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The Psychopath Test [Kindle Edition]

Jon Ronson
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (504 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £8.99
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Book Description

What if society wasn't fundamentally rational, but was motivated by insanity? This thought sets Jon Ronson on an utterly compelling adventure into the world of madness.



Along the way, Jon meets psychopaths, those whose lives have been touched by madness and those whose job it is to diagnose it, including the influential psychologist who developed the Psychopath Test, from whom Jon learns the art of psychopath-spotting. A skill which seemingly reveals that madness could indeed be at the heart of everything . . .



Combining Jon Ronson's trademark humour, charm and investigative incision, The Psychopath Test is both entertaining and honest, unearthing dangerous truths and asking serious questions about how we define normality in a world where we are increasingly judged by our maddest edges.



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Review

‘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

Review

"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 many bestselling books, including Frank: The True Story that Inspired the Movie, Lost at Sea: The Jon Ronson Mysteries, The Psychopath Test, The Men Who Stare at Goats and Them: Adventures with Extremists. His first fictional screenplay, Frank, co-written with Peter Straughan, starred Michael Fassbender. He lives in London and New York City.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
240 of 265 people found the following review helpful
By HeavyMetalManitou VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
'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 wonder...in '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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4 of 4 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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining survey of a serious topic 2 Dec. 2012
By Guy
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
First thing to say is that this is very Jon Ronson - if you don't like his journalistic, quite anecdotal, interview-heavy style, you won't like it. I, however, enjoyed his attempts to get the nub of what Psychopaths are and how Society can deal with them.

He gets to inverview some really interesting as well as important figures in the field, and his various digressions are always relevant and valuable. The chatty style doesn't obscure the fact he's really done his homework. In particular, he's really good on the tale of how professional rivalries and experimental treatments by various psychologists since the early 20th Century haven't always been to the benefit of a better public understanding of the condition, or better treatment of it.

His particular focus is the now almost universally used testing criteria for Psychopaths, which turns out to be not as perfect as you might hope considering a positive result can see people incarcerated for large portions of their life. He also investigates how 'Psychopathic' traits can actually be seen in many people who are successful in various fields and have never been involved in any violent crime. There's ultimately a suggestion here that the most terrifying thing about Psychopaths is that they're really not as different from us as we'd like to think, and it is quite possible that your neighbour, boss, political representative, or local policeman (psychopaths, it turns out, love jobs which give them positions of authority) could well be one.

Despite the troubling revelations here, it isn't a sensationalist book trading off shock value.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
An easy read and good foid for thought
Published 1 day ago by mrs a tyler
5.0 out of 5 stars I really enjoyed it. I will be reading Jon Ronson`s other ...
Very interesting and thought provoking book. I really enjoyed it. I will be reading Jon Ronson`s other publications as a result.
Published 1 day ago by Karen Castle
4.0 out of 5 stars lovely unexpected tour around the mind
For a book that houses quite dark material, it is written with humour and a light touch, which makes it easy to digest and also rather funny. Read more
Published 2 days ago by Ms. Natasha Phillips
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Insightful and informative...Jon is thoughtful and provoking
Published 9 days ago by Alexandrefg
4.0 out of 5 stars Being or Nothingness by Joe K
Interesting read. Jon Ronson opens with a story about a strange package containing a cryptic book titled "Being or Nothingness" by Joe K. Read more
Published 10 days ago by Jeff Wu
5.0 out of 5 stars Another GREAT book by JR
Jon always has a Great eye for Extreme subjects of ALL kinds - All without ever falling into that Easyest of Traps in thought : (Judgementality- Comedic or not)

A Great... Read more
Published 11 days ago by Zetetick
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very easy to read book and quite informative.
Published 12 days ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Curious, captivating, and sometimes caustic to nerve tissue. highly recommended- literally gives you secret powers!!
Published 13 days ago by alexandros koutinas
5.0 out of 5 stars More brilliance from the brilliant Jon Ronson!
Brilliant. Easy to read yet fascinating at the same time. Jon Ronson never lets you down. Can't recommend it highly enough.
Published 14 days ago by Kim
4.0 out of 5 stars Surprising and Spooky
Never read anything written by Jon Ronson. Now I am fan! Quite disturbing and hilarious. Also managed to diagnose all of my friends and family !
Published 15 days ago by Ms S P Carter
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