Who is the devil you know?
Is it your lying, cheating ex-husband?
Your sadistic high school gym teacher?
Your boss who loves to humiliate people in meetings?
The colleague who stole your idea and passed it off as her own?
In the pages of The Sociopath Next Door, you will realize that your ex was not just misunderstood. He’s a sociopath. And your boss, teacher, and colleague? They may be sociopaths too.
We are accustomed to think of sociopaths as violent criminals, but in The Sociopath Next Door, Harvard psychologist Martha Stout reveals that a shocking 4 percent of ordinary people—one in twenty-five—has an often undetected mental disorder, the chief symptom of which is that that person possesses no conscience. He or she has no ability whatsoever to feel shame, guilt, or remorse. One in twenty-five everyday Americans, therefore, is secretly a sociopath. They could be your colleague, your neighbor, even family. And they can do literally anything at all and feel absolutely no guilt.
How do we recognize the remorseless? One of their chief characteristics is a kind of glow or charisma that makes sociopaths more charming or interesting than the other people around them. They’re more spontaneous, more intense, more complex, or even sexier than everyone else, making them tricky to identify and leaving us easily seduced. Fundamentally, sociopaths are different because they cannot love. Sociopaths learn early on to show sham emotion, but underneath they are indifferent to others’ suffering. They live to dominate and thrill to win.
The fact is, we all almost certainly know at least one or more sociopaths already. Part of the urgency in reading The Sociopath Next Door is the moment when we suddenly recognize that someone we know—someone we worked for, or were involved with, or voted for—is a sociopath. But what do we do with that knowledge? To arm us against the sociopath, Dr. Stout teaches us to question authority, suspect flattery, and beware the pity play. Above all, she writes, when a sociopath is beckoning, do not join the game.
It is the ruthless versus the rest of us, and The Sociopath Next Door will show you how to recognize and defeat the devil you know.
Harvard Medical School psychiatrist 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.
Customer ReviewsSee All
The Sociopath Next Door
Excellent academic work, but I would have found it more helpful if the author could have spent more time on practical solutions on how to deal with a sociopath. Say after you marry one and unfortunately have kids with the sociopath. Your not always able to distance yourself from the sociopath as the author recommends, and ideally would be optimal.
Excellent To Be Sure - But Take With A Grain Of Salt
"Forewarned is forearmed," is the great benefit to the reader of this book. It's so important in this world to know just exactly what you might be dealing with when you are investing time, making commitments, and even giving trust to people. You need to have awareness so you are not 'played the fool' by people who have personality disorders. The Author, Martha Stout, has given her well-researched book to us with qualified insight. My one reservation, be it on my own to decipher, is that I, being a Bible-believing Christian, was slightly grimacing over a few tie-in's intermingling Faith and conscience. I simply have a different viewpoint from the author's and in no way takes away from the overall value of this book.
Very good book
Very good book that everybodu should read. If you want to be convinced: just read the 1* comment from the sociopath on this book. He is the perfect example of what is wrong with them.
He is a sociopath but it’s OUR problem and WE should have to deal with it and fix him. At no point he even consider trying to work on himself to fix it even if he KNOWS he has a problem. He is alsway right and we are always wrong and should deal with it. Pretty eye opening, isn’t it?
Do yourself a favor and read this book to save yourselve time and insanity by trying to make sense how understand why sociopath are behaving like that (you can’t).