- Hardcover: 352 pages
- Publisher: HarperBusiness; 1 edition (May 9 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0060837721
- ISBN-13: 978-0060837723
- Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.9 x 22.9 cm
- Shipping Weight: 621 g
- Average Customer Review: 31 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #328,544 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths Go to Work Hardcover – May 9 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
Psychopaths are described as incapable of empathy, guilt, or loyalty to anyone but themselves; still, spotting a psychopath isn't easy. Babiak, an industrial and organizational psychologist, and Hare (Without Conscience), creator of the standard tool for diagnosing psychopathology, present a study of the psychopath in the corporate landscape. A common description of psychopathology states that subjects "know the words but not the music;" Babiak and Hare state that "a clever psychopath can present such a well-rounded picture of a perfect job candidate that even seasoned interviewers" can be fooled. In between a disposable series of narrative acts that follow a psychopath's progress ("Act I, Scene I - Grand Entrance;" "Act III, Scene II - An Honest Mistake?" "Act V, Scene I - Circle the wagons"), thorough research and anecdotes from a number of sources-current literature, news media, and showbiz among them-to illuminate the power of the psychopath to manipulate those around him, as well as what strategies can be used to identify and disarm him. Clear and complete, this is a handy overview for managers and HR, with enough "self-defense" techniques to help coworkers from getting bit.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Babiak, an industrial and organizational psychologist, and Hare, the creator of the standard tool for diagnosing psychopathy, explore the infiltration into today's corporations by psychopaths, or those with destructive personality characteristics that are invisible to many with whom they interact. Their skilled manipulation begins with a perfect interview, as they are attractive job applicants who are confident and charming. They often flourish in fast-paced, changing industries with widespread uncertainty and can inflict considerable damage. Babiak and Hare explain in nontechnical language and real-world case studies how to protect employees and the company from these individuals who take advantage of organizational systems and processes, exploit communication weaknesses, and promote interpersonal conflicts. Babiak and Hare observe, "Companies accelerate their hiring practices to attract, hire, and retain new, high-potential talent before their competitors do. Gone are the days of the painstaking vetting process. Competition is fierce and qualified candidates few." This is an important perspective in the increasingly complicated hiring challenges facing corporate America. Mary Whaley
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Top customer reviews
In reading that book, you will acquire the knowledge required to identify and protect yourself before you get burned by these remorseless and conscienceless individuals. Highly Reccomended!
I give high praises to Hare for this work on the subject. This book is well written and easy to read as well an eye opening experience. I surly would recommend this book.
Psychopaths are ruthless, emotionless, and consciousness individuals to which they only serve themselves at the expense of others. All words coming out of their mouths would be lies, and if you are appeared as "important" or special to them, it is a safe bet that they are using you.
With this book as a tool and a guide, the readers would be able to identify each pathological individual and understand them more clearly as well to protect oneself from them. I would recommend the readers to study other works that discussed with the certain aspects of the study on the psychopaths, including "Without Conscience" (by Robert Hare), "The Mask of Sanity" (by Hervey Checkley), "The Sociopath Next Door" (by Martha Stout), "In Sheep's Clothing" (by George Simon), and Andrzej Lobaczwski's "Political Ponerology." With these works, one will have a good deal of working knowledge of the phenomenon of psychopaths in our world, in our governments, in our workplace, in our neighborhood, and even in our homes.
Having said that, I felt rather disappointed with the hypothetical characters that were used in the case studies. I can readily understand the restrictions the authors felt they were under in using actual people, but the lack of authenticity decreased my interest. There were times that I felt the authors manipulated the case study characters to fit their thesis (ironic when one considers that they are discussing manipulative sociopaths).
I think this book would serve those working in upper management and/or human resources in a large corporation quite well, but I can not recommend it to the casual reader. Overall, it was readable, but I can not say I was particularly excited by the final result.
Babiak and Hare demonstrate that psychopaths are masters of adopting a "mask of sanity" (a term coined by Hervey Cleckley in his masterpiece, "The Mask of Sanity"); that is they are extremely effective at impression management. They are con artists who can fool even the experts, donning whatever persona is needed to manipulate their victims.
If you can be of value to the social striving of a subclinical psychopath, you can bet that he will convince you of his good intentions, his honour, his kind nature, etc. But it is a lie. He is simply using you.
"Snakes in Suits" examines psychopaths in the corporate workplace: how to spot them and how to deal with them. But its lessons are applicable to a bigger picture. The moral relativism inherent in our Capitalist system is the perfect opening for opportunistic psychopaths to rise to the top.
And as the authors show, this can never be a good thing. Psychopaths are untalented narcissists who profit only on the work of others. And in a political environment, this can be disastrous. Witness, for example, the historical phenomena of Nazism and Stalinism, systems of government in which psychopaths occupied all positions of authority.
Without a general understanding of the reality of psychopathy, they will continue to operate freely, causing misery and suffering for their victims (more numerous by the day). "Snakes in Suits" should be read along with Lobaczewski's "Political Ponerology", an analysis of systems of government in which psychopaths rule. Both books contain information urgently needed not only by ordinary citizens, but by anyone in a leadership position.
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