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The Psychopath Inside: A Neuroscientist's Personal Journey into the Dark Side of the Brain Hardcover – Nov 5 2013


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The Psychopath Inside: A Neuroscientist's Personal Journey into the Dark Side of the Brain + Confessions of a Sociopath: A Life Spent Hiding in Plain Sight + Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Current Hardcover (Nov. 5 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591846005
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591846000
  • Product Dimensions: 23.1 x 15.5 x 3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 399 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #36,392 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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By Pen Name on July 1 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Well written and very interesting . . . the writter describes how he discover who he was and how it changed his life. it was a great read!
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By Prairie Reader on April 28 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Really great read, this subject fascinates me do any new books on the subject are great. I hope more reading becomes available.
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By Jenafor Camren on March 9 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I found this book fascinating. There is so much information, it has to be read several times. I think I have met several psychopaths and people that are bi-polar.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 88 reviews
267 of 309 people found the following review helpful
Superficial, simplistic and self-serving Oct. 31 2013
By Karen Franklin - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
The Psychopath Inside revolves around a single event. It began in 2004, when the author, a retired professor of anatomy and neurobiology, was asked by controversial psychiatrist Daniel Amen to analyze PET brain scans of about 50 killers. Amen had characterized some of his subjects as impulsive killers; others, as psychopaths. When Fallon did a blind analysis, he was able to distinguish between the two groups based on the psychopaths' pattern of brain activation. Primarily, they showed a diminished level of activity in the limbic cortex, which regulates emotion. (While not giving precise data on his accuracy, the never-modest author assures us that he "nailed it.") The following year, he discovered by happenstance that he himself shared that same abnormal pattern of brain activity.

Unfortunately, this hook is far too thin to sustain an entire book. So we end up with a convoluted mishmash: Lengthy expositions on brain anatomy and genetics, alternating with superficial musings on his own personal history. We learn that he is a cad: He partied too hard in college, he flirts with other women, he disappoints friends and colleagues, he puts family members in dangerous situations. Worst of all, he confesses, he just doesn't care. All this, he conveniently blames on his defective brain.

But, as every student of science knows, an "N of 1" does not a convincing case make. We don't know the base rate of this type of brain functioning among the normal population, or among academics or researchers such as Fallon. All we know is that his brain was similar to some unspecified proportion of 50 brain scans of killers. He attempts to bolster his case by dredging up the murderous proclivities of some far distant ancestors, saying they likely carried the "warrior gene" that programs for violence. But who among us, at least those of us of Anglo-Saxon heritage, couldn't find murderous ancestors if we searched hard enough? Again, we aren't privy to the base rates of violence among males in the times and places that his ancestors inhabited.

The current cultural obsession with psychopathy has allowed Fallon to make a second career out of his accidental discovery. With his superficially compelling first-person account, he has become a self-anointed expert on the psychopathic brain, appearing on TV shows including an episode of the CBS crime series Criminal Minds. His rigid genetic determinism fits well with the dark and fatalistic vision of humanity that dominates in this era of mass incarceration. By rooting criminality in biology, the iconic psychopath foregrounds intrinsic evil, thereby marginalizing social problems and excusing institutional failures at rehabilitation. (For more on the debate over the nature of psychopathy, see NPR's "Expert Panel: Weighing the Value of a Test for Psychopaths.")

Ultimately, The Psychopath Inside demonstrates Fallon's intimate familiarity with brain circuitry and functioning. But it also exposes his startling ignorance of the larger historical and cultural forces that influence human behavior.
21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
The double benefit of this book Jan. 20 2014
By Richard Mckenzie - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Full disclosure: I am a colleague and friend of Jim Fallon, which means I got a double benefit from reading The Psychopath Inside. I learned much about the brain of a psychopath, but just as important, I learned something about why Jim feels compelled to live life as fully as humanly possible. As the reviewers note, his book is different. In his attempt to reveal the mind (or is it the "brain"?) of a high functioning socio-psychopath, Jim confesses to personal behaviors and attitudes that few others would. Contrary to what other readers presumed, this book is not an attempt to undertake "science." Rather, the book is a memoir of the life of a scientist who discovered that he has the problem that he has studied for many years as a neuroscientist, which means he offers two sources of insight.

The book raised a bunch of puzzles for me, one of which is this: How can Jim Fallon reconcile his self-professed libertarian political views with determinism (under which people's behavior is 100 percent determined by genetic and environmental forces outside of their control). Might not their political propensities also be determined? Maybe he can't help himself? Will have to raise the issue with Jim.
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Interesting But..... Jan. 4 2014
By Yael Ellis - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Writer was so self absorbed, it was irritating. Also he could have said the same in much less time, there was too much fluff and repetition. A lot of what he uses as examples of psychopathy are normal variants of emotion and behavior. I believe he is trying to fit his actions to match his theories, why not just say his theories are not hard science?
30 of 36 people found the following review helpful
A Psychopathic Author Manipulates His Audience Nov. 30 2013
By Sylvie F. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
James Fallon tries to make a case for why having no capacity for feeling guilt, empathy and real love is a good thing. He gloats over the intoxicating charm of psychopaths, "Maybe an old maid who's been good all her life wants to have that one super-wild fling so she can feel she's lived her life fully." Yeah, that's right Jim, risky behavior with a psychopath can be a real fun time. This is a most disgusting, self-serving work cloaked in the guise of scientific and self discovery.

I will write a longer review later, when I can stomach it.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
awful Feb. 15 2014
By MorningStar - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It was quite evident that the author is a self centered psychopath banging his own drum. I was bored and disappointed in this book

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