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The Anatomy of Motive: The FBI's Legendary Mindhunter Explores The Key To Understanding And Catching Violent Criminals

4.12  ·  Rating Details ·  2,971 Ratings  ·  123 Reviews
Why? In this eagerly anticipated new book from the international bestselling authors of "Mindhunter, Journey into Darkness," and "Obsession," legendary crime fighter John Douglas explores the root of all crime -- "motive."

Every crime is a mystery story with a motive at its heart. Understand the motive and you can solve the mystery. "The Anatomy of Motive" offers a dramatic
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published 1999 by Scribner
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Nov 20, 2015 Shaun rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
To look at my reading list, you might think I have an unhealthy fascination with the morbid. But the truth is my fascination, or rather intense interest, is the biological basis for belief and ultimately behavior. In short, why do we believe the things we believe (particularly the silly things) and why do we do the things that we do (particularly the bad ones).

The book was written (with some help from Mark Olshaker) by John Douglas, a famous former FBI profiler who helped to shape profiling into
Cooper Cooper
Aug 16, 2009 Cooper Cooper rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
John Douglas, co-founder of the FBI’s behavioral sciences profiling unit, served as the model for John Crawford in The Silence of the Lambs. Since the movie, Douglas and some of his co-profilers of violent criminals have flooded the market with books on the subject. The Anatomy of Motive is a good one: it defines and analyzes what makes such offenders tick, illustrating throughout with real-world cases, some of them (for example, Cunanan, Son of Sam, the Unabomber) well-known to the general pub ...more
Aug 06, 2012 Robert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Writers often go to many lengths, in the name of research, to produce quality fiction for their readers. THE ANATOMY OF MOTIVE proved a rather enjoyable read, as I delved into the minds of serial killers, spree killers, and mass murderers. This book’s approach proved perfect for my research endeavor. It described the crimes that took place, analyzed many high profile incidents, and then it delved into the mind of the man or woman that would commit such an act. It ended with a series of four case ...more
I was really impressed by John Douglas's books (together with Mark Olshaker) 'Mindhunter' and "Journey into Darkness' when I read them years ago. It was interesting to follow his career in the FBI as the first ever criminal profiler as well as his detailed explanation about the motives behind the different crimes he had encountered. This book, however, did not seem to attain the same level of excellence as its predecessors. I found the facts and information to be rather dryly delivered. Maybe an ...more
Agatha Glowacki
Dec 05, 2016 Agatha Glowacki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very detailed and excellent book based on actual cases and research. Great companion to shows like Criminal Minds; like a study guide to each episode. Very intense, though, and dense. I found it a bit overwhelming at times, and hard to get through. But lots of great insights important to know.

Just some notes another review shared that I wanted to keep to remember the key points of the book:

*Basic Formula. Douglas’s basic formula for solving crimes = Why? + How? = Who.

*Classification of Multipl
I think Douglas and Olshaker wrote this for people getting into law enforcement, but this is a great book for anyone--particularly writers--struggling to understand the mindset of a psychopath. Though Douglas never uses the word, most of the cases he worked on--including the Unabomber--involve psychopaths. (This doesn't mean that all psychopaths are murderers, or even criminals. Psychopathy is a mindset of control, and I think we've all known psychopaths who, by legal markers, would be considere ...more
Oct 13, 2015 Sheila rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reread2015, owned
Have I never reviewed this before? I've read it like three times. Huh.

John Douglas, along with fellow profiler Robert K. Ressler and forensic nurse Robert K. Ressler, put together the Crime Classification Manual: A Standard System for Investigating and Classifying Violent Crimes as a reference manual for law enforcement to apply the basics of profiling to their cases.

This book is a narrative form of the above - less into the specific details, more about stories that exemplify each category. Some
Cath Murphy
Essential reading for anyone who wants to understand criminal profiling. Especially eery because Douglas' analysis of Timothy McVeigh, who set off the Oklahoma bomb exactly matches the personality of Anders Breivik, who bombed and shot 84 people in Norway last year.
Casey Keen
May 08, 2013 Casey Keen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Again, John Douglas' books are the best when it comes to true crime facts of motives, operation and FBI techniques. I love his books!
Nicole Langlois
Sep 23, 2013 Nicole Langlois rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Anatomy of Motive – The FBI’s Legendary Mindhunter Explores the Key to Understanding and Catching Violent Criminals by: John Douglas and Mark Olshaker

Date of Publication: June 1st, 1999

Genre: Nonfiction

Setting: Around the world, especially within the United States and the United Kingdom.

Characters: In this book, there were no main characters, only supplementary characters to add example to the concepts and theories described by Douglas and Olshaker. The story was presented from the first-han
Christine Marie
Dec 22, 2016 Christine Marie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this years ago, and still use it as reference! Great, informative read.
Well, now! This was quite an enjoyable read. The authors write in a way that is engaging as well as informative, though I can't say I learned all that much as a psychology major (pretty much everything in this book is now taught in various introductory and undergraduate-level psychology courses). Nonetheless, the authors were articulate without falling too far into the endless rabbit hole that can be technobabble. Behavioral science/forensics can often be tricky to discuss correctly, as the conc ...more
This book was recommended to me by someone who's family is in law enforcement, after she found out how much I love reading books about serial murderers and profiling. She indicated that this one was not the best from this author, since his first, Mindhunter: Inside the FBI's Elite Serial Crime Unit, was well received. Unfortunately, Mindhunter was not available on Kindle, so I bought this one to read on Kindle while waiting for Mindhunter DTB to arrive.

The beginning of the book was quite interes
Oct 25, 2011 Laura rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2005
This was an absolutely fascinating book, full of case studies and examples of criminal behavior. The author breaks the book down into the following chapters, each dealing with a specific type of criminal behavior:

1) What I Learned From the Bad Guys
2) Playing With Fire
3) Magnum Force
4) Name Your Poison
5) Guys Who Snap
6) On the Run
7) Shadow of a Gunman
8) Random Acts of Violence
9) You Make the Call

Good stuff in between these pages, especially for anyone intereted into gaining some insight into the
Jun 03, 2014 Beej rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I picked up this book after reading John's debut, Mindhunter, and as a whole I think I prefer this book over the first. Mindhunter helped to establish a relationship between the reader and John, and engage in his development both as a young man and a professional psychologist.

That was a much needed introduction, but as it had already been made, this book jumped straight into the criminology and victimology that the demographic of this book will thrive on.

I felt the profiles and motives on the
Brian Mathieu
May 27, 2013 Brian Mathieu rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: criminology
I'm somewhat new to the true-crime genre, and what fascinates me above all other aspects is the mindset of certain violent criminals. What drives them, what satisfaction do they get from their acts, why do they do it? We all can understand how crime-for-profit can go wrong, but what about serial killers, or the gunman in the clock tower? This book is effectively a series of real life case studies, and is broken into chapters by crime type (rape, kidnapping, product tampering, spree killing, etc) ...more
Mar 10, 2013 Teresa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In "Anatomy of Motive," John Douglas and Mark Olshaker take you deep into the world of an FBI profiler by examining the motives which lead one criminal to bomb someone while another begins setting fires and yet another poisons someone.

Douglas, one of the FBI's premiere profilers and upon whom much of Thomas Harris's character Jack Crawford was based in the "Red Dragon"/"Silence of the Lambs"/"Hannibal" trilogy was based, takes the reader deep into headline making cases such as the Tylenol murder
Oct 14, 2008 Sam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There was a time when I wanted to be in the FBI as a criminal psychologist/profiler. This book was one of the driving forces behind that desire. It's expertly written with a down-to-earth tone, chronically one FBI agents quest to understanding serial killers and pathological murders. Though the subject matter is intense and often disturbing, John Douglas comes across as a simple and decent man driven to understand his enemy more than condemn. The key to any criminal case is finding and understan ...more
May 10, 2013 M rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: best-of-2013
As gripping as a one-to-one lecture from Herr Hotchner himself...

Okay, maybe not that gripping...

I first read John Douglas's 'Mindhunter' when I was sitting on a tube train in 1996 going to visit my then boyfriend. I forget what happened with the boyfriend, but I remember how gripped I was by Douglas's writing. I've had this book in my house for years (the pages have even turned that lovely shade of yellow) but, like the boyfriend, had forgotten about it. A week off work and the subsequent overd
Todd Sullivan
How much you enjoy this book will likely depend on how much you enjoy the thought of climbing into the minds of violent criminals to try to understand how they tick -- fascinating for those with an interest, but maybe not a subject intended for everyone.

While 'The Anatomy of Motive' reads as a fairly academic book, it does manage to keep itself from being too dry, perhaps as a result of its subject (and subjects). John Douglas is very good at explaining how criminals from both the recent and dis
B.L. Aldrich
Nov 18, 2013 B.L. Aldrich rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this one, probably more than I should have enjoyed a book about violent criminals, but there it is. I enjoyed Douglas and Olshaker's practical approach to the subject. It prevented the dark subject matter from distracting the reader from the book's goal: learning to understand the "why" behind the crimes. It's an informative read for the minor crime enthusiest, but I'll go out on a limb and call it a useful read for fiction writers who want a foundation for creating believable c ...more
Jan 07, 2015 Swati rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book is going to make one addicted to behavioural psychology and one can't prevent self from craving for more! It's filled with many real life examples which the author(FBI chief behaviour profiler) came across in his highly accomplished career. Certain extracts seem to be taken directly from his personal diary wherein author maintains every small detail related to subject and then finally wields it to prepare behaviour mould for different individuals which ultimately helps FBI to catch the ...more
Emily Long
Retired FBI agent John Douglas profiles several criminals and cases including the Unabomber, the Oklahoma City Bomber, and the Tylenol tampering case, among many others. Using his expertise he informs the reader what kind of personality would and could commit these crimes.

This book was informative and Douglas certainly knows his stuff, but it was a little long and it was draggy in some parts. The background information he gives on many of these criminals is fascinating, but he gets a little long
“The FBI’s legendary mindhunter” opens his case book to the public, examining a series of violent offender types, from serial arsonists to “guys who snap” to mad bombers. Some of it is lurid and chilling, like the spree killers’ rampages, or the notorious Hi-Fi murders (where victims were forced to drink Drano). However, it’s lucidly written, and the authors are obviously rational, intelligent people who make their arguments about personal responsibility and motive convincingly. I would have lik ...more
Michael Hsu
Apr 30, 2014 Michael Hsu rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
As an experienced criminal profiler, John offers a glimpse into the evilness of mankind from someone with firsthand experience in understanding the psyche of sick criminals. Given the nature of the subject, I can’t say I “enjoy” reading the book but I’m most certainly captivated by it. What captivated me was not the vivid description of evil deeds (although there is plenty of that), but rather the insights into why criminals commit heinous crimes. As I was reading this book, I can’t help to thin ...more
Oct 23, 2012 J.L. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I borrowed The Anatomy of Motive from the library for research purposes and ended up reading the entire book. Written by legendary FBI profiler, John E. Douglas, the book provides details on many famous and not-so-famous cases, and illustrates how behavioral science can be used to understand and catch criminals.

As a bonus, the author tests what you have learned through several case studies. I only missed one so I may have a future with the FBI if this writing thing does not work out.

Despite the
Aug 01, 2011 Suzan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
John Douglas is one of the FBI’s premier behavioural science analysts who has profiled some of the modern era’s most infamous serial and spree killers. In The Anatomy of Motive, Douglas reveals the emotional motivation behind some of the world’s most heinous crimes, revealing insightful information on real-life case studies of major league whack-jobs such as Lee Harvey Oswald, Ted Kaczynski, Timothy McVeigh and Ted Bundy, as well as numerous arsonsists, hijackers, bombers, poisoners, assassins, ...more
Dyah Rinni
Oct 24, 2008 Dyah Rinni rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ini salah satu buku referensi terbaik saya tentang kriminal selain buku teks kuliahan saya. Bahkan kalau dipikir-pikir, saya lebih banyak dapat ilmu tentang isi otak penjahat di sini, daripada di kuliahan.

Bagi penulis cerita kriminal, misteri atau penulis yang pengen menciptakan karakter penjahat, buku ini referensi yang bagus banget. Ada bab tentang pelaku pembakaran, tukang ngeracunin, pembunuh berantai, sampai mass murderer. Semuanya punya karakteristik sendiri.

Sangat sangat sangat menulis.
Apr 15, 2016 Rebecca rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
While not my favorite of John Douglas's books (The Cases That Haunt Us still holds that honor), this was another good one. He explains things in straightforward enough terms that complex theories are capable of being grasped and implemented. I use his strategies in my professional life, as profiling is important in what i do on a daily basis, so I stockpile his books like the chubby kid in school hoards candy. Mostly I use them in domestic violence and sex trafficking situations; hopefully I'll ...more
I'm a huge fan of Mindhunter and I love learning about psychology and true crime, but this book could have been better written. Can someone tally up how many times he used the word "coward" in it, please?

Plus, the JFK assassination case study he wrote bothered me. Instead of getting into the detailed forensics and explaining WHY it couldn't have been more than one shooter, he just gets defensive and laughs it off saying that it's impossible. Like, just because we've read so much of the book alr
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John Edward Douglas is a former United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agent, one of the first criminal profilers, and criminal psychology author. He also wrote four horror novels in the mid 1990s.

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