People of the Lie Paperback – Jan 2 1998
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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.
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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Top Customer Reviews
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!
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'.
I'm assuming that this book was published before the widespread acceptance of biological causes of mental illness, since Peck's "case studies" that appear to be primarily cases of obsessive-compulsive disorder, major depression, borderline personality disorder or some form of psychosis, all of which are now treatable with drugs. (I'm betting that Haldol, Seroquel and Prozac, as well as behavioral therapy, all have better treatment rates than exorcism). But even in the late 80's, these theories were gaining credence and psychiatrists were willing to experiment with treatment options other than the "talking cure." I find Peck's willingness to ascribe his patients' difficulties to "evil" or demonic possession not only ludicrous, but irresponsible. I hope he didn't write that on their charts.
The case studies he cites certainly illustrate that people are capable of evil--no secret to anyone who watches Court TV. But Peck seems curiously limited in his view. For example, there's Sarah, a woman who abuses her milquetoast husband. Sarah is evil, Peck maintains, but he's not really interested in how or why. If he's explored the dynamics of the relationship, he doesn't share it with us. Treatment appears to be the furthest thing from his mind. He insists that one can't "treat" evil. All right, but how did Sarah get to be this way? Original sin? Youthful experimentation with a Ouija board? Playing Dungeons & Dragons? It's more likely that she (and her spoouse) were abused or otherwise had traumatic events that caused them to accept their miserable existence as the norm and their due.Read more ›
Because in the end, it IS dangerous, very dangerous, to put these kinds of labels on people. The basic question to be answered is -who will make this judgment? I think that no-one should consider himself able or should be allowed to make this kind of judgment. Plus, most of the cases described by Scott Peck in the book could probably be seen, in another light, as narcissistic personality disorders, and thus, could be dealed with in other ways, and obviously not with exorcism, as the author unbelievably suggests. Of course, this also has to do with somebody's belief system. At least Scott Peck takes his time to explain what he believes in, he uses well thought out arguments and in general he writes very well. Also, in his favour, he never becomes phanatical or preachy: he always expresses his doubts.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
For anyone in leadership who may encounter these types of people. An eye openerPublished 21 days ago by Raymond J. Hill
This is a very interesting book, exploring the idea that there is now enough scientific evidence to regard human evil as an actual mental illness, as a psychological disorder;... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Gerta
It's somewhat misleading to view Peck's view of evil as "Christian". He certainly borrows Christian terminology to help him understand what is going on with his patients. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Rodge
This book finally brings closer to the decades of asking why. So evil does exist, as a personal option, and that is why.Published 20 months ago by Angele R Roy née Raskauskas
This is one of the best books by Scott Peck, author of The Road Less Traveled. In this book Peck examines the nature of evil in probing, incisive ways that may make the reader feel... Read morePublished 21 months ago by Gary
When I read this 25 years ago it made an impact on me. Now, however I wonder why Dr Peck didn't recognize the psychopathic behaviour disorder in Charlene. Read morePublished on Nov. 14 2010 by xcskierboy
This book says. I think he narrowed it right on the spot and how such people can have a dramatic impact on others. Read morePublished on Sept. 27 2008 by Tom