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

The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson
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's review
Jan 19, 2013

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An enjoyable read about Ronson's investigation into how we as a society think about 'madness' as opposed to more 'standard' mental illnesses like depression or anxiety. Starting with a mysterious book by a not-100%-sane person, Ronson wonders how much impact psychopaths have on the world, and how much effect it's possible to have on them.

I'd read his articles about Tony in Broadmoor before, and was aware of Bob Hare's work. But the conspiracy theorists and the creation of the DSM were new to me and quite interesting. My favourite section was on the ill-fated Oak Ridge experiments of the 60s - they really meant well, but with hindsight it's just mind-boggling that they avoided a worse situation.

Ronson makes a good case for demanding more caution and evidence when categorising and treating people who are dangerously mentally ill. At the same time though, I've got an increased respect for the people working on the definitions and treatment of psychopathy. It's difficult to research and it will take a lot more effort (and probably more mistakes will happen) before we really understand what's happening.
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