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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

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  7,428 Ratings  ·  425 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…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)

Community Reviews

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Bill  Kerwin
Mar 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing

Since I keep obsessing about our new American president, trying to decide if the man is indeed a psychopath or merely an elite narcissist, I thought perhaps 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 psycholog
...more
Sarah
Mar 27, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, 2013
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
...more
Sarah
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.
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
Nicola
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”.

Well.

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
...more
Shadowdenizen
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
...more
Ana  Vlădescu
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
Bird
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.
Saki-chan
Jan 28, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Los psicópatas son depredadores que encandilan, manipulan y se abren camino en la vida sin piedad, dejando una larga estela de corazones rotos, expectativas arruinadas y billeteras vacías.

Me dio risa esa frase xD.

Si prestamos demasiada atención a los ejemplos más brutales y llamativos, corremos el riesgo de no ver el cuadro completo: los psicópatas que no asesinan pero que están presentes en nuestras vidas.

Creo que todo el mundo debería estar informado sobre este tema, la gente cree por lo ge
...more
SoManyBooks SoLittleTime (Aven Shore)
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
...more
Maureen
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
David
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
...more
KatieMc
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
...more
R.Z.
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
Andrea
Aug 21, 2014 rated it liked it
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
...more
James
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
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.
Dave Cullen
May 31, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This is THE classic book on psychopathy.
Clare
Jul 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017-audio-1000
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
...more
Payam
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
...more
Tyler
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
...more
Hinch
Jun 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
Without Conscience provides a thorough examination of the condition of psychopathy. Written by Robert Hare, a pioneer and authority of the field, the book is held in high regard by other professionals, and yet is easily understood by the layman.

The book explores psychopathy through numerous case studies, most drawn from the criminal world, and also presents the Psychopathy Checklist, the primary diagnostic tool used to assess the disorder. The book also explores issues of personal significance t
...more
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
...more
Jose Gaona
May 13, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: no-ficción
http://conclusionirrelevante.blogspot...

"Creo que recomendaría este libro a quien ya teniendo unas nociones preliminares del fenómeno, quisiera profundizar en lo que ya sabe del mismo. Esto es tanto como recomendar mi plan de acción, lo cual, dicho así, suena un poco prepotente, pero es justo lo ocurrido al hacer el viaje desde la obra de Ronson a la obra de Hare. Sin embargo, tengo que decir que disfruté más de la lectura de "¿Es usted un psicópata?" Sencillamente me lo pasé mejor. Por lo que r
...more
Kelly
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!
Katherine
Mar 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
...more
Mike (the Paladin)
Dec 06, 2010 rated it liked it
Not the first book I've read on this subject. It probably won't be the last. When I first read the numbers on psychopaths and/or sociopaths among us I found it more than a little disturbing.

This book (Professor Hare) does a good job of laying out the condition and describing "what it is". He is noted for developing the "Psychopathy Checklist", considered the surest way to diagnose a psychopath. He discusses the difference in Psychopathy and sociopathy (something I hadn't clearly grasped even th
...more
Yadira  Denisse
Sep 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
Is an interesting book actually! The author suggest that psychopathy is actually a biological deficiency that affects the way you develop as a child in the womb and makes a faulty connection or something in the brain that affects the ability to understand human emotions. As he said it, as far as criminality and all of that, it depends on the way a child is raised


A child who is poorly raise and lives in poverty and violence or has the same early life experiences as any other common criminal will
...more
Richard
Jul 10, 2012 rated it liked it
I rated it three stars for liked it, because it was interesting, entertaining reading. What it was not was a serious psychology book.

Hare tells some real life stories of his experience with psychopaths which are interesting and informative, but a large part of the book is speculation and conjecture. As noted in other reviews, he often references popular movies, many of them fictional, for discussion. When he's not referencing movies, he's referencing true crime literature. Granted, some of the b
...more
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Psychopaths are among us 4 59 Jan 06, 2015 05:07PM  
Non-Fiction Enthu...: October Group Read 1 4 12 Oct 12, 2014 01:28PM  
  • The Mask of Sanity
  • The Anatomy of Evil
  • Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths Go to Work
  • Predators: Pedophiles, Rapists, And Other Sex Offenders
  • The Myth of Sanity: Divided Consciousness and the Promise of Awareness
  • Inside the Criminal Mind
  • In Sheep's Clothing: Understanding and Dealing with Manipulative People
  • Dark Dreams: Sexual Violence, Homicide And The Criminal Mind
  • Guilty by Reason of Insanity: A Psychiatrist Explores the Minds of Killers
  • Sexual Homicide: Patterns and Motives
  • The Science of Evil: On Empathy and the Origins of Cruelty
  • The Psychopath: Emotion and the Brain
  • The Unknown Darkness: Profiling the Predators Among Us
  • Crime Classification Manual: A Standard System for Investigating and Classifying Violent Crimes
  • The Anatomy of Violence: The Biological Roots of Crime
  • Night Falls Fast: Understanding Suicide
  • Bad Men Do What Good Men Dream: A Forensic Psychiatrist Illuminates the Darker Side of Human Behavior
  • Emotional Vampires: Dealing with People Who Drain You Dry
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 about Robert D. Hare...

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“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”
34 likes
“Most therapy programs do little more than provide psychopaths with new excuses and rationalizations for their behavior and new insights into human vulnerability. They may learn new and better ways of manipulating other people, but they make little effort to change their own views and attitudes or to understand that other people have needs, feelings, and rights. In particular, attempts to teach psychopaths how to “really feel” remorse or empathy are doomed to failure.” 5 likes
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