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Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us
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Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  10,310 ratings  ·  605 reviews
Most people are both repelled and intrigued by the images of cold-blooded, conscienceless murderers that increasingly populate our movies, television programs, and newspaper headlines. With their flagrant criminal violation of society's rules, serial killers like Ted Bundy and John Wayne Gacy are among the most dramatic examples of the psychopath. Individuals with this per ...more
Paperback, 236 pages
Published January 8th 1999 by The Guilford Press (first published November 1st 1993)
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Jessica I didn't at first because some time had to pass for me to notice the patterns. And he has tons of people duped still. The only ones who really know th…moreI didn't at first because some time had to pass for me to notice the patterns. And he has tons of people duped still. The only ones who really know the real person he is are the women, like me, who have had a romantic relationship with him. The thing that really made it evident to me was he kept accusing me, and others close to me, of doing the things that HE was doing (projection). That and shooting and killing our dog and blaming me for it stating I should never question his loyalty to me since it was because of me she is dead. He would make the craziest acts "make sense" somehow. But the projection and the Jekyll/Hyde persona were telltale signs and he could go from charming to Hulk in the snap of a finger and his emotions could change on a whim. It was the worst experience of my life. The abuse he has inflicted on so many women is to unimaginable depths and I am lucky I got out alive. But short encounters with them will not reveal their psychopathy. (less)

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Bill Kerwin
Mar 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing

Since I keep obsessing about our American president, trying to decide if the man is indeed a psychopath or merely an elite narcissist, I thought I should seek out an authoritative book on the subject. Although it is too old to include cutting edge research (twenty-two years old, to be exact), I believe Without Conscience is as close as I will come to a definitive popular treatment. This is because it was written by Robert D. Hare.

So who is Robert D. Hare? He is the Canadian psychology professor
May 05, 2013 rated it liked it
Moral of the story 1: No hope for psychopaths.
Moral of the story 2: No hope for me if I get involved with a psychopath.
Mar 27, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2013, nonfiction
Dr. Robert Hare: This book is about psychopaths...

Sarah: With hearts of gold?

DRH: No, they're pretty heartless, actually.

Sarah: Because they need love?

DRH: No. They're clinical psychopaths.

Sarah: Aw. They must be so sad.

DRH: Not really.

Sarah: So, basically, what you're saying here is...they'll change? I can change them?

DRH: You're an unbelievable idiot.

Sarah: I love you. Call me!

But seriously...
I do kinda wish this book had gone into a bit more depth: psychopathy as a neurological state, psychop
Debbie "DJ"
I really enjoyed listening to this one. The author would make a statement, then provide numerous examples. Totally debunked my idea of a psychopath. Psychopaths lack empathy, but are experts at covering this flaw. While most are not killers, those that are, are the ones we hear most about as their lack of empathy leads to the most grizzly of murders. Most psychopaths are world class con artists tricking even the best psychiatrists. While there is no single test, what I found the most interesting ...more
Johann (jobis89)
Sep 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
“But the fact is, compared with other major clinical disorders, little systematic research has been devoted to psychopathy, even though it is responsible for far more social distress and disruption than all other psychiatric disorders combined.”

I recently finished Without Conscience, which is essentially a handbook for psychopathy. There’s lot of interesting information in here, from the different personality traits psychopaths have, to how to protect yourself from one and the fact there is esse
May 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
I was watching Doctor Who yesterday, and the Doctor, ever the optimist, said something like, “people are good, down in their bones”.


Nice thought.

What about the psychopaths, though?

In Without Conscience, Robert Hare posits that there are some 2million psychopaths in the United States (and approximately 20% of the prison population is comprised of psychopaths). It’s something that doesn’t necessarily correlate with childhood abuse; some people are just bad, down in their bones. Of course, the
Jun 05, 2008 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: no one
Recommended to Maureen by: Craig Haney
Shelves: psychology
Dr. Robert Hare has a theory he calls "psychopathy," that he uses to describes anyone whose behavior doesn't conform to his standards. He has tried for years to get it into the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, the psychiatrists' and psychologists' main reference work. Its editors have rejected Dr. Hare's proposition as being too vague. Still, people will read this and think that their landlord or the guy next to them on the bus is a psychopath. I have read many useful psychological evaluation ...more
Jan 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Oh, you gotta read this. Excellent descriptions and explanation of psychological method. Horrifying interviews. I've met these people and you have, too. On the downside, ain't nuthin we can do about it. Except pack heat, maybe. ...more
Apr 20, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: psychopath whisperers, people who haven't read Martha Stout
This was not a very good book. Having listened to several audiobooks about psychopaths, notably Martha Stout's The Sociopath Next Door and Jon Ronson's The Psychopath Test, I think the lesson learned here is that journalists are better writers than academics.

Criminal psychologist Robert Hare is famous for having devised the Hare Psychopathy Checklist, which is referenced several times by Stout and Ronson. However, in this book he spends entirely too much time talking about how much research he's
Oct 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who has had someone do something awful to them that they feel they will never understand
Psychopathy is NOT insanity. Psychopaths are not all criminals, nor in jail - they are in fact sprinkled throughout the population, and almost EVERYONE has interacted with at least one. There are far MORE of them rolling around than one might think.

These are some of the revelations that overturned my preconceived notions. A diagnosis of psychopathy is actually an ironclad diagnosis of SANity- one who knows exactly what they are doing, but doesn't care how it affects another. Very chilling. The
For anyone who ever studied Forensic Psychology, Hare is a God and nothing less. Him and Cleckley are the first ever mentioned in relation to psychopathy and its clinical measurement or diagnosis, as well as any treatment possibility. I loved every second of this book, not just because it provided me with so much insight into different psychopathic killers that I already knew of, but because it provides statistical data and studies of different crimes that can be done by psychopaths, how their m ...more
Jul 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
Ok, disclaimer first. I'm not a PHD or MD, I've not taken advanced classes in sociology, psychiatry, biology, or anything similar. I'm just a reader with an amateur interest in the various aspects of the human psyche.

That said, "Utterly Chilling" is the best way I can describe this book. Take what you know about "Psychopaths", and add an extra level of creepiness, and you still haven't reached the zenith yet.

A fascinating, engrossing read about a truly disturbing subject. While this book isn't q
I don't regret reading (actually listening) to this book, but I am glad I am finished. A psychopath is born that way and will probably always be that way and will make your life hell. No hopeful treatment options offered. The best the author could do was offer advice on how to spot psychopathic behavior and avoid becoming ensnared in their manipulation.

The author uses this book as a platform for promoting the Hare Psychopathy Checklist, a tool for diagnosing psychopathy. Setting aside the comple
Jul 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Interesting, fascinating, disturbing.
Rheama Heather
Feb 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Oh. Now I’m embarrassed how casually I’ve dropped the word “psychopath" without knowing the true meaning of the word.

The author of Without Conscience, Dr. Hare, is the creator of the Psychopathy Checklist, a widely used diagnostic tool for mental health professionals. Through prison interviews and scientific research, Dr. Hare explains what it genuinely means to be a psycho. (Hint: If you’re worried about being one ... you're not.)

Lacking conscience and empathy, psychopaths bulldoze their way th
Oct 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kindle
Scary book, but one that may be of some help should we ever fall prey to a psychopath in our lives. Psychopaths are probably hard-wired that way from birth which is why treatment (at least so far) cannot change them. They have distinct characteristics in common with each other and Dr. Hare and his colleagues have created a test to determine whether or not any given individual is actually a psychopath, one of which is an amazing ability to "read" unsuspecting persons, discover their weaknesses an ...more
Dave Cullen
May 31, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This is THE classic book on psychopathy.
The problem with this book can perhaps be blamed on Hare's acknowledgement in his preface: i would like to thank (...) and Suzanne Lipsett for showing me how to convert technical material into readable prose. Yes, it's quite readable (thanks to Suzanne?) but altogether too anecdotal throughout 3/4 or more of the book. Hare is one of the leading experts on psychopathy, so the semi dumbed-down tone of the book and countless examples of psychopathic behavior taken from popular sources (true crime ...more
Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
How must you live your life?

With compassion, many say. Love one another. The golden rule. But this is on the presumption that we are all the same, and that it’ll just take an epiphany or some religious quotes for some erring people to mend their ways and return to the civilised fold. No, this book says. There are many who do not have empathy at all. You get a cute, little kitten and you smash it to death with a hammer and those watching—cat lovers or not—would express horror with what you’ve don
Mark Jaworski
Mar 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Hope that Dr. Hare would prepare ten minutes UTube to let everyone know how to recognize psychopaths before they ruin our marriages, homes and businesses. Too much complements and eyes of the snake predator are the best warning signs.
I wish I knew that before.
"He knows the words but not the music."
[proper review coming soon]
Sep 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was a really interesting and easy to read book about psychopaths yet is still academic.

If you are a criminology or psychology student I definitely recommend you pick this book up.

Even if you aren't a psychology student, this is a great book to read as it challenges common misconceptions as to what being a psychopath actually means.

It was also very short, so it definitely was a quick read.

I also really liked how it discussed real life and very famous true crime cases e.g John Wayne gacey, T
Aug 31, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Lawmakers; Needy and Greedy People
Recommended to Tyler by: Various Goodreads Reviews
Shelves: non-fiction
It’s in a everyone’s interest to learn about the people in society who take more out of it than any other group – who take and take, in fact, and never give anything back but grief and pain.

Among us these people dwell, devoid of conscience and probably born that way. This book identifies the traits of psychopaths and explores their thinking. It's an early study, introducing us to the subject as it was understood by the 90's. It gives advice on how to recognize and protect oneself from a psychopa
Feb 17, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone
An excellent analysis of the much-misunderstood problem that is variously called antisocial personality disorder, sociopathy, or psychopathy, by the clinician who developed the best and most used test to diagnose this condition, the Hare Psychopathy Checklist. Dr. Hare explains what it means to be a sociopath or to be stuck dealing with one, what makes them tick and what to expect from them. Knowledge is power, and the information in this book makes it possible to recognize sociopathic people mu ...more
Oct 22, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Caroline by: Dave Cullen, author of Columbine
Skip The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry, a book written by a man with no background in psychiatry. Read this instead, by the foremost expert in psychopathy, a man who's devoted his life to researching this devastating mental illness. Equal parts education and protection, Without Conscience has forever changed how I view the world. ...more
Aug 03, 2008 rated it really liked it
Okay, maybe you have to be a psychologist to appreciate this, but I thought it was fascinating. Wait: No, I don't think you have to be a psychologist to appreciate this -- it's just fascinating how nasty and evil people can be!

If this kind of thing intrigues you (all you people out there who like to read about real-life serial killers, this is for you!), then don't hesitate to pick up. Again, fascinating!
Listened to in audio format.

Without conscience was fascinating but deeply disturbing at the same time. I always knew that psychopaths were not necessarily serial killers but 'ordinary' people you could meet anytime without realising it.

Without conscience included case studies from former patients which were truly terrifying. There was the sweet blonde hair blue eyed little girl who tried to Kill her baby brother. The prisoner who offered to service the authors car and then deliberately broke the
Kat Speeckaert
Robert D. Hare's book is well-written and elegantly structured, achieving a balance between being comprehensible and informative to the layman while still being enlightening to those with a depth of knowledge in the field of psychopathy -- largely because it gathers together a comprehensive look at this mysterious disorder.

The first chapter, "Experiencing the Psychopath," brings together anecdotes and excerpts from case studies about what it is like to encounter a psychopath, while chapter 2, "F
Jan 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
I decided to step outside my typical reading pattern and read this book about Psychopaths. Overall, it provides a clear overview of Psychopathy, its symptoms, and its devastating impacts. Perhaps more interesting to me, were the implications psychopaths had on ethical theories, law, justice, and religious teachings.

Psychopaths are not well in-tuned to their emotions. As such, their world of right and wrong is determined by what they can get away with and what they cannot. It has no ethical foun
Linda  Branham Greenwell
Jan 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book was written in 1993... I have seen some more recent research on psychopaths and how their brains actually process information and emotions differently on an MRI/CT scan. BUT... having said this this book really good description behavioral information about psychopaths
I especially liked how Dr. Hare describes psychopaths as seeing themselves as the real victims, and their convoluted thinking mechanisms that they use to explain this belief to others.
Near the end of the book he explains w
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Robert D. Hare, C.M. (born 1934 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada) is a researcher in the field of criminal psychology. He developed the Hare Psychopathy Checklist (PCL-Revised), used to assess cases of psychopathy. Hare advises the FBI's Child Abduction and Serial Murder Investigative Resources Center (CASMIRC) and consults for various British and North American prison services. ...more

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46 likes · 10 comments
“He will choose you, disarm you with his words, and control you with his presence. He will delight you with his wit and his plans. He will show you a good time but you will always get the bill. He will smile and deceive you, and he will scare you with his eyes. And when he is through with you, and he will be through with you, he will desert you and take with him your innocence and your pride. You will be left much sadder but not a lot wiser, and for a long time you will wonder what happened and what you did wrong. And if another of his kind comes knocking on your door, will you open it?

-From an essay signed "A psychopath in prison”
“The first victim of war is the truth.” 12 likes
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