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24 of 45 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A round trip to nowhere please guv!, 13 July 2011
This review is from: The Psychopath Test (Hardcover)
Perhaps the most positive thing about this book is the effect it may have on some of its readers. Much as The Sex Pistols inspired The Smiths and others to start a band Jon Ronson may inspire millions to write a book on the premise that if they can do it anybody can do it.
It all starts out so promising. Jon asks whether we're being ruled by psychopaths bent on turning the world to their means irrespective of the consequences on others. Sitting on the fence throughout he dilutes this central issue with other forms of madness and concludes that, as many of us are probably aware, we're all a bit mad aren't we. Yawn. Borefest. And it isn't even funny.
I read this book after reading Chavs: The Demonization of The Working Class - an excellent study on how the British rich have created artificial reasons why they can justify ignoring the poorest of our society. But if the two books approach how we are all being controlled by people who only have their own interests at heart, Jon Ronson's contribution is pitiful. Jon's opportunity here was to study how we all manage to create reasons to avoid empathy and what effect that has on society, and how, if businesses were people they would exhibit all the tale-tale signs of a psychopath and that it stands to reason that the best people to lead them are psychopathic themselves. But, in choosing to lighten the tone Jon just sticks with telling us about how meeting people made him feel. All vey bourgeois but not very interesting.
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Showing 1-6 of 6 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 19 Aug 2011 21:47:37 BDT
I like you have just read Chavs, which may have coloured my own response to Ronson's book, similarly to your own (completely agree with your comments on Chavs by the way). Or it might be that I do have a deeper knowledge of some of the issues he referred to, so that his fleeting references felt trite and uneducated (Spitzer's referral to the Masochistic Personality Disorder category proposal in DSM and feminist objections was SO incomplete, for example!). But yes - this book had nothing of substance to say, I felt.

In reply to an earlier post on 20 Sep 2011 22:49:17 BDT
Mr. Aj Baugh says:
It is not suppose to be funny, this is a serious subject, think of Ted Bundy and you will realise how serious it really is. But I agree with you about it lacking any serious academic insight.

Posted on 16 Jan 2012 10:07:29 GMT
Quentin Pain says:
Having just heard Jon speak on Radio 4 (Friday 13th June 2012) I felt enormous empathy and headed straight on over to Amazon to get a copy of his book.

But just before I placed my order, I had to see what sort of response his book would have in the comments section. And no surprises here. In the 1 star reviews section (always good for a laugh) and I can see that everything is right in the world.

Jon's prediction is that 1 in a 100 are Psychopathic, but there are likely to be more of them where the subject is headlined. And with 81 reviews at the time of writing with 3 of them in the 1 star section, it shows nearly 4 times the norm :)

Posted on 3 Mar 2012 12:03:45 GMT
Last edited by the author on 3 Mar 2012 12:06:16 GMT
Ben Cohen says:
Craigganmore, the reason you dislike this book is precisely the reason I loved it. This is not a book that was started upon to make a social or political 'point'. It is his personal exploration of the subject and forces the reader to draw their own conclusions.

Polemics are all very well, but I always feel I am being spoon fed a particular perspective (with shortcomings tidily swept under the carpet). As for leavening a book with humour being 'borgeious': I never trusted a politician or political movement that couldn't laugh at itself a bit. Which, I admit, doesn't leave me with many people to start my revolution...

Posted on 30 Mar 2012 13:20:19 BDT
Mrs Norris says:
This is Gonzo journalism. If that's not your thing, you won't enjoy the book. I haven't finished it yet, but am finding it very interesting and entertaining. Not funny?? There are some exquisitely funny moments, such as his wondering whether he should campaign for the release of "Tony" but do it not quite well enough for it to succeed, and the bit where he decides that AA Gill might be a psychopath. But if you don't know why those are funny, no-one will ever in a million years be able to explain it to you.

In reply to an earlier post on 10 May 2014 16:17:09 BDT
Flora Cake says:
I decided that AA Gill is a psychopath years ago, after reading that he shot a baboon just to watch it die. I then disposed of a book of his I had on my shelf - could not bring myself to read something by someone self proclaimed to be so disgusting.
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