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The Wisdom of Psychopaths by Kevin Dutton
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The Wisdom of Psychopaths (edition 2012)

by Kevin Dutton

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Title:The Wisdom of Psychopaths
Authors:Kevin Dutton
Info:William Heinemann Ltd (2012), Paperback
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
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The Wisdom of Psychopaths: What Saints, Spies, and Serial Killers Can Teach Us About Success by Kevin Dutton

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English (6)  Dutch (1)  All languages (7)
Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
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.

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  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 |
This book increased my awareness. ( )
  kitap7 | Sep 3, 2013 |
Totally different take on psychopathy: essentially that a little bit can be highly adaptive (and something we can all learn from), and that the people we think of when we think of 'psychopaths' just have way too much of a good thing. Kinda scary to think of the emotional skills that I learned in my 20's (ways to reduce anxiety and gain some confidence) are essentially psychopathic, though. Occasionally, though, the writing feels like he's reaching for a 'hipper' tone, which doesn't quite work. ( )
  Heduanna | Mar 31, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 6 (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)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 2 descriptions

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