Sandy's Reviews > The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry

The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson
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's review
Aug 13, 2011

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bookshelves: nonfiction
Read from December 13 to 19, 2011

I have a fascination of sorts with the psychopathic mind - I can't grasp how it works and find it extremely frightening. This extends to many aspects of mental illness. So I found aspects of this book utterly fascinating and disconcerting. What kept this from being a 4 rating for me was the disjointed nature of Ronson's writing. It was jarring and though he managed to bring it all together at the end (well, kinda), I found myself trying to figure out where he fit into the conditions documented in the DSM IV! He seems pretty fragmented!

The 2 things I keep thinking about:
1- Psychiatry is much much less objective that I ever realized. It now seems to me that every human personality trait belongs on a spectrum and we all fit somewhere on that scale and we may even move back and forth between the two extremes of each trait. So where does it become an "illness" instead of a simple characteristic? What is "normal" really??

2- As a librarian I was always vigilant about keeping the latest edition of the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) on the shelf of every library I worked in. It was the Bible of the American Psychological Association after all and the ultimate authority for the "truth" about mental health. I have a different view after reading this. There seems to be a lot of contrived information that labels people, pigeonholing them, and the basis for this is more questionable that I thought.

Thought-provoking book.
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by Laura (new)

Laura A friend of mine just recommended this to me. She and her boyfriend read it and were thoroughly enthralled.

Jenne I have one of his other books out right now! I've been listening to his radio show and love it.

Sandy I didn't know about the radio show. I just found it online and want to see what the episodes are like! Thanks for the tip!

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