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Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us

4.03 of 5 stars 4.03  ·  rating details  ·  5,070 ratings  ·  324 reviews
Are psychopaths born without empathy, or created by circumstance? Based on 25 years of groundbreaking research, this fascinating book is "of exceptional value to anyone wishing to . . . guard against these baffling predators" (Joseph Wambaugh). "A brilliant, in-depth handling of a most complex subject".--Hugh Aynesworth (Conversations with a Killer).
Kindle Edition, 260 pages
Published September 19th 2011 by Guilford Press (first published November 1st 1993)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Dr. Robert Hare: This book is about psychopaths...

Sarah: With hearts of gold?

DRH: No, they're pretty heartless, actually.

Sarah: Because they need love?

DRH: No. They're clinical psychopaths.

Sarah: Aw. They must be so sad.

DRH: Not really.

Sarah: So, basically, what you're saying here is...they'll change? I can change them?

DRH: You're an unbelievable idiot.

Sarah: I love you. Call me!

But seriously...
I do kinda wish this book had gone into a bit more depth: psychopathy as a neurological state, psychop
Debbie "DJ" Wilson
I really enjoyed listening to this one. The author would make a statement, then provide numerous examples. Totally debunked my idea of a psychopath. Psychopaths lack empathy, but are experts at covering this flaw. While most are not killers, those that are, are the ones we hear most about as their lack of empathy leads to the most grizzly of murders. Most psychopaths are world class con artists tricking even the best psychiatrists. While there is no single test, what I found the most interesting ...more
I was watching Doctor Who yesterday, and the Doctor, ever the optimist, said something like, “people are good, down in their bones”.


Nice thought.

What about the psychopaths, though?

In Without Conscience, Robert Hare posits that there are some 2million psychopaths in the United States (and approximately 20% of the prison population is comprised of psychopaths). It’s something that doesn’t necessarily correlate with childhood abuse; some people are just bad, down in their bones. Of course, the
Moral of the story 1: No hope for psychopaths.
Moral of the story 2: No hope for me if I get involved with a psychopath.
Jun 09, 2008 Maureen rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
Recommended to Maureen by: Craig Haney
Shelves: psychology
Dr. Robert Hare has a theory he calls "psychopathy," that he uses to describes anyone whose behavior doesn't conform to his standards. He has tried for years to get it into the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, the psychiatrists' and psychologists' main reference work. Its editors have rejected Dr. Hare's proposition as being too vague. Still, people will read this and think that their landlord or the guy next to them on the bus is a psychopath. I have read many useful psychological evaluation ...more
Oh, you gotta read this. Excellent descriptions and explanation of psychological method. Horrifying interviews. I've met these people and you have, too. On the downside, ain't nuthin we can do about it. Except pack heat, maybe.
I don't regret reading (actually listening) to this book, but I am glad I am finished. A psychopath is born that way and will probably always be that way and will make your life hell. No hopeful treatment options offered. The best the author could do was offer advice on how to spot psychopathic behavior and avoid becoming ensnared in their manipulation.

The author uses this book as a platform for promoting the Hare Psychopathy Checklist, a tool for diagnosing psychopathy. Setting aside the comple
Jan 03, 2015 David rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: psychopath whisperers, people who haven't read Martha Stout
This was not a very good book. Having listened to several audiobooks about psychopaths, notably Martha Stout's The Sociopath Next Door and Jon Ronson's The Psychopath Test, I think the lesson learned here is that journalists are better writers than academics.

Criminal psychologist Robert Hare is famous for having devised the Hare Psychopathy Checklist, which is referenced several times by Stout and Ronson. However, in this book he spends entirely too much time talking about how much research he's
Robert D. Hare’s Without Conscience is an excellent read and great comprehensive overview of the world of Psychopaths. It is extremely well-written and simplified enough for laypersons to fully understand all of Hare’s research and findings. Most academic works are usually full of jargon and difficult for the everyday person to read and understand, but not this book.

Hare clearly and evidently wanted this information to be readily accessible and available to all. His many years of research and
Scary book, but one that may be of some help should we ever fall prey to a psychopath in our lives. Psychopaths are probably hard-wired that way from birth which is why treatment (at least so far) cannot change them. They have distinct characteristics in common with each other and Dr. Hare and his colleagues have created a test to determine whether or not any given individual is actually a psychopath, one of which is an amazing ability to "read" unsuspecting persons, discover their weaknesses an ...more
An excellent analysis of the much-misunderstood problem that is variously called antisocial personality disorder, sociopathy, or psychopathy, by the clinician who developed the best and most used test to diagnose this condition, the Hare Psychopathy Checklist. Dr. Hare explains what it means to be a sociopath or to be stuck dealing with one, what makes them tick and what to expect from them. Knowledge is power, and the information in this book makes it possible to recognize sociopathic people mu ...more
I decided to step outside my typical reading pattern and read this book about Psychopaths. Overall, it provides a clear overview of Psychopathy, its symptoms, and its devastating impacts. Perhaps more interesting to me, were the implications psychopaths had on ethical theories, law, justice, and religious teachings.

Psychopaths are not well in-tuned to their emotions. As such, their world of right and wrong is determined by what they can get away with and what they cannot. It has no ethical foun
The problem with this book can perhaps be blamed on Hare's acknowledgement in his preface: i would like to thank (...) and Suzanne Lipsett for showing me how to convert technical material into readable prose. Yes, it's quite readable (thanks to Suzanne?) but altogether too anecdotal throughout 3/4 or more of the book. Hare is one of the leading experts on psychopathy, so the semi dumbed-down tone of the book and countless examples of psychopathic behavior taken from popular sources (true crime ...more
Okay, maybe you have to be a psychologist to appreciate this, but I thought it was fascinating. Wait: No, I don't think you have to be a psychologist to appreciate this -- it's just fascinating how nasty and evil people can be!

If this kind of thing intrigues you (all you people out there who like to read about real-life serial killers, this is for you!), then don't hesitate to pick up. Again, fascinating!
Mark Jaworski
Hope that Dr. Hare would prepare ten minutes UTube to let everyone know how to recognize psychopaths before they ruin our marriages, homes and businesses. Too much complements and eyes of the snake predator are the best warning signs.
I wish I knew that before.
I rated it three stars for liked it, because it was interesting, entertaining reading. What it was not was a serious psychology book.

Hare tells some real life stories of his experience with psychopaths which are interesting and informative, but a large part of the book is speculation and conjecture. As noted in other reviews, he often references popular movies, many of them fictional, for discussion. When he's not referencing movies, he's referencing true crime literature. Granted, some of the b
Without Conscience provides a thorough examination of the condition of psychopathy. Written by Robert Hare, a pioneer and authority of the field, the book is held in high regard by other professionals, and yet is easily understood by the layman.

The book explores psychopathy through numerous case studies, most drawn from the criminal world, and also presents the Psychopathy Checklist, the primary diagnostic tool used to assess the disorder. The book also explores issues of personal significance t
Diana Damas
Aunque el libro de Robert D.Hare está escrito mucho antes de la actual crisis, y su tema central es la psicopatía y no la economía, me apeteció releerlo porque arroja una interesante luz sobre cómo hemos llegado a la situación actual. Por supuesto, la facilidad con la que los psicópatas pueden llegar a puestos de responsabilidad en las grandes empresas que dirigen las economías mundiales es solo uno de muchos factores, pero no creo que sea en absoluto despreciable.

Además de la chapucera gestión
Jul 12, 2009 H. rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: 20-somethings
Recommended to H. by: Amazon ratings
According to some light Googling, Dr. Hare appears to remain an authority on the subject of psychopathy along with having laid much of the framework, as presented in this 1993 work, for the way the syndrome is currently studied. His perspective is satisfyingly unsympathetic and clinical, the subject matter undeniably fascinating, and the style of writing decent and smooth. It reads like what I would imagine pop science from 15 years ago would--in tone it is not overly slick or full of buzz-words ...more
Mike (the Paladin)
Not the first book I've read on this subject. It probably won't be the last. When I first read the numbers on psychopaths and/or sociopaths among us I found it more than a little disturbing.

This book (Professor Hare) does a good job of laying out the condition and describing "what it is". He is noted for developing the "Psychopathy Checklist", considered the surest way to diagnose a psychopath. He discusses the difference in Psychopathy and sociopathy (something I hadn't clearly grasped even th
Aug 31, 2008 Tyler rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lawmakers; Needy and Greedy People
Recommended to Tyler by: Various Goodreads Reviews
Shelves: non-fiction
It’s in a everyone’s interest to learn about the people in society who take more out of it than any other group – who take and take, in fact, and never give anything back but grief and pain.

Among us these people dwell, devoid of conscience and probably born that way. This book identifies the traits of psychopaths and explores their thinking. It's an early study, introducing us to the subject as it was understood by the 90's. It gives advice on how to recognize and protect oneself from a psychopa
Robert D. Hare's book is well-written and elegantly structured, achieving a balance between being comprehensible and informative to the layman while still being enlightening to those with a depth of knowledge in the field of psychopathy -- largely because it gathers together a comprehensive look at this mysterious disorder.

The first chapter, "Experiencing the Psychopath," brings together anecdotes and excerpts from case studies about what it is like to encounter a psychopath, while chapter 2, "F
A good overview of what psychopathy is--basically, the lack of feeling and moral conscience--from a psychologist who worked with psychopathic offenders in prison and who developed the diagnostic tool that has since become the standard. The book is somewhat of a plug for his then-recently developed tool, called The Psychopathy Checklist. He makes it quite clear that he believes that psychopaths have freedom of choice, they're aware of social rules even if they don't feel the emotional force behin ...more
K.C. May
I found this book and its subject matter absolutely fascinating. The author presents the subject of psychopathy in layman's terms so those of us without a Ph.D. in Psychology can easily follow. He comes across as the expert that he is, with decades of hands-on experience working with psychopaths and doing research into the disorder. While the subject matter is chilling, it's a necessary read for those who've been in contact with someone who fits the description. Although the book is a little rep ...more
Linda  Branham Greenwell
This book was written in 1993... I have seen some more recent research on psychopaths and how their brains actually process information and emotions differently on an MRI/CT scan. BUT... having said this this book really good description behavioral information about psychopaths
I especially liked how Dr. Hare describes psychopaths as seeing themselves as the real victims, and their convoluted thinking mechanisms that they use to explain this belief to others.
Near the end of the book he explains w
Well, if I had to read this in college, it's better than a textbook! The case studies keep it a bit more interesting but sometimes they become too much too. I skipped some parts but I read more than I would have if I were still in college...or even grad school for that matter! :) Interesting theory on back to fiction for me!

Wait I do have more to add...I do think the author was a bit over dramatic about how concerned we should be about psychopaths in our own circles...Yes be sc
Dorothy Mccoy
Dr. Robert Hare is a well-known authority on psychopaths. Once you have met a psychopath (1% of the population) you won't find Dr. Hare's book alarmist or overstated. He does a very good job of describing a psychopath--if you want to know more about these interesting individuals read another of Dr. Hare's books on the subject, Snakes in Suits. If you are a woman and have met a psychopath or are wondering if you have, read my book, written for women, The Manipulative Man (McCoy, 2006).

We owe a g
Holy crap. This is a disturbing book. Hare does exactly what he set out to do in this book: inform the public about the nature and frequency of psychopathy in our current society. He does so without resorting to sensationalism or lurid details. The most eye opening aspect of the book was the careful explanation of the many non-murderous types of psychopaths (sociopaths) that are out there. It's not all sexually sadistic serial killers--there are a plethora of disturbed individuals out there with ...more
Have you ever had someone in your life, or the lives of loved ones or friends, who left devastation and wreckage everywhere he went, a chronic liar and con-artist, manipulative and completely without empathy or concern for anyone else, who made a shambles of people's lives for no particularly good reason? If so, that individual might have been a psychopath.

Most people regard psychopaths as cold-blooded, conscienceless murderers of the sort that increasingly star in movies, television programs, a
This is an interesting, if a bit dated, book by Robert Hare that describes the world of psychopaths among us. Hare does a good job of describing the characteristics of psychopaths, and why it is such a disturbing phenomenon. There is a level of intrigue concerning such individuals, and Hare does a good job of explaining it. I suppose the most disappointing part of the book, and this is not a reflection on Hare, is that getting to the roots of the problem and treating these people is extremely di ...more
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Psychopaths are among us 4 55 Jan 06, 2015 05:07PM  
Non-Fiction Enthu...: October Group Read 1 4 12 Oct 12, 2014 01:28PM  
  • The Mask of Sanity
  • The Anatomy of Evil
  • Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths Go to Work
  • Predators: Pedophiles, Rapists, And Other Sex Offenders
  • The Myth of Sanity: Divided Consciousness and the Promise of Awareness
  • The Science of Evil: On Empathy and the Origins of Cruelty
  • Inside the Criminal Mind
  • In Sheep's Clothing: Understanding and Dealing with Manipulative People
  • The Psychopath: Emotion and the Brain
  • Sexual Homicide: Patterns and Motives
  • Crime Classification Manual: A Standard System for Investigating and Classifying Violent Crimes
  • Dark Dreams: Sexual Violence, Homicide And The Criminal Mind
  • Emotional Vampires: Dealing with People Who Drain You Dry
  • Female Serial Killers: How and Why Women Become Monsters
  • Guilty by Reason of Insanity: A Psychiatrist Explores the Minds of Killers
  • High Risk: Children Without A Conscience
  • The Boy Who Couldn't Stop Washing: The Experience and Treatment of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
  • The Unknown Darkness: Profiling the Predators Among Us
Psychopathy: Theory, Research and Implications for Society The Hare Psychopathy Checklist Psychopathic Behaviour: Approaches to Research Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths Go to Work Psychopathy: Theory, Research and Implications for Society (Nato Science Series D: (closed))

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“He will choose you, disarm you with his words, and control you with his presence. He will delight you with his wit and his plans. He will show you a good time but you will always get the bill. He will smile and deceive you, and he will scare you with his eyes. And when he is through with you, and he will be through with you, he will desert you and take with him your innocence and your pride. You will be left much sadder but not a lot wiser, and for a long time you will wonder what happened and what you did wrong. And if another of his kind comes knocking on your door, will you open it?

-From an essay signed "A psychopath in prison”
“The first victim of war is the truth.” 3 likes
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