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The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry (2011)

by Jon Ronson

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,1481423,123 (3.78)120
"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 Ronson how 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, more and more, defined by their maddest edges."--Provided by publisher.… (more)
  1. 10
    Them: Adventures with Extremists by Jon Ronson (Sandydog1)
  2. 21
    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.
  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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» See also 120 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 141 (next | show all)
Surprisingly light and fun despite the topic. The author mentioned more comprehensive books that I'm interested in taking a look at down the line but I enjoyed this one just fine. ( )
  jobinsonlis | May 11, 2021 |
I tried listening to Ronson's The Men Who Stare at Goats and was put off by the British narrator's mispronunciation of many American words. Reading this one was definitely an improvement, and I feel like I connected more with the author's style here. And it's dead on if you've ever tried to comfort yourself by quantifying something "objectively" - you don't have to be trying to spot psychopaths to get caught in the same sort of trap. ( )
  jlweiss | Apr 23, 2021 |
extremely easy to read. ( )
  mjhunt | Jan 22, 2021 |
I'm not sure what I was expecting when I picked this up; a co-worker had mentioned it when we were looking over "Best of 2011" lists, and I saw it in the digital downloads section of my local library's website. It wasn't at all what I thought it would be, and certainly not easy reading for a cross-country flight. ( )
  resoundingjoy | Jan 1, 2021 |
It amuses me the author thinks of himself as a sensitive liberal. Imagine a man stomping on your face (or rather paying someone else to stomp on your face) and crying about how inhumane it is. This is pretty much how the author operates. Very smooth. ( )
  TeaTimeCoder | Dec 23, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 141 (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?”
 

» Add other authors (22 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ronson, Jonprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dorfman, MattCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Dedication
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 Ronson how 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, more and more, defined by their maddest edges."--Provided by publisher.

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