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103 of 105 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating and indispensible insight
Robert Hare has delivered a fascinating insight into the terrifying world of the psychopath. Without Conscience is aimed at the layperson, as opposed to the academic, and is pitched perfectly. It is detailed enough to properly explain and simple enough to be intelligible to the average reader.
A concise background to the condition sets the scene before the main...
Published on 2 Oct 2003 by Mr. Robert J. Evans

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44 of 45 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars more dangerous than you think.
There is certainly no shortage of reviews which heap praise on this book and author. The problem I found with the ones I read, was that they failed to show the limitations of the book. This book is mainly about PSYCHOPATHS who have committed crimes and ended up in prison. It does not deal with the inbetweenies who have some of the characteristics and would not be labelled...
Published on 24 Oct 2011 by Mr. J. Hudson


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103 of 105 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating and indispensible insight, 2 Oct 2003
By 
Mr. Robert J. Evans "Rob Evans" (Surrey, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us (Paperback)
Robert Hare has delivered a fascinating insight into the terrifying world of the psychopath. Without Conscience is aimed at the layperson, as opposed to the academic, and is pitched perfectly. It is detailed enough to properly explain and simple enough to be intelligible to the average reader.
A concise background to the condition sets the scene before the main traits of the psychopath are revealed and explained along with pertinent anecdotes to demonstrate how these traits operate in practice. Hare also explores psychopathy in children and young adults, charting their development to adulthood as well as the pernicious influence of non-criminal psychopaths in the workplace.
This book is of particular importance because it brings the danger of psychopaths to the everyday reader who may well suffer at their hands in future, if they have not already. It appears that the public are largely ignorant to the extent of the threat posed by psychopaths because of ignorance to what a psychopath is, how many of them are out there and their incredible ability to appear to be what they are not.
Hare provides some strategies to combat the effect of psychopaths at close hand. While less than cast-iron (due to the nature of the disorder, not Hare’s writing) they might provide some assistance to people trying to cope with, or escape from one.
Hare goes on to mention how research is developing strategies to limit the negative behaviour of psychopaths. I look forward to reading the results in years to come.
A highly recommended read for anyone looking for a beginners insight to psychopathy or has been victimised by a psychopath.
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44 of 45 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars more dangerous than you think., 24 Oct 2011
By 
Mr. J. Hudson - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us (Paperback)
There is certainly no shortage of reviews which heap praise on this book and author. The problem I found with the ones I read, was that they failed to show the limitations of the book. This book is mainly about PSYCHOPATHS who have committed crimes and ended up in prison. It does not deal with the inbetweenies who have some of the characteristics and would not be labelled psychopaths.

My interest in the subject was stimulated by references, in several TV programs, to the presenter being diagnosed as psychopathic, although they appeared to have perfectly normal lives. Twenty five percent of prison populations are psychopathic and one percent of the general public are psychopathic; so it is reasonable to assume that we all know at least one and don't realise it.

To quote the author - `When I agreed to write this book I knew it would be difficult to present hard scientific data and circumspection in a way that the public could understand' and also `It is my hope that this book will help the general public and the criminal justice system to become more aware of the nature of psychopathy'.
The author has successfully removed most of the medical technical jargon, but the language used shows that his target audience is the `university educated members of the general public'.

Like so many psychology awareness books it carries the usual `don't try this at home' warning. The author quite rightly points out that the public interpretation of `psychopath' and the psychologist's interpretation is totally different. It was pointed out to me some years ago, that virtually every medical word that is used in everyday speech is technically inaccurate. This is hardly surprising since the record of the medical profession, educating the `working class general public' is virtually non-existent. This book deals with psychopaths in Canada and US; we are left to assume that the information is relevant to the UK.

On the plus side - the book shows that psychopaths are actually more dangerous than the public think they are; why? .... because even the experts have difficulties in identifying them.

This book will give the reader an excellent understanding of what a psychopath is and how much devastation they can introduce into your life.

If you are interested in human behaviour, you will find a great deal of knowledge in this book; unfortunately it is very dry and boring to read. Non university educated readers should not stray far from a good dictionary. This book just about gives you enough information to fire up your interest in the subject, but is likely to leave you with more questions than answers. This is a good place to start but it should leave you with a feeling that it simply doesn't cover the subject adequately; but does such a book exist?

This book does have an important message for the general public, but how do you persuade them to read it. If academics are serious about educating the general public, they must learn to communicate in plain English.
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very very very good book, definitely recommended....., 16 May 2011
This review is from: Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us (Paperback)
This book is very helpful. I was dealing with what I believe is a narcissist type, it's been awful, on so many levels. This book when I read some of the character traits literally made me cry as I could associate so much to it.

Just reading this book, helps sooth you, through understanding the madness and meanness of the situation and personality disordered type.

It's actually quite sad to read it on so many levels, but by the end you feel better, calmer and soothed, that it has a label, you think, "ah that's why he does that". It won't and can't change the person, but you do start to understand what you are dealing with in that person. It talks about criminal and non-criminal types of characters. For me the criminal types were less applicable but also interesting to read about, almost like the same type by as a non-criminal one but a further along the scale.

So it helps you heal in that way and gives you some answers, clarity and closure.

This book is truly a well written and healing resource, thanks to the author for the wonderful insight into these types of people.

I'm not so keen on the term "psychopath" as I associate that with all the maniacs who are in prison having committed awful crimes. However the more modern term used is "sociopath" of which I suspect my ex was one. They often are in society doing fine, or even successful, and not with any criminal record, but they do have the same underlying character.

It gives you a list of the character traits of this type of person. They are:
- glib & superficial
- egocentric & grandiose
- lack of remorse or guilt
- lack of empathy
- deceitful & manipulative
- shallow emotions
- impulsive
- poor behaviour controls
- need for excitment
- lack of responsibility
- early behaviour problems
- adult antisocial behaviour

and explains them in further detail.

It explains how they choose people, they are skilled at doing this.
It looks at origins of the problems, and behaviours at a younger age.
Whether therapy would be helpful or not...... mostly not.
For me, there was a bit too much information and references to the criminals who are sociopaths and looking at their stories, so it would be a useful resource to people impacted that way. But they are still interestng to read and have that insight on, if only to attempt to avoid them in the future.

Finally the last is a chapter on how to protect yourself and survive, which was a short chapter that I would have liked to have seen this as a much longer one, as it's the key to our futures if we are to be happier.

I definitely recommend this book, it will help you see the type and understand some of what you have been through that often seemed bizarre and it helps you get some closure as a result.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Gold Mine of a book for families of this type of person, 6 April 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us (Paperback)
This book is invaluable for the psychiatric community. I think it should be required reading. It is also an asset to the lay person, particularly if this type of person is a family member. Dr. Hare "nails" both the personality traits and the behaviors of the psychopath. This book is the ONLY book I have found so far to be as direct and helpful to my family and I as it has been. I found Dr. Hare's approach to treatment of these people to be useful also. While some may find Dr. Hare's conclusions somewhat final, I appreciated his candor. For anyone who deals with these types of people, this book is a "must have"; especially families of these persons. I found the book to provide ideas for action instead of the floundering about offered in so many other texts. My thanks, Dr. Hare, for an excellent and informative read.
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44 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Second only to being taught by the great man himself., 15 Jun 2001
This review is from: Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us (Paperback)
This is an excellent resource book for those working in the criminal justice field and the lay person alike. With all the myths and hype surrounding the term "Psychopath" this text provides a realistic description of these disturbing and predatory individuals within our society. I defy anyone to read this and not wonder if it's someone they know...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Appeals to the Psycho Pathic Tendency, 20 Sep 2010
By 
Dr. Delvis Memphistopheles "FIST" (London) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us (Paperback)
Robert Hare raises his lance, then touts forward to expose his psychopathic windmills. Delivering us all from evil through the provision of a pop psychology criminology book printed by Guildford Press. Only this book seemingly can expose the evil that lies amongst us as Hare is the new Witchfinder General. This is a book for the herd animal, those that make up the numbers in modernity because it entials them venting their spleen without having to think. Easy prey for a psychopath as it happens because they are guillible. This book flips the coin and does the same trick by trying to put an arm round your shoulder and directing all that hate meanwhile the other hand is going for your credit card.

A fundamental flaw emerges early and then continues throughout the writing. Everything is the produce of a genetic script as there is no such thing as free will. It is the Old Testament transferred to science to psychology. This book seems to be a light bulb attracting the moths of the scientifically deluded.

Robert tells us most psychopaths are not Gacey's, Bundy's or Gein's but then devotes 80% of the book detailing their crimes and motives. Finally he lets us into a secret...these were psychopaths. The fact the police let Dahmer go, believing his account when he was in the process of killing one of his subjects is down to his suave manner. Ignored in Hare's world is the police being conditioned to believe a man rather than a blood battered boy. This is never explained by Hare as he believes in the benign nature of institutions. This is because he is part of one. Presumably if he started pointing the figure at the police the lucrative lecture circuit may dry up.

Better to keep quiet and concentrate on pathologising the criminal!

This book incorporates the fleet hand signals, the use of smoke and mirrors to ignore the obvious. The killers he concentrates upon, were all convicted of sexual or physical violent offences against individuals. He ignores the social world where killing in legitimised. For example those who ordered and carried the various 20thC genocides including Operation Phoenix. Again Hare would have to look at his own profession and their involvement, see Zulueta's From Pain To Violence for a more balanced account. This collusion of psychiatry with death is also detailed in Paul Lerners book on Male Hysteria. These detail not just individual psychopaths but state sanctioned kills all undertaken in the name of a higher cause.

Returning back to Hare's killers the question is whether they have any emotions is crucial to his thesis. Do emotionless people kill others or is it an internal rage disguised as having none, an elucidation? Another important question arises when Hare states there are many latent psychopaths. What prohibits them from killing? This is never explained in his book. Perhaps they have a genetic injunction to stop them? If we travel down this route then we are all latent psychopaths. Hare then spends the rest of the book proving his particular thesis, the genetic script. Don't let the evidence get in the way of a 100,000 seller! Psychopaths are genetically constructed and there is no treatment available according to Hare. The rationale for crimes are all glossed over within this catch all process. No one has ever discovered a gene for "psychopathy" as it is just a belief system, an act of faith. God is transferred to science. Robert is selling you one book to replace another. What Hare doesn't want to tell you is that Psychopaths are constructed by parents and institutions. That would make you run away.

This book is aimed at those who seek absolution.

If you peak under another stone, the journalistic work of Gitta Sereny on Mary Bell, this provides a deeper picture than this pretentious posturing. James Gilligan and bis book "Violence" provides a clearer analysis of violent behaviour derived from his relational work with perpetrators.

In the Hare world, externalised violence explained by past trauma is not psychopathic because it is explainable. The ultimate ring around wagon defence. As the circle gets tighter we are squeezed towards the flag of truth "in one mind." People brought up by "loving" parents who commit terrible acts are true psychopaths in the Hare world. Their behaviour cannot be "explained." Secondly these people continue to have random amounts of children, as they need to propagate their gene.

This exposes the fatal flaw; Attachment Theory. Hare like his subjects has no concept of it....scary!

Parents and people working in institutions raining down violence kill empathy in the victim. Unempathic people such as Manson, Gein etc are the products of families and institutions. Children rescued from destuctive parental behaviour by someone who offers a lifeline in childhood as portrayed by Stack Sullican can survive the most horrendous circumstances. This book is dangerous, labelling kids and severing this lifeline. It does more to create psychopaths with its labelling than it does provide any remedy. It gives succour to abusing parents to continue for the childs own good providing the "Bad Seed" defence. I knew they were bad and this is why I abused them.

Hare eschews the word sociopath, another laymans term, because this acknowledges social factors. Hare does not believe in social factors such as poverty, sexual/physical abuse, neglect, isolation, attachment severance, abusive, unemotional parenting or worst of all... malevolent institutions and nasty doctors. Hare also never questions the "American Dream," and the hand me down myths he holds. He is part of a system propogating untruths, perenially milking the bull he cannot hold the produce up for inspection.

He tells us serial killer psychopaths are only the tip of a psychopathic iceberg based on astounding evidence... his thoughts. Bringing illustrations to the table he then draws on film analogies to broaden his argument, so we get clips from Hannibal Lecter. All undertaken to appeal to the popular imagination, a hark back to childhood bogeymen and separate the victims from their cash.

He does mention board room manipulations but fails to follow them up in sufficient detail. No mention of Gordon Gecko as White collar crime is undertaken by aberrant individuals revealed after death (Robert Maxwell) or by the legal system; the various pension scandals. Institutionalised bullying and violence is invisible; pension misselling, the 2008 financial collapse, flight capital, credit card insurance, Barings Bank, Northern Rock, RBS, Lloyds Bank, Barclays. Is this genetic or socially constructed or socially embedded? Robert like one of his subjects evades the crucial questions...his crucifix and garlic is mentioning the social world.

The class benign nature of his discourse is another blind spot. Hare treads on very dangerous ground as this book highlights his own issues clearerly. The female sociology graduate, (she must be good, she has a degree,) whose sexualised daughter tells lies, is used by Hare, as a vivid example of a good parent with a bad child. We are never taken any further on the journey on how this construction arose. Hare takes the mother's account account verbatim; "Where did I go wrong?" The child is absent from the discourse. This silence around the victim highlights the doctors world view. These people must be silenced at all costs. Otherwise they will show him and his theories for what they are; psychological projections by abusers on the abused.

Robert does not believe in attachment severance, bad parenting, so there is no further exploration of the child's view. Psychopathic children tell lies anyway according to Hare, they cannot believed. Why bother asking them? They are liars.

Please note all you people who voted for this book, unfortunately I will have to shout over the shrill noise

THIS IS THE ARGUMENT USED BY CHILD ABUSERS TO SILENCE THEIR VICTIMS.

Hare tell us psychopathic children should not be labelled but then tells us their traits can be detected at an early age. He provides a number of indicators to measure these children. Bereavement/ neglect/ trauma are never inspected. Dr. Hare plays out his day dreams of evil children silently growing into monsters, only he can expose and tame. The book is a new cross to expose and nullify these new unempathic vampires. The good Dr. can unmask them, just dial the magic number and he will arrive armed with his psychopathometer.

The seemingly infallible twins study is trotted out to back up his hackneyed arguments. Normally displayed to show two twins separated at birth growing up apart to have identical traits; alcoholism, schizophrenia, autism, obesity, mental health issues. In Hare's world two children growing up in the same "loving" family are completely different; Cain and Abel. This proves it is all in the genes. The loving family already pronounced by Hare beforehand so any inspection of his claim is alreay thwarted.

Hare runs with the fox and barks with the hounds.

I am not sure whether he is just cynical or Mr. Magoo of psychology/psychiatry/psychotherapy. It is clear he cannot develop a relational stance with his subjects. There is no balance in the bak as he constantly searches for evidence to back up his hackneyed views. Research also lies beyond him and his research team. Presumably he would retort, you cannot enter into a dialogue with psychopaths in his predetermined tautological world; they will only manipulate you with their version of the truth. Hence they are absent.

One member of his research team who did develop a "relational" stance eloped with a patient. She is then perceived as a victim by the good Dr. Duped. Fleeced and dumped for her money, her "fault" emerges in believing the starry lies of her treatment subject. Her crime, falsely believing he will go straight. The considerable ethical issues are ignored. If this happened in the UK she would be stripped of her professional membership (I hope) and not allowed to practice unless she went for retraining.

Instead she is used to further the Doctors belief system. The malevolent charm of the glint in the eye that enticed the innocent to be corrupted, not a middle class intellectual woman using her power over a working class man. Middle Class intellectual women with degrees in the care sector are not perceived as abusing vulnerable men. Again Hare believes in institutions highlighting his flawed world view. Running off with patients for sexual gratification Dr is an abuse of power.

The "psychopathic" verbal accounts are all taken as verbatim ie they say what they mean, even though they are well reknown liars in the Doctors world. Untruth only becomes a factor when they contradict Dr. Hare's pre-determined belief system. These psychopaths can be spotted as individuals pulling the wings off flies, legs off spiders, vivisecting cats building up to skinning humans in basements. Thousands of these latent types live within big cities. The reason for their disorder; confused brain signals, genetic throwbacks.

Attachment theory is thrown onto the dungheap. It is given a cursory dismissal despite the case study he provides with "Little Tess," sexually abused as a baby, engaging in violent revenge in her infancy, clearly affirms the theory. In the Hare brain world the little girl was abused because she was a psychopath, not the other way round. The fact she has been violated and suffers some form of PTSD is just an excuse for her latent unfolding genetic script, meaning she will become promiscuous have lots of babies and bruises. This is the most shocking example in the Hare brained world of collusion with sexual abuse of infants. One has to ask what is seriously going on here and why is this book firstly printed, sold 100,000 copies and no one has picked this up previously?????????

I would not dispute that nasty people exist, they prey on the vulnerable, needy, isolated, depressed, young and elderly. These are the con men/women of dreams. It is embedded within culture, not a few nasty types. The serial killers are only a small component of a vast dynamic of individually socially constructed violence. This flows through families even ones that perform outwardly noble deeds, sit on various child abuse committees, write tracts on abuse, give money to charity, behaving outwardly with esteem and politeness good Doctor.

It's only when you build the relational bridges by having empathy as a practitioner, not gullibility, there is a difference...I mean taking your car to a prisoners workshop where you have crossed swords shows naivety, even in the early therapeutic days. This smacks of self negligence, taking advantage of facilities, something again circumscribed by a code of ethics.

In a relational world people eventually begin to lose the performed Goffman "front" and reveal what lies behind it, through building trust. If you cannot build these bridges you produce books like this....empty, emotionless, lacking empathy with the subject, egocentric, grandiose..

A marker for those involved who lack to objectify others and who also have a limited capacity for empathy. If you see this on a bookshelf when you visit someone......just run.
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35 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow! Now I Can Understand Why He . . ., 14 Jun 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us (Paperback)
All too frequently, we're confronted by people who do and say things that are beyond belief in their negative impact. And we're left wondering how these people can sleep at night...how they can live with themselves after doing or saying these things. Dr. Hare's book "Without Conscience" answers the question brilliantly. They simply lack the kind of conscience normal people have. What a scary fact! Without resorting to titillating details of psychopathic depredations, Dr. Hare writes lucidly, authoritatively and with a readability normally reserved to best-selling novels. A must-read, especially in these times when psychopathic behavior has become, in some unfortunate quarters, "cool."
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A warning to us all, 15 Sep 2010
This review is from: Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us (Paperback)
This book was great, it gave a very clear, easy to follow look into the mind of the psychopath. Having met one myself (it was the reason I got the book) it helped me understand the persons behaviour, although it doesn't explain why they are like this, not the fault of Dr Hare as it is a question still being asked, it's an unknown. Is it genetic? Is it brought on by social influence? Is is just a dysfunctional brain? who knows, but these people are best avoided.

All in all a very interesting read, it's just a pity this doesn't reach a wider audience so we can all be aware of these parasites who walk among us.

I think everyone should read this.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Situation Critical, 7 Feb 2008
This review is from: Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us (Paperback)
This is one of those books that once you get finished reading, you feel an almost moral obligation to share it with everyone. This fascinating work was my first introduction to the subject of psychopathy, and it literally shocked me to the core. You just won't see the world in the same way again... your eyes will be opened.

In the Preface to the book, Dr. Robert Hare writes:

"Psychopaths are social predators who charm, manipulate, and ruthlessly plow their way through life, leaving a broad trail of broken hearts, shattered expectations, and empty wallets. Completely lacking in conscience and in feelings for others, they selfishly take what they want and do as they please, violating social norms and expectations without the slightest sense of guilt or regret. Their bewildered victims desperately ask, 'Who are these people?' 'What makes them the way they are?' 'How can we protect ourselves?'"

And this is THE question that is in dire need of being dealt with in all areas and levels of society. Just think about it: we don't even teach our children about pathological deviance, because otherwise it wouldn't be happening so much. And the suffering continues.

Everyone needs to take some time out, read this book and any related materials, and really make the effort to integrate this reality into their world-view. Because the fact of the matter is: we're already victims. We've grown up in a world that favours American Idol over acquiring the necessary information that could save our lives.

One question that really made me wonder was: okay, so the very real dangers of psychopathy are not taught or discussed in a very specific way... is that by design? Have psychopaths worked their way into the educational system?

Most of us have a general mistrust of politicians and powerful media figures, but it still remains vague and with little weight in our minds. What if these people are actual psychopaths?

That's actually a rhetorical question however because reading this book, Paul Babiak's "Snakes in Suits" and Andrew Lobaczewski's "Political Ponerology" to name a few, will completely disabuse you of the notion that there a mostly good, honest decent people in the most powerful positions in society. It's actually the complete reverse.

Our world is really a dark place, and it's getting worse by the day. And you know what? Ignorance isn't bliss, because whose to say you won't be next on the menu? Not only are victims of psychopathy sorely lacking in knowledge of how to protect themselves, they're also lacking the awareness that they are NOT invulnerable... and that's why people get swindled, conned, hurt, tortured, and murdered.

Question is: are you any different?
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent, very illuminating, 22 Aug 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us (Paperback)
well organized and very accessible
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