BOOK: The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through The Madness Industry
AUTHOR: Jon Ronson
Jon Ronson’s book sets out to bring light to the dark world of psychopathy, but unfortunately loses its way at times with his exploration into a seemingly unrelated hoax being pulled on top scientists. The Psychopath Test begins with Ronson being called in to consult on what is believed to be an elaborate trick derived from the twisted mind of a psychopath (the hoax involves a mysterious text send to many of top researchers – that’s about as exciting as it gets). This whets his palate for psychopaths and the real meat of the story starts.
Through his exploration, he comes into contact with a convicted felon currently serving time in a state asylum for the criminally insane after faking craziness in court to avoid real jail time. One glitch: now he can’t prove himself sane and, thus, is stuck indefinitely in this asylum. Ronson is not convinced, but launches into an overview of the various studies designed to prove that it is stunningly easy to act your way into a mental hospital but almost impossible to prove yourself sane once there. Interesting, but not captivating.
The Psychopath Test plods along and covers everything from the likelihood of psychopathy in corporate moguls (including an interview with a head honcho who takes sick pleasure from firing people) to past treatment techniques such as nude LSD based therapy with peers. Again, this is interesting but the writing doesn’t fully pull the reader into his world like I believe it could have done.
Overall, The Psychopath Test doesn’t even begin to live up to the excitement promised through the title. It’s not a bad read, it’s just not a page turner.
However, for your personal edification I will include the 20 point psychopath quiz. Let’s hope you and your loved one’s pass!
Hare PCL-R Checklist:
1- Glibness/superficial charm
2- Grandiose sense of self worth
3- Need for stimulation/proneness to boredom
4- Pathological lying
6- Lack of remorse or guilt
7- Shallow affect
8- Callous/lack of empathy
9- Parasitic lifestyle
10- Poor behavioral controls
11- Promiscuous sexual behavior
12- Early behavior problems
13- Lack of realistic long term goals
16- Failure to accept responsibility for own actions
17- Many short term marital relationships
18- Juvenile delinquency
19- Revocation of conditional release
20- Criminal versatility