Top critical review
62 people found this helpful
more dangerous than you think.
on 24 October 2011
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.