The Sociopath Next Door Paperback – Mar 14 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
[Dr.] Stout says that as many as 4% of the population are conscienceless sociopaths who have no empathy or affectionate feelings for humans or animals. As Stout (The Myth of Sanity) explains, a sociopath is defined as someone who displays at least three of seven distinguishing characteristics, such as deceitfulness, impulsivity and a lack of remorse. Such people often have a superficial charm, which they exercise ruthlessly in order to get what they want. Stout argues that the development of sociopathy is due half to genetics and half to nongenetic influences that have not been clearly identified. The author offers three examples of such people, including Skip, the handsome, brilliant, superrich boy who enjoyed stabbing bullfrogs near his family's summer home, and Doreen, who lied about her credentials to get work at a psychiatric institute, manipulated her colleagues and, most cruelly, a patient. Dramatic as these tales are, they are composites, and while Stout is a good writer and her exploration of sociopaths can be arresting, this book occasionally appeals to readers' paranoia, as the book's title and its guidelines for dealing with sociopaths indicate.
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Top Customer Reviews
Traditionally, books on psychopathy were mostly about the inmate population, serial killers and so on. That creates a dangerous sense of complacency. After all, the psychopaths are easily recognizable brutal killers and they have all been locked up in high-security prisons, right? Unfortunately, it is not so.
In this book, Dr. Stout has done a great service for humanity in describing, persuasively and chillingly, the psychopaths that are among us. They can be anyone, from a successful and ruthless executive to the neighbor next door. Statistics shows that one in 25 people are psychopaths and they cannot be easily recognized even by experts.
What makes the psychopaths dangerous is that they have no conscience whatsoever. No remorse, no empathy, no emotion to constrain any of their acts even if the act causes great harm to their closest family members. And because of the same characteristics, they are often very successful in our society.
So pick up the book and read it now because chances are good that you will encounter a psychopath in your life. And what you don't know about them CAN hurt you. Also read "Political Ponerology" by Andrew Lobaczewski.
Martha Stout in this book reveals how a shocking 4 percent of the population have the same chief symptom, namely a complete lack of conscience. The difference is that the majority with this mental disposition operate within the laws and only rarely get caught.
The book is easy to read without having a psych degree and Martha Stout uses many examples to show how these people charm and deceive their way through life in total disregard for the impact on other people.
Martha Stout further teaches how to identify a sociopath and how to protect oneself from the impact of one.
I found the book clear and light and also a celebration of the 96% who do have a conscience.
The book is well worth reading along with "In sheeps clothing" by George Simon, "Political Ponerology" by Andrzej Lobaczewski, "The mask of sanity" by Hervey Checkley and "Without conscience" by Robert Hare, that all deal with different aspects of the phenomenon.
She uses insights from psychology and related sciences, the study of cultures, and theology to help us recognize sociopaths, cope with their destructive ways, protect ourselves, and warn others. She, also, addresses related issues including why we do not speak out, how to tell whom we can trust, and how our culture can help or hinder the effect of people who lack a conscience.
While her research is rooted in the arts and sciences, her book is very readable and includes examples gleaned from her 25 years of work in the psychology field to illustrate her point and give us an "inside look" of what it is like to be a sociopath or their victim. I think that people from all walks of life that have to deal with people who lack a conscience and empathy and people in the helping professions will benefit from this book.
On the other hand "the Sociopath Next Door" is not perfect and it does have some mixed values. The author limits her discussion to psychology that I enjoyed and learned from. Unfortunately, however, some of her writing is infused with the author's politics, which frequently cause her to try to link sociopath with right wing politics, thereby undercutting her credibility within her own field.
I honestly recommend everyone to get there hands on this book, including my friends and family to make them aware on what goes on out there. You never know when one will cross your path and you need know to defend yourself at the same time.
Most recent customer reviews
I have a fascination with Sociopaths and the "drive" they have to destroy and manipulate. I had hopes for this book to explain why Sociopaths do what they do, but it came... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Daniel T
Such an interesting and awesome read. Love this book. So informative.Published 3 months ago by Penelope0108
This should be mandatory reading at all colleges , university, & high schools . I wish I had read it years ago !Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
Not bad for highlight behaviour. It doesn't have the explanation and examples behavior. It doesn't tell how to deal with a sociopathPublished 4 months ago by Mary R.Scott
I plan to share this. As a former Public Health Nurse I found this book to be so true of so many people. "Setting boundaries"Published 7 months ago by Debra E. Johnson
The idea of not possessing a conscience or the capacity for love is difficult to grasp. The book presents the qualities of humankind from many perspectives, supported by history... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Lisa
EVERYONE should read this book so they can see and recognize the sociopaths in their lives. Plus people need to know that they aren't the crazy ones -- that it is likely a... Read morePublished 8 months ago by E. Andres
You can prepare yourself for many trials in life but you can not easily prepare yourself for dealing with a sociopath. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Kathryn Fox
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