Are ruthless CEOs and politicians more likely to be psychopaths? Are the mechanisms of power tuned and constructed by the 1% of the population unable to feel empathy or remorse? If, like me, you're a pessimist about the state of the world, then the idea of sociopaths calling the shots explains an awful lot. So when I discovered that Jon Ronson (Them: Adventures with Extremists
and The Men Who Stare at Goats
)—no stranger to the insane—was working on another book on his favorite well trod but darkly fascinating subject, it shot to the top of my reading list. When I finally got my hands on his deranged and utterly absorbing odyssey through the madness industry, it was absolutely everything I hoped it would be. Ronson provides a heady combination of his signature self-deprecating wit and unsettling interviews with psychopaths and the people (not much saner themselves) who diagnose, condemn, or advocate for them. In his travels, he discovers a lot more about himself, the "science" of psychology, and the hidden structures of our society. Peppered with disquieting insight and riveting moral dilemmas, The Psychopath Test
is insanely (pun intended) good, and extremely hard to put down.