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a study of the pathological personality
on November 3, 2007
This is an astounding, essential reference when it comes to understanding and dealing with psychopathological individuals in the workplace. They are FAR more prevalent than most people imagine, and especially in positions of power and authority, to which they naturally gravitate.
As the authors point out, psychopaths rarely take the form of 'Hannibal Lectur', but are much more likely to come in the guise of a slick, fast talking, charismatic high-flyer, who ruthlessly backstabs and manipulates his way into positions of power, for personal gain. Basically, they are invisible to anyone who does not have the knowledge of how they operate (ie: the majority), and this is what makes them so lethal.
Psychopathy is not a 'mental illness', it is a personality disorder, and as such, psychopaths are usually free of the normal quirks and neuroses of normal people, and instead operate under the blinding inertia of unquestioning self-confidence, without a hint of self-examination or internal doubt - for the psychopath, emotions are simply used as a dramatic tool, in order to evoke pity, guilt, fear or self-doubt in others, for manipulation purposes; and are completely lacking in connection to any deeper meaning.
This book is founded on extensive experience and clinical studies; eg. the Hare Psychopathy Checklists PCL-R; and builds on the established work of Hervey Cleckley ('Mask of Sanity', also recommended). It pulls back the curtain, shows all the tricks, how they work in practice in the modern corporate environment, and how to defend against them. It describes in some detail the scary surreal reality that the psychopath inhabits, in which conscience and emotion are somehow 'pretend' - how their brains are activated in a completely different pattern (as shown on ECG studies) - everything is a coldblooded 'game' of oneupmanship and self-interest, regardless of consequence.
Thoroughly recommended to anyone in a position of responsibility of assessing people - recruitment or management; and also to anyone studying psychopathy and its implications in the real wold.