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Confessions of a Sociopath: A Life Spent Hiding in Plain Sight [Hardcover]

M.E. Thomas
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
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Book Description

May 14 2013
As M.E. Thomas says of her fellow sociopaths, we are your neighbors, co-workers, and quite possibly the people closest to you: lovers, family, friends. Our risk-seeking behavior and general fearlessness are thrilling, our glibness and charm alluring. Our often quick wit and outside-the-box thinking make us appear intelligent—even brilliant. We climb the corporate ladder faster than the rest, and appear to have limitless self-confidence.  Who are we? We are highly successful, non-criminal sociopaths and we comprise 4% of the American population (that’s 1 in 25 people!).
 
Confessions of a Sociopath takes readers on a journey into the mind of a sociopath, revealing what makes the tick and what that means for the rest of humanity.   Written from the point of view of a diagnosed sociopath, it unveils these men and women who are “hiding in plain sight” for the very first time.
 
Confessions of a Sociopath is part confessional memoir, part primer for the wary. Drawn from Thomas’ own experiences; her popular blog, Sociopathworld.com; and current and historical scientific literature, it reveals just how different – and yet often very similar - sociopaths are from the rest of the world. The book confirms suspicions and debunks myths about sociopathy and is both the memoir of a high-functioning, law-abiding (well, mostly) sociopath and a roadmap – right from the source - for dealing with the sociopath in your life, be it a boss, sibling, parent, spouse, child, neighbor, colleague or friend.
 
As Thomas argues, while sociopaths aren't like everyone else, and it’s true some of them are incredibly dangerous, they are not inherently evil. In fact, they’re potentially more productive and useful to society than neurotypicals or “empaths,” as they fondly like to call “normal” people.  Confessions of a Sociopath demystifyies sociopathic behavior and provide readers with greater insight on how to respond or react to protect themselves, live among sociopaths without becoming victims, and even beat sociopaths at their own game, through a bit of empathetic cunning and manipulation.

Frequently Bought Together

Confessions of a Sociopath: A Life Spent Hiding in Plain Sight + The Psychopath Inside: A Neuroscientist's Personal Journey into the Dark Side of the Brain + Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us
Price For All Three: CDN$ 50.08

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Review

Praise for Confessions of a Sociopath

"[A] gripping and important book…revelatory…quite the memorable roller coaster ride.”—New York Times Book Review

"[F]ascinating...part memoir, part psychological treatise, and entirely not to be trusted."—Boston Globe

"The goal of Confessions is to redefine sociopathy—or at least to shake off the stigma associated with it. And Thomas accomplishes both. Through her honest portrayal of herself as a highly capable yet deeply flawed individual, she demystifies her disorder."—Scientific American

“[F]ascinating stuff, and Thomas delivers…riveting…chilling….Her incisive observations about human nature can be breathtakingly pointed.”—Cleveland Plain Dealer

"An essential, unprecedented memoir…intelligent, measured…[H]er arguments against using the diagnosis as an indicator of evil or a pre-emptive reason to imprison are a slam-dunk. This is a critical addition to narratives of mental illness, deepened by the awareness that we're reading someone whose most intense motivation is ‘acquisition, retention, and exploitation of power’.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Fascinating and compelling as well as chilling, Thomas’ memoir offers a window into the mind of a portion of the population that usually remains shrouded in mystery and fear."—Booklist, starred review

"[Thomas] invites us into her courtroom, classroom and bedroom to witness how her behavior has stunted her work life and made her love life difficult....Much here is chilling, but there are also cracks that make you ache for her....A work of advocacy for greater awareness of sociopathy’s reach and conduct."—Kirkus Reviews

About the Author

M. E. Thomas is a diagnosed sociopath and the founder of SociopathWorld.com. But she is not a killer. Quite the contrary, she is an accomplished attorney and law professor who writes regularly for major law journals, donates 10 percent of her income to charity, and teaches Sunday School.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
By A. Volk #1 REVIEWER #1 HALL OF FAME
Format:Hardcover
Here's the fundamental part of this book- it's either a lie, or it's a life story told by a pathological liar. I approach this book as someone who doesn't study psychopathy directly, but as someone who knows numerous researchers who do. Psychopathy is a condition defined by a few key categories of behavior: a lack of empathy (you know the emotions, you just don't feel them), grandiosity, lying, manipulation, impulsivity, and a lengthy rap sheet (some would add sexual promiscuity). The word sociopath is a slightly more ambiguous term, but it means much the same thing (developed by sociologists who didn't like the psychologist term psychopathy) and it's what M E Thomas likes to call herself because it seem less derogatory to her. This book is her life story. Unfortunately, reading it I couldn't tell if this was someone pretending to be a psychopathy to sell books, or an actual psychopath.

It's full of errors and contradictions. For example, she had a normal childhood. She had great parents. She had parents who abandoned her and her brother at a park, just driving away. Her father beat her, her mother was cold and flippant. She wants anonymity, yet she was on Dr. Phil. Which version is true? She claims to be a successful psychopath, something that's getting more press these days. But she reveals that it's only by the graces of lady luck that she's not in prison. Never mind her impulse to follow and kill a man, she's a thief, a fraud, and an incredibly reckless driver or cyclist. She claims not to harm people, but describes one of her favorite joys as learning about and then ruining people. She claims to be a good friend at the same time as she lists numerous friendships ruthlessly terminated when she is bored.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not as awesome as she thinks she is. Sept. 25 2013
Format:Hardcover
This book started out fascinating. I felt as though I were reading a novel from the villain's point of view. On page eighteen, she asks, "Have I earned your hostility?" Indeed she had, just for the pool incident alone, and I kept reading in the hopes of finding out why this woman thinks the way she does.

It could have been half as long as it was if she'd quit telling the reader how great sociopaths are. She repeatedly tells the reader how they are actually genetically superior than 'empaths', and she has quotes and statements to back up her claims.

The book is a constant commentary on how charming and how likable she is right after she tells you about the awful things she does just for the sake of controlling and abusing others. I often caught myself rolling my eyes. She's like that associate you just wish would stop talking.

This book is just another way of patting herself on the back. I'm actually irritated at myself for buying this book because I have no doubt it amuses her to know we may not like her, but she still got our money anyway.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars More Bookish Thoughts... Aug. 4 2013
By Reader Writer Runner TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
How many books out there describe life as a sociopath from the point of view of a sociopath? None until the recent release of "Confessions of a Sociopath," a memoir that attempts to dispel myths and stereotypes about the diagnosis. The title of the book alone poses so many questions: how candidly could the author write about her feelings? Could someone lacking emotional depth pull off an entire book? Would she come across as charismatic and beguiling or cruel and boring?

At times, it feels like M.E. Thomas (an appropriately selfish pseudonym) has produced a gripping and important book. She fascinatingly recounts how the logic of punishment frequently eludes sociopaths; she has lost count of the times she's gotten sick from eating rotten food because the "risk of injury never sinks in." At others, she sags and goes on for pages about her (uninteresting) childhood or repeats her thoughts about the nature/nurture mystery while simultaneously humanizing and dehumanizing herself.

Readers must also keep in mind that pathological lying and lack of realistic goals partially define sociopathy. Thomas undermines her own claims of leading a moral life by cheerfully recounting leaving a baby opossum to drown in her swimming pool and disowning a friend whose father was dying of cancer because the woman wasn’t fun to be around anymore. By the book’s final stretch, which includes reminiscences of a hedonistic year in Brazil, the chilliness and self-absorption have taken their toll and roller coaster ride has worn thin.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The Medium is the Message June 23 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
Reading a book about those without conscience by an author who claims never to feel regret, provides a fascinating look into psychopathy.

The medium is the message.

Eleanor Cowan, author of : A History of a Pedophile's Wife: Memoir of a Canadian Teacher and Writer
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