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People of the Lie Paperback – Jan 2 1998

4.0 out of 5 stars 97 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone; 2nd edition edition (Jan. 2 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684848597
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684848594
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 2 x 21 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 23 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 97 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,490 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

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.

From AudioFile

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.


Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
M. Scott Peck is an excellent author who provides much needed insight into the human psyche. Here, he focuses on that which he calls malignant narcissism, or more plainly, evil people. The book does have a religious overtone, as is to be expected; but it is not overpowering. A very insightful and useful look into the darker side of human nature.
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Format: Paperback
I remember picking this book up about 5 years ago and scanning through the first couple of chapters thinking to myself, "What is this guy talking about? I can't even fathom people that act like this." It just didn't ring true because my experience had not seen the likes of what he was trying to explain.
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!
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Format: Paperback
The most interesting part of this book was its subject matter, being written in 1984 its very relevant today. Hardly anyone discussed working with these type of clients back then. Its subject matter is essentially individuals with malignant, pathological, cureless, hopeless, narcissism. I used to work in this field so I remember working with identical individuals, in fact my own versions came to mind when reading it. Like Peck, i came to write people like this off just as much for my own sake - they have this unconscious or conscious need to suck your soul dry, for whatever reason, like some intense trauma - because they are so destructive. Where Peck is so accurate, almost prescient, as modern psychology today largely doesnt acknowledge the destructiveness of these type of people, is their subtleness, how an insidious subtext guides their behavior in very subtle ways and how it can be very hard to pick up on. He is bang on in talking about these kind of people and how exhausting they are. Reading this book though solidified for me his premise is completely out to lunch; its a product of its time (the 80s) when christianity still held some sway in society and in public discourse. Now 30+ years later, it doesnt. These people arent evil, they are profoundly messed up for a variety of reasons. Where he is right is that then, and still today, the field has developed no way of engaging these people therapeutically apart from warning people about them, teaching others how to handle them, and staying away from their destructiveness. his experience coupled with mine says that this response pattern seems to be the product of a hardwired biological defense mechanism for some to avoid pain, intense pain from the early years of life. There is nothing religious/moral about the subject matter.Read more ›
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I believe this book ought to be required reading for anyone who's considering becoming a parent, considering being born to a parent or a pair of them, contemplating being a brother, sister aunt or uncle or maybe having a wife, husband or friend.
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'.
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I read and enjoyed The Road Less Traveled, but I think Peck went off the deep end with this one.
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.
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