Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Anatomy of Motive: The FBI's Legendary Mindhunter Explores The Key To Understanding And Catching Violent Criminals” as Want to Read:
The Anatomy of Motive: The FBI's Legendary Mindhunter Explores The Key To Understanding And Catching Violent Criminals
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

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

4.09 of 5 stars 4.09  ·  rating details  ·  2,322 ratings  ·  102 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
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Anatomy of Motive, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Anatomy of Motive

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Cooper Cooper
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
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 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
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.
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
Casey Keen
Again, John Douglas' books are the best when it comes to true crime facts of motives, operation and FBI techniques. I love his books!
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
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
Brian Mathieu
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
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
Nicole Langlois
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
Stinkerbelle Stormborn
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
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
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
This non fiction historical jaunt into what makes a violent criminal tick was so hard to put down, I didn't. It's amazing how some of our biggest American tragedies were born out of an individuals lack of understanding/forgiveness/self worth. I am not sure I will be able to watch or read a whodunit the same way after taking this mini course on detective work. John E. Douglas goes from one difficult crime situation to the next without losing his reader nor his readers interest.
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
Well that was a really fascinating journey into the minds of horrible people. I find it so strange that it can even be possible for violent criminals to be so similar in so many ways. I can't help thinking that if I was a serial arsonist or a serial killer or some such monster, I'd be disappointed to discover just how damn predictable I was. Truly, if the psychological side of killers interests you and you'd like to better understand the techniques used to catch them, read this book.
These two FBI profilers (John Douglas and Mark Olshaker) did a good job of writing about their experiences with criminals and how they help other agencies through their profiling experience. The last portion has case samples which you can assess your own profiling skills. I enjoyed this read.
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
Michael Hsu
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
“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
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
Kathie Bryant
John Douglas does a fantastic job giving the reader a first hand account of what motivates criminals to do what they do. He includes everything from rapists to murderers and arsonists to bombers. His experiences with criminal profiling are extensive, honest, and even humorous at times. He is not afraid to admit to mistakes and share the lessons that he learned from them.The Anatomy of Motive: The FBI's Legendary Mindhunter Explores the Key to Understanding and Catching Violent Criminals
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
Amit Bohra
not that great...ive read quite a few books about crimes and criminals and the ones written by Ex fbi agents are disappointing ...
Joe Roz
Enjoyed it. His second best of all his books. Good insight into the minds & motives of serial killers, and the men and women who catch them.
Dyah Rinni
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.
If you like this kind of stuff, and I do, this is a great book. I am amazed by profilers and John Douglas was the first/best.
Julie L
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
Disappointing. I was hoping for a more indepth look at the psychology of criminal motivation, but what I got was some rather mundane insights (e.g. violent crimes are motivated by the desire for power and control), some questionnable psychoanalysis (e.g. killers are likely to have wet the bed), and a rambling collection of case studies. Another issue with the book is that the author clearly favors his own personal experience and intuition over the empirical research, despite calling himself a be ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Dark Dreams: Sexual Violence, Homicide And The Criminal Mind
  • The Evil That Men Do: FBI Profiler Roy Hazelwood's Journey into the Minds of Serial Killers
  • Whoever Fights Monsters: My Twenty Years Tracking Serial Killers for the FBI
  • Inside the Criminal Mind
  • Signature Killers
  • Guilty by Reason of Insanity: A Psychiatrist Explores the Minds of Killers
  • The Unknown Darkness: Profiling the Predators Among Us
  • The Anatomy of Evil
  • Dead Reckoning: The New Science of Catching Killers
  • Criminal Profiling: An Introduction to Behavioral Evidence Analysis
  • Serial Killers: The Method and Madness of Monsters
  • What the Corpse Revealed
  • Predators: Pedophiles, Rapists, And Other Sex Offenders
  • The Casebook of Forensic Detection: How Science Solved 100 of the World's Most Baffling Crimes
  • Profilers: Leading Investigators Take You Inside The Criminal Mind
  • True Stories of Law & Order: SVU
  • The Serial Killer Files: The Who, What, Where, How, and Why of the World's Most Terrifying Murderers
  • The Last Victim: A True-Life Journey into the Mind of the Serial Killer
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.

More about John E. Douglas...
Mindhunter: Inside the FBI's Elite Serial Crime Unit The Cases That Haunt Us Journey Into Darkness Obsession Inside the Mind of BTK: The True Story Behind the Thirty-Year Hunt for the Notorious Wichita Serial Killer

Share This Book