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Confessions of a Sociopath: A Life Spent Hiding In Plain Sight Paperback – 23 May 2013


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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Sidgwick & Jackson; Main Market Ed. edition (23 May 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0283071893
  • ISBN-13: 978-0283071898
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 2.3 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 290,394 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

Praise for "Confessions of a Sociopath""[A] gripping and important book...revelatory...quite the memorable roller coaster ride."--"New York Times Book Review ""[F]ascinating...part memoir, part psychological treatise, and entirely not to be trusted."--"Boston Globe""The goal of "Confessions" is to redefine sociopathy--or at least to shake off the stigma associated with it. And Thomas accomplishes both. Through her honest portrayal of herself as a highly capable yet deeply flawed individual, she demystifies her disorder."--"Scientific American""[F]ascinating stuff, and Thomas delivers...riveting...chilling....Her incisive observations about human nature can be breathtakingly pointed."--"Cleveland Plain Dealer""An essential, unprecedented memoir...intelligent, measured...[H]er arguments against using the diagnosis as an indicator of evil or a pre-emptive reason to imprison are a slam-dunk. This is a critical addition to narratives of mental illness, deepened by the awareness that we're reading someone whose most intense motivation is 'acquisition, retention, and exploitation of power'."--"Publishers Weekly", starred review"Fascinating and compelling as well as chilling, Thomas' memoir offers a window into the mind of a portion of the population that usually remains shrouded in mystery and fear."--"Booklist", starred review"[Thomas] invites us into her courtroom, classroom and bedroom to witness how her behavior has stunted her work life and made her love life difficult....Much here is chilling, but there are also cracks that make you ache for her....A work of advocacy for greater awareness of sociopathy's reach and conduct."--"Kirkus Reviews"

From the Back Cover

'I like people. I like to touch them, to mould them and to ruin them'

M. E. Thomas is a high-functioning, non-criminal sociopath. She is charismatic and successful. You would be charmed by her if you met her, might even be seduced by her. You would not realize that she is studying you to find your flaws, is ruthlessly manipulative and does not feel guilt or remorse. And since it is claimed that one in twenty-five of us are sociopaths, she could be your friend or your boss. She could be you.

Now she writes with breathtaking honesty about a life spent trying to blend in with 'normal' society while quietly inserting herself into people's minds to wreak as much havoc as she can. She draws on the latest research to explain what makes a sociopath and argues that their skill set - logical, decisive, risk-taking - means they have a lot to offer us, making excellent business leaders, politicians, surgeons, and lawyers like her. Captivating, shocking and funny, Confessions of a Sociopath is a gripping insight into the mind of a self-confessed predator.

'Fascinating . . . part memoir, part psychological treatise, and entirely not to be trusted' Boston Globe

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By AnnMccoy on 26 Nov. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
A bit too long winded, but nevertheless very interesting, a valued lesson on a type of personality some may be compelled to try and change for the greater good, and why not to bother. A great insight on how to manage such a personality if they cannot be avoided for so offen they cannot be removed from any contact, as so many of us know at least one sociopath.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Tay on 13 Jan. 2015
Format: Paperback
Like marmite, the memoirs of M. E. Thomas stand amongst a horde of mixed reviews, with some hailing the writing as “try-hard” or “overly asserting her negative characteristics”, whilst others say they read the book in order to understand and find compassion for sociopaths but failed to be able to do so. All of which reeks of having not quite comprehended what a sociopath is.
However, within the three vague sections of the book [the individual, the family and the career], the reader will find Thomas to be everything that the tin describes: she is a sociopath [read: malignant narcissist, non-relatable character, unreliable narrator and manipulative high-achiever], which means that if you are seeking to become better acquainted with a person displaying sociopathic tendencies then you have picked up the right book. Nevertheless, it is a book to be read with a sceptical mind; taking into consideration the characteristics of a sociopath, the read should be treated with an awareness of the manipulation that sociopaths are so renowned for.
Thomas, all things considered, is rather off-putting as a writer, for more than her tales of cold-hearted self-absorbance. Lacking in empathy herself, the writing comes across as dry, plot-less and somewhat similar to that of a textbook, which I found thrilling as it only supported her assumed identity and gave weight to her words. However, it is not for everyone and it is certainly not a book for those without an intense interest in psychology as, like many misguided reviewers, the sheer self-indulgence and narcissism from the outset will not entice the reader to continue past “I am intelligent and confident and charming”. This is not a Hero's Journey tale.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 17 Jan. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
She says she is a sociopath. I question how she scored on the test - anyone who has ever taken that test can easily figure out what to say to score high on the scale or low depending on the outcome they want. She spoke on Dr Phil about how she feels that she is careless with knives, and when she cuts herself with one she feels thrilled by it- this is not a sociopathic trait. She says in her book that "I am not completely immune to feeling blue. Of the negative emotions I feel, regret is the saddest and strongest. " This is the opposite of what I know of sociopaths. They regret nothing. Honestly I quit reading after that (at 50%) because it got boring half way through. I think she is more delusional than sociopathic. Definitely a narcissist, possibly with some other mental disorder.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By intrigued on 3 Jan. 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I chose this book as I was looking for answers. I am going through a difficult period and was hoping take on the Journey of self discovery.

This book highlights the distinction between psychopath and sociopath. It can be said that their are many advantages having sociopathic traits, these advantages can make you very successful in some professions. That said it does have its drawbacks. The writer comes across and very charming, intelligent and successful from her story, but is still missing something and always has the possibility of self-destructing.

There wasn't a huge deal to laugh at as it wasn't that type of read. The anecdotes where not that all that shocking either. The intrigue into how the writer thought kept the pages turning.

There were times when it seemed like the writer was almost trying to glorify sociopathy, but it the end I really believe that the writer just wanted to remove the bad connotations from the label.

Not a bad read.
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32 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Legal Vampire on 24 Feb. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I found this book fascinating, but it divides Amazon reviewers. I give several quotations below, so if you are thinking of buying it, you can decide if its style appeals to you:

"I am probably smarter than you, dear reader, but I know that in the rare instance this will not be true."

"I don't like people knowing things about me because it just means more things to remember I can't lie about"

"[at social gatherings] If I'm not listening, I'm probably telling a joke or shamelessly flattering you. I would probably rather not be talking to you at all, but since I am I might as well be polishing my charm"

"The Mid-West, a place so characterless it was as if it had been fashioned out of cardboard"

"I have to have a way to blow off steam. So I ruin people. It's not illegal, it's difficult to prove, and I get to flex my power"

"If I were only ruthless when I needed to be or only towards people who "deserved" it, I don't think I could be as effective. I would be constantly questioning myself - is this person worth it? Do I really need to be going after them in a particular way? Instead, my natural inclination is to be aggressive to everyone."

"I adhere to a religion [she is a Mormon]... The practice of it is just good sense - it keeps you out of prison and safely hidden in the crowd. But the heart of morality is something I have never understood."

"Most sociopaths want to hide their identity, but I don't want to hide forever...I want everyone to know that I'm a natural human variant. I want to take off the mask."

In places she uses more words than necessary, but she still writes readably and effectively.
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