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The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson
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The Psychopath Test (edition 2012)

by Jon Ronson

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Title:The Psychopath Test
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The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry by Jon Ronson

  1. 20
    The Sociopath Next Door by Martha Stout (Anonymous user)
    Anonymous user: This book also deals with recognizing and dealing with people who lack the ability to empathize with others and who see emotions as a weakness to be exploited. The tone is more scholarly and clinical.
  2. 00
    Them: Adventures with Extremists by Jon Ronson (Sandydog1)
  3. 01
    A Wolf at the Table: A Memoir of My Father by Augusten Burroughs (WildMaggie)
    WildMaggie: The personal experience of living with one versus the science of finding one.
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WHAT IS IT ABOUT?

In his book “The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry,” a bestselling journalist Jon Ronson, propelled by a mysterious hoax played on the world’s leading scientists, dives into the world of madness to explore just how mad we really are. During his two-year journey, Ronson not only interviews a bunch of madmen as well as several influential psychologists, psychiatrists and anti-psychiatric Scientologists but also practices his newly gained skill of using Hare Psychopathy Checklist to spot psychopaths. Unexpectedly and quite disturbingly, the author discovers the society’s drive for the ‘right amount’ of insanity, and often detrimental tendency to define individuals by their maddest edges.

THUMBS UP:

1) Intriguing introduction.
The first chapter of “The Psychopath Test” is THE BEST (mysterious, suspenseful and utterly captivating) introductory chapter I have ever read in a non-fiction book. The opening story is so bizarre it can be easily turned into a book itself.

2) Well researched, skillfully written.
Ronson’s style is quite humorous and engaging, making his non-fiction very readable and not in the least dry. Also, the author put quite some time and effort into researching and interviewing, which allowed him to explore the madness industry from multiple perspectives, which in turn enables the readers to form their own opinions on the matter.

COULD BE BETTER:

1) Not what I expected.
I guess it’s not really the author’s fault, but I was expecting this book to be more about psychopaths and less about everything else. Instead, at least half of the book has little to do with psychopathy as the author probes multiple issues related to general insanity. It works this way as well, but I was hoping for an in-depth exploration of the psychopath’s mind and thus was a tiny bit disappointed.

2) Fragmented and seemingly directionless.
While I was reading “The Psychopath Test,” I felt rather confused as if the story has been patched together from several seemingly unrelated parts: at first the book seemed like a really engaging mystery, then it became psychopath-oriented, but soon enough the chapters became quite independent, loosely connected by the general madness theme. Honestly, up until the final chapters I wasn’t sure where the story was going. Although at the very end the author’s intentions became more or less clear, Ronson could have done a better job guiding the reader throughout the whole book.

VERDICT:

Although “The Psychopath Test” might seem a little fragmented and directionless, it is nonetheless a very entertaining non-fiction that carries an important message. ( )
1 vote AgneJakubauskaite | Oct 19, 2014 |
This book was completely chilling! I've recommended this one to so many readers - teens and adults alike - and have gotten fun responses back from all.

Ronson explores the dark, brutal, and often violent world/history of treating psychopaths, and you're compelled to go along, whether you want to or not.

Read this one with my teen library book club, along with a class of students from a local high school, and we had a great discussion about empathy, madness, and psychopathy.

Recommended for those with strong stomachs. ( )
  kayceel | Oct 16, 2014 |
A thoughtful journalistic exploration of psychopathy and madness, how they are quantified, and what that means for everyone. ( )
  nrobocop | Oct 6, 2014 |
Some really interesting stuff but it wasn't what I was expecting, which was a book with facts about psychopaths, and that turned me off slightly. After a bit into the book that went away and I started to enjoy the book for what it was, a story of a guy getting a first glance into the world of psychology while searching for psychopaths. The book will make you think and doubt and believe, that alone is worth it. ( )
  yougotamber | Aug 22, 2014 |
This is a fascinating read. It discusses the madness industry by concentrating on several individuals and following them through their journeys in crime, drugs, hospitalization and genius. The story veers between horrifying and grippingly voyeuristic. It would be difficult to call this an enjoyable book but it is certainly worth the effort. ( )
  rosiezbanks | Jul 1, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 83 (next | show all)
Mr. Ronson’s latest book has less ballast. Though he retains his own paranormal ability to locate and befriend wing nuts of every stripe, he has to try a little harder than usual to get “The Psychopath Test” going. Chalk up some of that forced quality to the fact that Mr. Ronson’s BBC Radio 4 program, “Jon Ronson on ...,” is considered comedy. Throw in the fact that most psychopaths aren’t really all that funny. Still, his winning style pervades most of “The Psychopath Test,” as when Mr. Ronson wonders whether he will have psychopaths for readers. According to the second characteristic on the 20-item Hare Psychopathy Checklist (from which this book takes its title), some of them will. “Grandiose sense of self-worth” is one of their notable traits. “What should my message to them be?” he asks one Harvard Medical School psychologist. “Turn yourselves in?”
 
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For Anita Bhoomkar (1996-2009),
a lover of life and all its madness
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This is a story about madness.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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"In this madcap journey, a bestselling journalist investigates psychopaths and the industry of doctors, scientists, and everyone else who studies them. The Psychopath Test is a fascinating journey through the minds of madness. Jon Ronson's exploration of a potential hoax being played on the world's top neurologists takes him, unexpectedly, into the heart of the madness industry. An influential psychologist who is convinced that many important CEOs and politicians are, in fact, psychopaths teaches Ronsonhow to spot these high-flying individuals by looking out for little telltale verbal and nonverbal clues. And so Ronson, armed with his new psychopath-spotting abilities, enters the corridors of power. He spends time with a death-squad leader institutionalized for mortgage fraud in Coxsackie, New York; a legendary CEO whose psychopathy has been speculated about in the press; and a patient in an asylum for the criminally insane who insists he's sane and certainly not a psychopath. Ronson not only solves the mystery of the hoax but also discovers, disturbingly, that sometimes the personalities at the helm of the madness industry are, with their drives and obsessions, as mad in their own way as those they study. And that relatively ordinary people are, moreand more, defined by their maddest edges"-- "In this madcap journey, a bestselling journalist investigates psychopaths and the industry of doctors, scientists, and journalists who study them"--… (more)

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