Book review: The Psychopath Test

With a book dedicated to analyzing psychopaths, a group that often brings to mind stereotypical terms such as ‘deranged,’ ‘emotionless’ and ‘dangerous,’ it is hard not to be attracted to it.

I was half expecting to read about the infamous Jack the Ripper or some other brutal serial killers, only to have author Jon Ronson dig deep into the mind boggling business for psychopaths.

“I remembered those psychologists who said psychopaths made the world go around. They meant it: society was, they claimed, an expression of that particular sort of madness.”

Starting off with the most widely used diagnostic test for psychopathy, the Hare Psychopathy Checklist, which the book’s title is based on, Ronson laid the foundation with an ‘official’ definition.

“Psychopaths are predators who use charm, manipulation, intimidation, sex and violence to control others and to satisfy their own selfish needs,” Bob Hare, creator of the Hare Psychopathy Checklist wrote. “Lacking in conscience and empathy, they take what they want and do as they please.”

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