The Sunday Times top-ten bestseller from the author of The Men Who Stare at Goats
"The belly laughs come thick and fast - my God, he is funny . . . Ronson's new book is provocative and interesting, and you will, I guarantee, zip merrily through it" Observer
What if society wasn't fundamentally rational, but was motivated by insanity? This thought sets Jon Ronson on an utterly compelling adventure into the world of madness.
Along the way, Jon meets psychopaths, those whose lives have been touched by madness and those whose job it is to diagnose it, including the influential psychologist who developed the Psychopath Test, from whom Jon learns the art of psychopath-spotting. A skill which seemingly reveals that madness could indeed be at the heart of everything . . .
Combining Jon Ronson's trademark humour, charm and investigative incision, The Psychopath Test is both entertaining and honest, unearthing dangerous truths and asking serious questions about how we define normality in a world where we are increasingly judged by our maddest edges.
In this engrossing exploration of psychiatry's attempts to understand and treat psychopathy, British journalist Ronson (whose The Men Who Stare at Goats was the basis for the 2009 movie starring George Clooney) reveals that psychopaths are more common than we'd like to think. Visiting Broadmoor Psychiatric Hospital, where some of Britain's worst criminal offenders are sent, Ronson discovers the difficulties of diagnosing the complex disorder when he meets one inmate who says he feigned psychopathy to get a lighter sentence, and instead has spent 12 years in Broadmoor. The psychiatric community's criteria for diagnosing psychopathy (which isn't listed in its handbook, DSM-IV) is a checklist developed by the Canadian prison psychologist Robert Hare. Using Hare's rubric, which includes "glibness," "grandiose sense of self-worth," and "lack of remorse," Ronson sets off to interview possible psychopaths, many of them in positions of power, from a former Haitian militia leader to a power-hungry CEO. Raising more questions than it answers, and far from a dry medical history lesson, this book brings droll wit to buoy this fascinating journey through "the madness business."
Customer ReviewsSee All
This was terrific
I really enjoyed this book - gave such interesting insight. Extremely entertaining! Would definitely recommend to others.
Riveting stories combined with thought provoking material, presented in a beautifully personal and often blatantly honest style, which has in my humble opinion resulted in a wonderfully orchestrated synergy between science, art and history. Ironically perhaps, demonstrates a brutal collision between the same?
Will Self got me here. His cover blurb and review in The Guardian were just too interesting. This is a brilliant and disturbing book. Hilarious and thought provoking in equal measures. Surreal. Surreal because the thoroughly engaging manner in which it is written continually makes you wonder whether it is fact or fiction. Or both.
I, too, laughed out loud several times. It's a rock and roll roller coaster of a ride. Thrillingly immediate. In it's own curious way, as refreshingly unique as Joseph Heller' Catch-22. Unforgettable.