well-suited for our modern society. For example, the average person generally fears rejection by the others; the psychopath does not. The average person might dwell and feel defeated by failures; the psychopath does not. The average person's behaviors made more sense when we lived in small, tight-knit social groups where reputation was everything; when we lived in areas where threat of ambush by a predator was immediate and so mistakes were deadly. But it is arguable the psychopath's behaviors are more suited in the world we live in now: large cities where we pass by countless strangers we will never meet again; where all predators have been eradicated so mistakes are less costly.
However, the author's admiration of many of the psychopathic traits is too palpable and a turn off. The book would have been more enjoyable if only the author wrote in a more clinical fashion.
But I could not stand the breathless, pop-psychology writing style of the author. There were too many rhymes, puns, and silly witticisms. It was distracting. I would have liked this book more if it did not talk down to its audience, assuming that the reader needs all this "entertainment" to keep reading. It should have been written in a more sober and scholarly way, given the serious subject matter.