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

by Kevin Dutton

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Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
Strange how one reading one little 220-page book about psychology and the human brain can make all the other philosophy books and great novels in my library seem redundant. This is a fantastic book, entertaining, useful, thought provoking and thought revoking. ( )
  byebyelibrary | Sep 5, 2014 |
Page turner (although I admit I listened to the audio version!) and chokeful of interesting tidbits and examples not just about the exceptionally psychopathic but about all humanity along the spectrum (and not). If you are not at all psychopathic (raises hand) then you will definitely be surprised by the processes going on in the minds of people whose very neurology, not just actions and choices, are so profoundly different and, ultimately, outside your realm of experience (Unless, like the author, you get to try out being a psychopath for an hour!).

Collected all the quotes, as usual. (http://readingz.livejournal.com/346360.html) ( )
  Evalangui | Aug 22, 2014 |
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:
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  mimal | Feb 1, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 10 (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)
 
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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

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