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

The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson
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Sep 14, 12

bookshelves: medical, non-fiction
Read in November, 2011 — I own a copy

I found this book while cruising Amazon.ca to replenish my reading supply. This sort of title falls outside of my usual favorite reading topics but most certainly caught my interest the moment I saw it.

The book chronicles how the author became interested in the mental disorder psychopathy, it’s diagnosis, and the detection of those believed to suffer from it. I really enjoyed the concept of psychopath spotting using the PCL-R. The PCL-R (Psychopathy Checklist-Revised) was created by Robert Hare, a psychologist whom the author had many conversations with on his journey to both learn about and attempt to spot psychopaths.

The stories and personalities behind the people the author met, identified by pseudonyms of course, who were believed to be psychopaths were very enlightening. Some were criminals, others were leaders or those who held positions of power.

The book really made me think about how much power medical professionals have in regards to diagnosing mental disorders and how sometimes they can be wrong, see the Rosenhan experiment. The comment that really struck me was that diagnosis seems to be getting closer to the boundary of normal all the time.

I listened to the audio version of this book, which made the author’s style even more enjoyable. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to broaden their views on this subject matter.
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