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The Psychopath Test

The Psychopath Test [Kindle Edition]

Jon Ronson
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (438 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
230 of 253 people found the following review helpful
By HeavyMetalMonty 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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16 of 18 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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40 of 46 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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and informative 10 May 2014
By spk
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Jon Ronson wrote an entertaining and informative book, which is based on the assessment tool that was devised by Hare. The 20 items of the assessment are explored briefly and then applied in situations that form a story running throughout the book. Ronson's writing is engaging, easy to read, presents a balanced view and provides a solid introduction to the concept of psychopathy as assessed by Hare's Psychopathy Check List - Revised.The only weak point of the book is that it could be shorter by a third as one gets the feeling that some pages/chapters were written to make the book longer.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Bex
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As a psycholgoy student I naturally found the book slightly lacking the scientific detail relating to the diagnosis and development of 'psychopathy' as a disorder, but this book it a witty examination of the social stigma and views on the issue. The question of 'corporate psychopathy' is one that greatly interests me, and while the book kind of faisl to answer the questions it sets out to, the journey is so interesting and enjoyable that I didn't even mind!
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1 of 1 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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1 of 1 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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Good read
Really enjoyed book - written on the level and poses some interesting ideas about the subject of madness
Published 11 hours ago by Ms. Ka Barratt
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very good read. Funny, insightful and thought provoking
Published 4 days ago by laura irving
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 5 days ago by keith rand
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
A really good - and easy read. A very interesting take on things.
Published 6 days ago by chris smith
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting reading - says a psychology teacher
Some good journalism has gone into this book. It doesn't mislead, nor scaremonger (and it would have been very easy to do when discussing this topic! Read more
Published 7 days ago by Andy
5.0 out of 5 stars a must read... great Fab!
Absolute must read Fantastic and interesting view... research was spot on
Published 7 days ago by GT
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 9 days ago by Mr. J. Harrison
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great book for someone studying or just interested in psychology and corporate psychopathy.
Published 13 days ago by Bethan
2.0 out of 5 stars Just not that good
I read this on a recommendation. The title doesn't accurately reflect the content as it's 10per cent the test and 90 per cent uninteresting case study of mostly criminals. Read more
Published 14 days ago by mr neil f williams
2.0 out of 5 stars Tedious
The book is a mediocre research project, and is rather tedious to read. Plodded through to get to the end.
Published 15 days ago by Emily owen
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