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The Sociopath Next Door Paperback – Mar 14 2006


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The Sociopath Next Door + Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us + Snakes In Suits: When Psychopaths Go to Work
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Harmony (March 14 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0767915828
  • ISBN-13: 978-0767915823
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 1.4 x 20.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 200 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #37,148 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

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.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Phung Minh Hoang on Nov. 12 2007
Format: Hardcover
As the title says, this is a must read book for everyone (that is, everyone who is not a psychopath). The only thing I don't like about it is the use the word "sociopath" instead of "psychopath". But it is a very minor flaw in a great book.

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.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Aeneas on Nov. 6 2007
Format: Hardcover
We are accustomed to think of sociopaths as violent criminals like Hannibal Lechter or Ted Bundy.

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.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By C.A.B. on Aug. 5 2007
Format: Paperback
I enjoyed reading this book and learned a lot from it. Martha Stout (Ph. D.), in "The Sociopath Next Door", looks at the 1 in 25 people who are sociopaths: people who cannot love, but who are charming, easily bored, and bent on winning and domination. Also, she explores what sociopaths lack: a conscience.

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.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jenny J.J.I. TOP 100 REVIEWER on Aug. 31 2007
Format: Paperback
This book isn't bad at all, although it took me a while to get into it, I took a chance on it anyway. This book is easily read and written for the average person. My reason for reading it was purely self defense, but after I got halfway through, I found out I had dated at least one sociopath in my life. Also a good friend mine recently ended a yearly relationship with someone we can now see was a serious sociopath. He used all the tricks on her, extreme flattery, compulsive liar, unfaithful, history of sexual harassment, really didn't bond with his kids, took advantage of everyone, from family to business associates, yet sought pity from everyone, and really had no friends. That relationship drained and devastated her and left her wondering how she could have been so blind. But all along she kept ignoring her instincts and giving him the benefit of doubt, the benefit of conscience. I am sending this book to her in the hopes she can see that it wasn't her 'fault', and no, she is not dumb by any means. She just trusted someone who didn't deserve it and who was a master manipulator.

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.
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