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People of the Lie Paperback – Jan 2 1998

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone; 2nd edition edition (Jan. 2 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684848597
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684848594
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 2 x 21 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 200 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (90 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #57,639 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

M. Scott Peck, M.D. is the author of the New York Times best-seller The Road Less Traveled, with six million copies in print. His other books include Further Along the Road Less Traveled, The Road Less Traveled and Beyond, Meditations from the Road and Golf and the Spirit.

From AudioFile

Scott Peck is a psychiatrist turned author and lecturer. His name is a household word with the self-help crowd. In People of the Lie, Peck takes on the topic of evil. The"volume" cited is not an abridgment but a group of case studies from the first chapters of the book, along with commentary. The presentations are consistently well done. Peck reads with a soft, yet strong voice that is both self-assured and reassuring. D.W.K. (c)AudioFile, Portland, Maine --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.

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GEORGE HAD ALWAYS BEEN a carefree person-or so he thought-until that afternoon in early October. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Bob Fancher on March 6 2003
Format: Paperback
Dr. Peck's concern with the reality of evil remains unheard in the mental health community a decade and a half after this book was published. He makes a strong case for the reality of evil, but undercuts it in two ways: His belief in evil spirits, and his confining evil to character pathology, and a specific one--narcissism--at that.
Why belief in evil spirits discredits him in the mental health community is obvious. This sort of superstition, which is not open to objective verification or experimental falsification, cannot be taken seriously by people committed (however fecklessly) to an ideal of scientific knowledge.
Confining evil to narcissism is problematic in a different way: It makes evil a sign of sickness, and historically one is not held responsible for what one does as a result of illness. Within the mental health community, pathological narcissism, which is acknowledged to be extremely destructive, is regarded as something to be cured, something for which one is no more morally culpable than one would be for blindness.
One need not be clinically narcissistic to objectify and use others. Perfectly healthy people can be evil. Failures of empathy, envy, and exploitation do not confine themselves to the psychiatrically challenged. Egoism, a moral failing, is not the same thing as narcissism, a pathlogical condition. By conflating the two, Peck made sure that the mental health community would fail to recognize the reality and horror of the former--and its role in fostering it--and also dismiss his contention that narcissism is a moral problem.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By David Di Sabatino on Jan. 9 2004
Format: Paperback
I remember picking this book up about 5 years ago and scanning through the first couple of chapters thinking to myself, "What is this guy talking about? I can't even fathom people that act like this." It just didn't ring true because my experience had not seen the likes of what he was trying to explain.
Fast forward 5 years later, and after going through a harrowing job experience with two people who could star in a movie representation of this book (which, come to think of it, has already been done in a film called SWIMMING WITH SHARKS in the character played by Kevin Spacey), I read it through in a single sitting. Peck so accurately diagnoses the "people of the lie" as being so self-absorbed and narcisistic that they continually make excuses about the abuse they heap upon other people, somehow turning every story 180 degrees in the opposite direction and always claiming victimization when the situation so clearly points to them as the perpetrator. It is a sad indictment of what must be a pandemic within institutions, as these folks clamor and cling to power, money and title oblivious to the human carnage left in the wake of their passing.
But even still, where our hearts are naturally inclined toward revenge, Peck cautions us, coaxing us toward pity for these wretched creatures. He suggests that whatever vile hellaciousness we could dream up as pay back should be tempered with the notion that these folks have consigned themselves to live in a hell of their own making (kind of like Annabella Sciorra in the movie, WHAT DREAMS MAY COME). The dark night of the soul sees their hearts scream out, "I hate you, you're nothing" when the worst some of us deal with is, "Ack... dumb mistake... oh well... keep going."
Bravo... this book rings true, even if it took a second reading. Context is everything!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Tanja L. Walker on June 2 2003
Format: Paperback
This is not the first book of M. Scott Peck's that I have read, but it was the most profound. It actually made me cry, as I realized, in reading it, the times in which I have been evil, the times in which my ex-husband has been (and continues to be) evil, and the way in which my dad, despite his many shortcomings, was not truly evil. We are not talking about demon-possessed evil -- though Peck does talk about that in his chapter on demon possession -- but rather about the garden-variety human evil, which I think plagues us all to some degree or another, but some of us are able to rise above our willfulness and narcissism to compassion and the ability to turn our wills over to the God of our understanding.

Peck also discusses the anatomy of group evil, and I found something he wrote eerily prophetic. Keeping in mind the book was published in 1983 (20 years ago), read these words: "Twenty years from now, when Vietnam has been largely forgotten, how easy it will be, with volunteers, to once again become involved in little foreign adventures. Such adventures will keep our military on its toes, provide it with real-life war games to test its prowess, and need not hurt or involve the average American citizen at all until it's too late" (p. 232). Granted, we were attacked, by Osama bin Ladin, but what did Iraq do to us? Can you say "prophet"?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jack Purcell on May 13 2004
Format: Paperback
I believe this book ought to be required reading for anyone who's considering becoming a parent, considering being born to a parent or a pair of them, contemplating being a brother, sister aunt or uncle or maybe having a wife, husband or friend.
The book is about power, manipulation, boundaries, lies and evil as they exist within ourselves and the people around us. They don't require that we believe in them to exist, but if we're able to recognize them for what they are it helps. Recognizing it doesn't make it easy, but it makes it possible.
Peck's premises mightn't be entirely correct, as some suggest. But whether it's 'evil' or merely something not evil that could get a job being evil if there was such an occupation, Peck's approach works.
I recommend this book for anyone who knows, loves, cares about and lives with the agonies of the phenomenon Peck calls 'evil'.
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