HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Wisdom of Psychopaths: What Saints,…
Loading...

The Wisdom of Psychopaths: What Saints, Spies, and Serial Killers Can…

by Kevin Dutton

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
164972,634 (3.65)8
Recently added byTAir, Em_Mac, private library, PJNeal, thenerdypuffer, marielreads, dustinchristian, RGazala, adroit762
None

None.

Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 8 mentions

English (8)  Dutch (1)  All languages (9)
Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
Ken Dutton’s “The Wisdom of Psychopaths” has a lot going for it, and just about as much going the other way. Touching first on the latter, be warned that anyone traumatized by a psychopath will find this book a tough read for that reason alone, as Dutton avoids as much as he can overtly (much less negatively) judging the psychopaths who populate his book. Accordingly, if you’re looking for a book defining psychopaths as only vile, this isn’t the read for you. Further, Dutton’s writing style can grate. What he and his editors seemingly consider wry or clever often clunks rather badly, particularly when he stumbles (many times) transitioning from fairly dry academic data to an attempted lighter touch in interpreting that data for his lay readers.

None of the foregoing detracts from the book’s fascinating glimpses inside the cold machine that is a psychopath’s mind. Via the afore-mentioned data analysis as well as personal interviews in a variety of places where psychopaths hide in plain sight, Dutton considers the (d)evolution of the psychopath from prehistory to present-day. The interviews are the most enlightening of the book’s features. The problem with the interviews, of course, is it’s unknowable whether the inscrutable subjects of Dutton’s scrutiny are telling truth or spinning lie; but then again that’s part of the matter’s intrigue, and the purported "wisdom" referenced in the title.

Everyone knows at least one psychopath. If you think you don’t, that’s only because the psychopath you know lurks behind an appealing façade of charm, stalking the opportune moment to reveal his true, dark colors at the time and place of his choosing. Dutton’s book provides valuable clues to watch out for should the psychopath near you start to lift his mask. After all, you cannot fight what you cannot see. ( )
  RGazala | May 21, 2014 |
I have a great interest in neuroscience, specifically the psychology of the brain and the title of this book grabbed me from the beginning. First, though, this book is not about serial killers. Yes, there are a few mentioned throughout and the book ends with a small section on them but this book is about people who are not criminals. People who possess the same qualities as psychopaths and thus, can be labelled psychopaths, but are functional within society. It then goes on to discuss how these people operate in society and the professions they succeed at. While the book does mention serial killers, and saints and spies, (as in the title) it mostly concentrates on the business, government and medical fields; talking to and taking case examples from CEOs, stock market traders, MI5 agents, lawyers and surgeons. Dutton's writing style flows nicely and the book is not difficult to read but I would not call it an easy read as it is clinical in presentation and deals with statistics and test results. It is a book for the lay person but one who knows something about the topic to begin with. I found the information very interesting and would say it has broadened my knowledge of the subject. There is some discussion of cognitive behavioural therapy that I found enlightening and answered my questions on why a couple of my therapists/psychiatrists gave up in frustration trying to use it on me. LOL I've always been able to tell they're going that route and tell them no to bother using CBT on me. Btw, I'm not psychotic in any shape or form! A good read that I'll be keeping in my collection. ( )
  ElizaJane | May 17, 2014 |
bookshelves: published-2012, sciences, winter-20132014, fraudio, nonfiction, tbr-busting-2014, psychology, philosophy, cambridgeshire, casual-violence, doo-lally
Read from January 05 to February 02, 2014

Runs 8hrs 19mins

From the description: In this engrossing journey into the lives of psychopaths and their infamously crafty behaviors, the renowned psychologist Kevin Dutton reveals that there is a scale of “madness” along which we all sit. Incorporating the latest advances in brain scanning and neuroscience, Dutton demonstrates that the brilliant neurosurgeon who lacks empathy has more in common with a Ted Bundy who kills for pleasure than we may wish to admit, and that a mugger in a dimly lit parking lot may well, in fact, have the same nerveless poise as a titan of industry.

Dutton argues that there are indeed “functional psychopaths” among us—different from their murderous counterparts—who use their detached, unflinching, and charismatic personalities to succeed in mainstream society, and that shockingly, in some fields, the more “psychopathic” people are, the more likely they are to succeed. Dutton deconstructs this often misunderstood diagnosis through bold on-the-ground reporting and original scientific research as he mingles with the criminally insane in a high-security ward, shares a drink with one of the world’s most successful con artists, and undergoes transcranial magnetic stimulation to discover firsthand exactly how it feels to see through the eyes of a psychopath.

As Dutton develops his theory that we all possess psychopathic tendencies, he puts forward the argument that society as a whole is more psychopathic than ever: after all, psychopaths tend to be fearless, confident, charming, ruthless, and focused—qualities that are tailor-made for success in the twenty-first century. Provocative at every turn, The Wisdom of Psychopaths is a riveting adventure that reveals that it’s our much-maligned dark side that often conceals the trump cards of success.

KEVIN DUTTON is a research psychologist at the University of Cambridge. His writing and research have been featured in Scientific American Mind, New Scientist, The Guardian, Psychology Today, USA Today, and more. He lives in Cambridge, England.

"A little psychopathy is like personality with a tan"

John Wayne Gacy. Nothing abnormal found in his brain BUT a dead brain is very different to a live one.

The Museum of Serial Killers, Florence, Italy

Ted Bundy

Robert Maudsley

When asked how they singled out victims, the answer made by a significantly high number of killers was that they could tell by the walk, or other subtle body language who was 'bad'. Dutton then took some students to the airport to study people coming through luggage/body check.

The reverse side of that coin was when asked by ordinary people which, in a line up, was a killer they said things like 'my skin crawled'.

Intuition, then, and there are two types of empathy.

Robert D. Hare received his Ph.D. in experimental psychology at University of Western Ontario (1963). He is professor emeritus of the University of British Columbia where his studies center on psychopathology and psychophysiology.

"A personality disorder is not just for Christmas, although, admittedly, it does bring out the best in them."

So we are not talking about tantrums or people who generally piss you off here.

Phil Spectre before the 'incident': "Better to have a gun and not need it, than to need it and not have it."

Gary Mark Gilmore

St Paul - manipulator!

Most of the Wham Bam Bang is front-loaded, however there are some magnificent show-stoppers throughout, the St Paul was quite the justification to my personal viewpoint, YAY. Overall, my ears were as if the eyes of the bunny in the headlights in this short (but long for an essay: 8hr 19 mins) work.

3.5* upped.

Crossposted:
Wordpress
Booklikes
LeafMark
Librarything
aNobii ( )
  mimal | Feb 1, 2014 |
I enjoyed this book very much. After reading it, I am convinced that close to 25% of my friends are psychopaths. ;) None of my friends on Goodreads, of course.
Soooo...thank goodness all of my friends on Goodreads are "saints". It helps bring balance to my life. ;)

I like that this book contains scenarios & questions for you to present to someone you might think is a sociopath. I definitely picked up a question or two to ask potential boyfriends.

Asking how they would react to the 2 different train scenarios described in this book are now my go to questions.
Their response to the second scenario is not only showing you who they are, it's them telling you who they are. As Maya Angelou says, "The first time someone shows you who they are...believe them."

This book contains the most comprehensive list of characteristics/traits of sociopaths I've ever read including the following:

They lack of empathy, guilt & remorse. They're glib, pathological, manipulative, charming, & nomadic.

They feed off of a person's hope that next time things will be different or that they will do the right thing in the future. They use your hope to manipulate you into giving them second, third, fourth, fifth chances.
They seek out "rescuers" & overly loyal people.

They often abuse drugs and/or alcohol.

They constantly lie & exaggerate.

They cheat in relationships, in fact that's often how they find their next mark when they begin to sense they are losing control over you.

They make lots of promises but rarely is there positive action towards keeping the promise. Promises are just cons to get what they want at that moment and they don't care if they let you down later.

They're not good at holding a job, often seeking out public assistance or conning someone for money and/or shelter.
They have no direction & no personal initiative to make positive changes in their life.

If caught in a lie, they will try to manipulate out of it first, and then blame others.
It is always someone else's fault. No matter what it is, how clearly it is the predator's fault, they cannot take the blame; unless it is part of the manipulation that goes: admit/apologize/pity play/forgiven/make up.

They seem driven by convenience, access to sex, and financial interest, or using partner or kids as tools to manipulate others.

There are frequent cycles of chaos, calm, chaos, calm, in relationships.

They manipulate and pit people against each other by creating chaos and pointing fingers at those who bring up the problem. Their goal is to get everyone so confused and upset no one can even remember the predator is the root of the problem.

This book points out a few scenarios in which it's good to have sociopaths around.
For example,life or death situations that require quick decisions be made without emotions that would impact the decisions.
One example is surgeons having to make life saving decisions during surgeries. It's easier to make the decision quicker if the surgeon is not emotionally affected by knowing the patient will die if the wrong decision is made.

This book & other books I've read on the subject all agree that sociopaths can not be cured.
Like my daddy always says "You can't fix broken people, you're just gonna cut yourself on their shattered pieces." ( )
  PiperUp | Jan 28, 2014 |
I've long been intrigued by the human mind and what shapes our personalities and decision-making and, as such, found this a compelling read. Kevin Dutton's research approach is far from the typical morbid fascination in the violent crimes of psychopaths. Instead, we look at what makes the psychopathic mind different from the average person's, and how some of those differences make them quite successful in certain careers.

Dutton's writing style is easy to fall into. While I wouldn't call this light reading (I can't imagine anything on this topic that would be), it doesn't read like a text book. The research is well explained without being overly detailed.

Dutton stresses that not all psychopaths are evil or murderers. We spend a lot of time looking at "functional" psychopaths who are nonviolent and quite successful. My one problem here is that, while we're treated to all the reasons they can be beneficial to society, Dutton doesn't examine the disastrous effects these "functional" psychopaths can have on families or even work environments.

This book brings up the entire concept of free will, which is perhaps a side effect of the exploration. While only touched on lightly here, after reading this it's impossible not to question how many of our decisions are truly free will, and how many are simply a product of our genetic makeup. ( )
  Darcia | Sep 6, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
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. But what [Cambridge University research psychologist] Mr. Dutton really brings to the table is a self-reflective look at what it means to be fully human, with both good and evil capacities.
added by sgump | editWall Street Journal, Michael Shermer (Nov 7, 2012)
 
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
First words
Quotations
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English

None

Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0374291357, Hardcover)

In this engrossing journey into the lives of psychopaths and their infamously crafty behaviors, the renowned psychologist Kevin Dutton reveals that there is a scale of “madness” along which we all sit. Incorporating the latest advances in brain scanning and neuroscience, Dutton demonstrates that the brilliant neurosurgeon who lacks empathy has more in common with a Ted Bundy who kills for pleasure than we may wish to admit, and that a mugger in a dimly lit parking lot may well, in fact, have the same nerveless poise as a titan of industry.

Dutton argues that there are indeed “functional psychopaths” among us—different from their murderous counterparts—who use their detached, unflinching, and charismatic personalities to succeed in mainstream society, and that shockingly, in some fields, the more “psychopathic” people are, the more likely they are to succeed. Dutton deconstructs this often misunderstood diagnosis through bold on-the-ground reporting and original scientific research as he mingles with the criminally insane in a high-security ward, shares a drink with one of the world’s most successful con artists, and undergoes transcranial magnetic stimulation to discover firsthand exactly how it feels to see through the eyes of a psychopath.

As Dutton develops his theory that we all possess psychopathic tendencies, he puts forward the argument that society as a whole is more psychopathic than ever: after all, psychopaths tend to be fearless, confident, charming, ruthless, and focused—qualities that are tailor-made for success in the twenty-first century. Provocative at every turn, The Wisdom of Psychopaths is a riveting adventure that reveals that it’s our much-maligned dark side that often conceals the trump cards of success.  

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:57:56 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

An analysis of what can be learned from psychopaths incorporates advances in brain scanning and neuroscience to illustrate the scale of mental health that impacts everyone, the role of functional psychopathic behaviors in success, and the misunderstandings that impact treatments.… (more)

» see all 2 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
43 wanted4 pay

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (3.65)
0.5
1
1.5
2 3
2.5 1
3 7
3.5 6
4 15
4.5 1
5 4

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 92,122,928 books! | Top bar: Always visible