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The Psychopath Test

The Psychopath Test [Kindle Edition]

Jon Ronson
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (469 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
236 of 261 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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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 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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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worthwhile but worrying 3 Oct 2013
By Stef-k
Format:Kindle Edition
A book about more than the title suggests, but also delivers slightly less than l hoped. It mostly tracks the authors own journey through the subject matter-very much in his usual style. Left me sure l wasn't a psychopath but certain at least one colleague was. Great as a weekend or holiday read but not a serious look at the subject of psycopathy. Also worthy gift for an ex wife or colleague you would prefer to estrange permanently.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars An ok read if you like Ronson's work
This book is a bit like marmite, you'll either love it or hate it!! I really enjoyed the first half of the book learning about psychopaths but the latter half droned on a repeated... Read more
Published 4 days ago by Elizabeth Dean
5.0 out of 5 stars strangely enchanting and captivating
Excellent read. Practically didn't stop until the end. It's a story that simultaneously challenges common beliefs, ethics and morality. Read more
Published 8 days ago by YaoZong
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
Not my type of book.
Published 17 days ago by MRS SANDRA EILEEN KHAN
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book.
Couple of pages with bent corners. Couldn't believe how fast it got here. Can't explain how good a read this book is.
Published 19 days ago by Jordan bertolaso
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting read
Another Jon Ronson - I like his work!
Published 20 days ago by Jayne Miller
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great read and funny with it.
Published 24 days ago by Mr. Robert Maitland
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Witty and interestingly written, in the form of a personal quest to understand this disorder
Published 25 days ago by Jacqueline V. Cassidy
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 28 days ago by Jason Strain
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Published 1 month 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 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
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