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The Psychopath Test

The Psychopath Test [Kindle Edition]

Jon Ronson
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (462 customer reviews)

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Product Description


‘I began The Psychopath Test late at night, tired, dispirited and ill – then found myself laughing like the proverbial loon for page after page’ Will Self, Guardian

‘The belly laughs come thick and fast – my God, he is funny . . . Ronson’s new book is provocative and interesting, and you will, I guarantee, zip merrily through it’ Observer


"Because of Ronson's relentless self-deprecation and goofy, British humor, it's easy to tag along without fully realizing the rigor of his reporting, which is itself frenzied with compulsive questioning and obsessive research." -- "The Boston Globe"

"A rollicking, page-turner of a book... no ordinary piece of investigative journalism... Ronson's storytelling skills are strong enough to enliven even the necessary reflections that would be one yawn after another if entrusted to a lesser writer." -- "San Francisco Chronicle"

."..A book that manages to be as cheerily kooky as it is well-researched." -- "Los Angeles Times"

"Engagingly irreverent..." -- "New York Times "

"[A] fascinating and humane book..." -- "Washington Post Book World"

."..Both terrifying and hilarious." -- "O, The Oprah Magazine"

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More About the Author

Jon Ronson is an award-winning writer and documentary maker. He is the author of two bestsellers, Them: Adventures with Extremists and The Men Who Stare at Goats, and two collections, Out of the Ordinary: True Tales of Everyday Craziness and What I Do: More True Tales of Everyday Craziness. He lives in London.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
234 of 259 people found the following review helpful
By HeavyMetalManitou VINE VOICE
'People who are psychopathic prey ruthlessly on others using charm, deceit, violence or other methods that allow them to get what they want. The symptoms of psychopathy include: lack of a conscience or sense of guilt, lack of empathy, egocentricity, pathological lying, repeated violations of social norms, disregard for the law, shallow emotions, and a history of victimizing others.'
- Robert Hare, Ph.D

I've been hooked on Jon Ronson's writing since 'The Men Who Stare at Goats' was first published. Ronson cuts right to the heart of important topics by having the guts to ask the difficult questions. His literary style is equal parts journalistic rigour, deep compassion and incisive observational humour that often shines the light of ridicule on darker human behaviours. 'The Psychopath Test' explores psychiatry, psychopathology, medication and incarceration of 'dangerous' individuals. The book reads like a mystery novel, which - driven by Ronson's compelling prose - makes it difficult to put down.

The story begins with a meeting between Ronson and a history student who has received a cryptic book called 'Being or Nothingness' in the mail. The same book has been received by several individuals around the globe, most of whom work in the field of psychiatry. The book contains 42 pages, every second one blank. (This made me 'The Hitch-hiker's Guide to the Galaxy', the ultimate answer to life, the Universe and Everything was 42. Was this relevant? Was the mysterious author of 'Being or Nothingness' implying that his cryptic messages, if decoded, could lead to enlightenment?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read 24 May 2014
By Eaton55
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Jon Ronson tackles the subject in a clear and entertaining manner. I read the entire book in just two sittings as the content was so gripping and insightful. The big question for me after reading the book is how many people operating at a high level within the commercial world are psychopaths. Read the book if you want to learn to spot them. (Also consider ordering Bob Hare's book 'Snakes in Suits' at the same time, as you may well be working for one.)
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44 of 50 people found the following review helpful
By Anna
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a great read, witty and peppered with amusing self-deprecating excursions. I couldn't put it down - but only a small part of it concerns 'psychopaths'. It also seems that Jon Ronson hasn't quite got his head around the concept of psychopathy/sociopathy, and this is more than a shame - it's a little dangerous.

We start with a mysterious publication that leads Ronson to a neuroscientist who piques his interest in psychopathy. Then we go to someone who is classified as a psychopath but may not be; then to the Hare Psychopathy checklist and a ramble through ways of treating psychopaths in the past. Next step a shallow look at a corporate psychopath...but then it all comes a bit unstuck. We get an account of the unfeeling selection process for reality TV shows; the exceedingly strange behaviour of whistleblower David Shayler; and other stuff that doesn't really relate to the title of the book, or even the critique of psychiatry. If he'd stuck to the topic it would have been excellent. As it is, it really was a fascinating read, but the grasshopper approach to the subject matter seriously detracts from it as an informed study. 3.5 out of 5!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good introduction to psychopathy 31 May 2014
By Non
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Interesting exploration into mental health and in particular what 'defines' a psychopath. Unfortunately I expected more from Jon Ronson. He meets some truly interesting characters yet [I feel] his research falls short, he didn't 'dig' enough. However, this has now given me a good basis to go and learn more. I do like Jon's style of writing, he keeps you engaged throughout and is easy to read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compulsory reading 2 Feb 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I seriously think everyone should read this. Whether it's to confirm your own narcissism and level of sociopathy or someone else's. Highly entertaining as well as being more informative than you realise. I guarantee that by the end of the book you will be doing the test, either on yourself or on at least 5 people you know!

First book I have read of his and is not the last. I'd downloaded the others before I was even halfway through this.

If you like Louis Theroux then you will adore Jon. He's much nerdier and funnier and maybe even a bit more good looking...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and illuminating 7 Aug 2011
By lilysmum VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I thoroughly enjoyed this romp through the history of the study of psycopathy, coupled with some tongue in cheek stories about celebrity "psycopaths". I wasn't sure at times how much the author had his tongue inside his cheek, but that's to be expected with Jon Ronson, judging by some of his other work. I found this a very easy read and was chuckling out loud at some of the things he said. (I was expecting a more serious book for some reason.) The author has a very easy writing style, and the book contains some very entertaining passages as well as a useful appendix of further reading. I hadn't realised that scientologists were so anti-psychiatry, for instance, and I might read a bit further into psycopathy in general using the reading list at the back of the book. I have only given 4 stars because at times I couldn't quite see how bits of the book came to hang together - for example I wasn't sure why he included the chapter about Paul Britton, the forensic psychologist who was involved in the Colin Stagg case. I also found the David Shayler story almost incredible. I hadn't realised that this author also wrote "Men Who Stare at Goats" and I am keen to read that now.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Great read
Interesting and entertaining from start to end. I think I failed the test. Read it in one week.
Published 40 minutes ago by Jason Strain
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Published 2 days ago by Elizabeth Williams
5.0 out of 5 stars A casual reader couldn't put this book down!
I don't normally review books on Amazon. I heard about this book following Jon Ronson's TED talk on the subject so got the book and couldn't put it down. Read more
Published 5 days ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars My conclusion is: there is no conclusion
When I began reading this book I actually thought that we (the readers) were going to be taken on a journey to solve the mysterious riddle of how and why a person (hinted at being... Read more
Published 8 days ago by Marion James
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 8 days ago by Mrs Rachel M Tromans
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Enjoyed this
Published 10 days ago by DBS
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant! I loved it
Top marks, brilliant! I loved it , does not disappoint.
Published 11 days ago by Kathleen Burke
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and impossibile to put down
Super interesting. The reading flows like the stream of interesting and sometimes scary insights Jon is able to give. as soon as i finished it i felt I missed it
Published 16 days ago by G. Rozzo
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Fascinating and funny
Published 18 days ago by M. P. Robinson
5.0 out of 5 stars loved it loved it
Superb read!!! loved it loved it.
Published 19 days ago by Lisa
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