Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Sociopath Next Door” as Want to Read:
The Sociopath Next Door
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Sociopath Next Door

by
3.76  ·  Rating details ·  33,188 ratings  ·  2,482 reviews
Who is the devil you know?

Is it your lying, cheating ex-husband?
Your sadistic high school gym teacher?
Your boss who loves to humiliate people in meetings?
The colleague who stole your idea and passed it off as her own?

In the pages of The Sociopath Next Door, you will realize that your ex was not just misunderstood. He’s a sociopath. And your boss, teacher, and colleague? T
...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published March 14th 2006 by Harmony (first published 2005)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Sociopath Next Door, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Matthew Very practical. I bought this book to learn about myself.. or more accurately, with the hopes that it was NOT about myself. I've done my share on unco…moreVery practical. I bought this book to learn about myself.. or more accurately, with the hopes that it was NOT about myself. I've done my share on unconscionable acts, and wondered how closely I would mirror Dr. Stout's example patients. I'm very happy to report that I am not a sociopath! :)

I feel like this book is really two books in one. The first, is a professional (but very readable for a layperson like me) description of what a sociopath is, along with stories about some of her patients. The last few chapters, however, is about human conscience in general. What is it? Where did it come from? Is it better to have a conscience which can limit us (in the sense of power and materialism), or to be unbound by the moral constraints which the majority of us adhere to. She could (and maybe should) easily devote an entire book to these last topics!(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.76  · 
Rating details
 ·  33,188 ratings  ·  2,482 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of The Sociopath Next Door
John
May 27, 2012 rated it did not like it
DOES THE AUTHOR HAVE A CONSCIENCE?

What I liked about this book: It is very well written. Dr. Stout’s ghostwriter is exceptionally gifted and the book has a delightfully brisk pace, very clear language, and (mostly) smooth transitions.

Its substance, however, is cartoonish pop psychology masquerading as information. It draws its popularity from the same source as the The Da Vinci Code, under-informed, uncritical readers with a penchant for sensationalism; mostly [redacted]. In the hands of its int
...more
Bill Kerwin
Jan 03, 2009 rated it liked it

An entertaining and informative book, the thesis of which is that the conscienceless among us are not restricted to the serial killers, CEO's, lawyers and politicians among us, but may also be teachers, doctors, nurses, clergy--anyone who is impervious to the bond of love and cares about nothing but power and the ability to manipulate other people.

They are but 4% of the total population--1 in 25--and the principal comfort the rest of us can take is not only that we outnumber them but also that
...more
Petra-X is getting covered in Soufriere ash
Somehow or other this review lost it's original story. I don't know how, so I'm putting it in. Not so much because it is a review of the book (it isn't) but because I never want to forget it, I want to set it down. Living next door to a sociopath is terrible, one of the worst things you an imagine. I want to remember it properly and this was the story.

The part of the review that remains is the end story that led up to the finale as it were, that I wrote at the time it was happening. So I've lef
...more
Bob
Jul 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned
This book has sparked more re-evaluation by me than any other book I've read for quite some time. The good news is that 96% of people have a conscience. The bad news is that 4% don't, and they can be a real problem, especially because their destructiveness may go undetected for some time. The author postulates that conscience is based on the ability to have emotional attachment to other people. Sociopaths are incapable of such attachments. They see other people as objects which are to be dominat ...more
Matthew
Feb 10, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
If given the opportunity to read a text about sociopathy and its prevalence, don't bother reading Stout's work. Instead, read "Without Conscience" by the psychologist Hare. Hare's work on sociopathy is notable in the field, and after reading it, you will be shocked to notice that entire sections of "The Sociopath Next Door" appear to be lifted from "Without Conscience," slightly reworded, and placed into the text. "The Sociopath Next Door" is still an interesting book, but it is at best a 'see s ...more
Stephanie *Eff your feelings*
There's a whole lot of fear mongering going on here.

The Sociopath Next Door, I'd give it 2.5. I keep going back and forth between 2 and 3 stars. According to Martha Stout, just about everyone knows a few sociopaths.......DUH. I know two people for sure that I used to work with....they were chilling. I may even be related to one. But the author gets a little dramatic. Yes, these people are ruthless, they don't care about anyone's feelings (they really don't have many of their own). But if you ke
...more
Caroline
Mar 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Fans of things brain-related, Hare's Without Conscience, true crime and psychological thrillers
***NO SPOILERS***

Two aspects of this book are noticeably fitting from the start: its cover design and its title. The cover’s zoomed-in focus on three pairs of eyes has significance that's unclear until many pages in, a significance that no doubt will startle and intrigue. As for the title, it might sound somewhat melodramatic, but it underscores one of Stout’s most important points; if there’s one thing she wanted to make very clear it’s that sociopaths (sometimes called “psychopaths”; psychiatr
...more
Bren
“Sociopathy is the inability to process emotional experience, including love and caring, except when such experience can be calculated as a coldly intellectual task.”
― Martha Stout, The Sociopath Next Door




I Just could not get into this book or rather maybe I should say could not take this book as seriously as I expected I would.

I also feel it is a bit dangerous. This book is giving readers information that may not be accurate in my view.

The book is about..well..Sociopaths. And what makes one a
...more
Will Byrnes
The author asks “Why have a conscience?” She argues that being truly human entails having one, and warns the majority of us about the four percent of people who are sociopaths. This is a chilling book. I have met people who fit her description. One need not be a serial killer to be a sociopath. One needs only to be immune to caring about the humanity of others.

P 3
It chafes to be so free of the ridiculous inner voice that inhibits others from achieving great power, without having enough talent
...more
Mizuki
Jul 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Note: I read the Chinese translation of the book.

4% in the human population are sociopaths, meaning: they have (1) anti-social personality or (2) they don't have this thing that we call conscience.

So what should we do with this knowledge?

Here are a few hints:

(1) Sociopaths do not feel remorse on behalf of other people, nor can they be affected or restricted by conscience and/or sense of guilt.

(2) Sociopaths cannot feel real emotion and connection with other people--yes they may manage to have l
...more
Abel
Jul 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
A weird byproduct of listening to this book (a Daily Deal, well worth it) was a conscious undercurrent of pitting myself against the composite sociopaths depicted. I kept thinking, I hope it's not me. Or, It can't be me. Then that led to, Only a sociopath would see himself in a book about sociopaths. So ultimately I decided that I'm a narcissist with sociopathic tendencies. See? This is exactly why I don't read side-effects of medications, or delve too deep into Zen Buddhism--koans? Get the hell ...more
Laura
Jul 06, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
You know that neighbor of yours who ignores you when you say hello to him in the hall? Well, he might not be just a garden-variety jerk -- he may be A SOCIOPATH!! In fact, four percent of the United States' population is composed of sociopaths. You know what this means, don't you? TROUBLE!!

That might as well be the flap copy of Martha Stout's book, which doesn't seek to enlighten so much as to inflame. Stout throws out a lot of scary-sounding statistics cobbled together with some vaguely philos
...more
David
Aug 16, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: non-sociopaths
This is a good, though somewhat light (being intended for the pop-psych crowd) description of just what a sociopath is, what makes them tick, how to recognize them, and how to avoid them. It's not full of gruesome crimes or case studies, because Stout's key message is that sociopaths, for the most part, are not psychotic serial killers. They are seemingly ordinary people who can live ordinary lives fooling most everyone around them. And if you do realize that someone is a sociopath, there isn't ...more
Dino-Jess ✮ The Book Eating Dinosaur ✮
Let's get this out of the way - I find the idea of sociopathy (some call it psychopathy, others call it anti-social personality disorder) infinitely fascinating. The fact that some people can go about their lives with the inability to love, the inability to form emotional attachments and a pure and total lack of empathy for their fellow man is as interesting as it is terrifying.

In practice, sociopathy is a scary thing. I have a feeling I have crossed paths with more than one sociopathic person
...more
Shell
Jul 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
Shelves: favorites, psychology
Let me begin by saying, I'm not a psychologist and honestly, I know very little about it. I took two psychology classes in college years ago and that's about the extent of my knowledge. I did, however, love this book. It was comprised mostly of case studies and Dr. Stout's 25 years of experiences dealing with clients who have been affected and harmed by sociopaths in their lives. It discusses how manipulative, deceitful, charming, personable and fake a sociopath can be and the lengths one would ...more
Julie
May 02, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Julie by: Mom!
Wow--4% of those around us are...sociopaths! Don't read this book if you have a tendency to be paranoid. I'm now looking around me now wondering, "Is SHE a sociopath? Is HE?"

A sociopath is someone without conscience (in short, they cannot love or attach value to other living things). One WITH conscience cannot fathom what this might even be like, and "sociopath" seems like such an extreme label, so the non-sociopaths rarely identify sociopaths as sociopaths ("we" make excuses for their questiona
...more
Kristina
Apr 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book provided an excellent psychological perspective on conscience. I am used to approaching conscience from a religious angle as I (love to) teach Catholic morality to eighth-graders. This analysis of sociopathy was fascinating and informative and gave much insight into the different types of sociopaths, the vital nature of conscience and empathy, and the knowledge gained from years of morality research. A worthwhile investment of time, I think everyone could benefit from this glimpse into ...more
Derek
Nov 18, 2010 rated it did not like it
In a reprehensible mix of lowest common denominator psychology, fear-mongering, and insultingly juvenile "real life" examples, Martha Stout explores the claim that one in every 25 people is a sociopath in The Sociopath Next Door. If the conceit of the book isn't enough to send you packing, be prepared to sit through poorly supported claims, Intro to Psychology theorizing, and unbelievable religious moralizing toward the people who Stout describes simply, and without much extroplation, as those c ...more
Jacqueline
Feb 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
A familiar stranger came into my life last year... he pulled one after another of the power games Stout details in her book... at first I could not even open this book, recommended to me by my physician, because it was eerily and creepily too real for me. Once I did though, I couldn't put it down. Martha Stout describes this kind of person (and the individual I knew) so thoroughly that it is altogether frightening. I did not believe such people exist... now I know first hand that they do. Review ...more
Audrey
May 12, 2008 rated it really liked it
I wish that every mood, developmental, personality and every other kind of disorder catalogued by those wonderful folks over at the DSM had a book written about it the way sociopathy does. I'd like to read like a billion page DSM where every single disorder had a nice book like this under its heading. First on my wishlist would be borderline personality disorder. Then Aspberger's.

In fact this book, writing-quality-wise, is sort of on the level of a stretched-out Newsweek article, maybe. Yeah, a
...more
Emily
May 06, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: quit
Uh I'm quitting this book. A lot of it is just very "no duh." Maybe I'M a sociopath but I don't give a shit about this book anymore ...more
Negin
Feb 21, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who tend to pity too easily
Since I have known a few sociopaths, this book was eye-opening for sure. Most sociopaths are wolves in sheep’s clothing. They’re difficult to spot, are walking around among us, and often destroying the lives of others.

Sociopaths (about four per cent of the population) usually exhibit the following:
lack of guilt and remorse
lack of empathy
lack of conscience
inability to form emotional attachments to others
constant lying and unreliability
using people easily
chronic boredom
ignoring social norms
inab
...more
Grace
Jun 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
The Sociopath Next Door
by Martha Stout

A few months ago I was given the opportunity to read “The Sociopath Next Door” and before doing so I chose to look it up on Goodreads, to see what my fellow readers thought of it. The reviews were not encouraging. I looked elsewhere for something to read. Then, a few days ago a family member bought the audio book version (from iTunes), and I had nothing else to listen to while gardening. I’m deeply glad that fate intervened.

I can completely understand why p
...more
Lara
Jan 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
I read this quite awhile ago maybe 15 years ago.. I read it at a time where I was trying to understand a man who had been living in my basement.. someone whom I told my friends might be the one to throw my body in a lake or bury me in my own backyard.
Charming, incredibly farm boyishly handsome, clean good looks, mussels to die for, smoooith skin, gap toothed grin, made me laugh till I fell over on the street while we were walking, smooth talker,
Come to find out he had about 2 or 3 too many gir
...more
Emtiaj
Sep 13, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Emtiaj by: http://qr.ae/T2pCFT
Shelves: english
সামারি টাইপ, পুরোটাই স্পয়লার। এই বই পড়ার ন্যুনতম আগ্রহ থাকলে এটা পড়বেন না।

“What is important to you in your life? What do you want more than anything else?” I thought he might say “getting money,” or “staying out of jail,” which were the activities to which he devoted most of his time. Instead, without a moment's hesitation, he replied, “Oh, that's easy. What I like better than anything else is when people feel sorry for me. The thing I really want more than anything else out of life is peopl
...more
Bojan Tunguz
Apr 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
For many years we’ve been friends with this guy whom I’ll call Steve. Steve is an upstanding member of the community, has a picture-perfect All-American family, a respectable job, and a wide circle of friends. He comes across as charming and very friendly, and seems to be very eager to help and please those around him. However, after getting to know him just a little bit better all these aspects of Steve’s life appear to be an act. Steve is in fact extremely competitive even over the dumbest thi ...more
Darth J
I found this book to be fascinating. I originally picked this book up as part of my research for a novel, but I didn't expect to be so entertained by it. It's a sad truth that statistically one in 25 people you will meet in life is a sociopath (per the book), and I have found that to be somewhat accurate as I've met two truly conscienceless people in my life. While I wouldn't say this is the only book on the subject, it definitely made for an engaging read. ...more
Jeanette (Now on StoryGraph)
4.4 stars

I have a sister who is a sociopath and a malignant narcissist, so I studied this book carefully and took lots of notes. But really, it turns out that if you encounter a sociopath, the best thing to do is completely eliminate them from your life, if possible. They have no conscience and are irredeemable. If you continue to associate with them, they will never stop using and victimizing you. They need it like we need air. Hurting others and getting away with it is their only true pleasure
...more
Lisa
Nov 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely fascinating!!! Everyone should read this book!!! We all have sociopaths in our lives. . . But we may not know it. This book helps us better recognize him or her. 4 % of our population are sociopaths. . . The science and stories (composites of Dr Stouts past patients) are so interesting. Seriously, I could not put this book down!!

On a personal note, a lot of us have been very hurt by sociopaths. Dr Stout validates mixed feelings we may have towards them, especially if it’s someone we l
...more
Bradley
Jun 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mindfuq, non-fiction
I had read this years ago but just recently thought about it because it was referenced in the book I'm currently reading. I thought then, as I think now, that it could very well be true. Give me a good schizophrenic any day over a sociopath or a psychopath, please. They have much better dreams, too.

Seriously though, it does come to my mind that if there are that many people without the spark that gives them empathy, it does explain the bankers.
...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Play Book Tag: The Sociopath Next Door by Martha Stout 4 stars 1 14 Jan 04, 2021 07:12PM  
«Man is not by nature a killer» 2 5 Feb 29, 2020 02:04PM  
The Sociopath next Door 17 216 Nov 23, 2019 05:40PM  
Mental Health Boo...: May Nonfiction - Antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) - "The Sociopath Next Door" 3 35 May 23, 2019 03:00AM  
future sociopath 2 24 Aug 08, 2016 05:44AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us
  • The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry
  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM-IV-TR
  • Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths Go to Work
  • Confessions of a Sociopath: A Life Spent Hiding in Plain Sight
  • Psychopath Free: Recovering from Emotionally Abusive Relationships With Narcissists, Sociopaths, and Other Toxic People
  • Adoption Stories: Excerpts from Adoption Books for Adults
  • The Wisdom of Psychopaths: What Saints, Spies, and Serial Killers Can Teach Us About Success
  • Happiness Power: How to Unleash Your Power and Live a More Joyful Life
  • Slave to the Dream: Everyone’s Dream
  • The Psychopath Inside: A Neuroscientist's Personal Journey into the Dark Side of the Brain
  • In Sheep's Clothing: Understanding and Dealing with Manipulative People
  • The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil
  • The Science of Evil: On Empathy and the Origins of Cruelty
  • Women Who Love Psychopaths
  • The Betrayal Bond: Breaking Free of Exploitive Relationships
  • Of the Flame, Poems - Volume 15
  • The Gift of Fear: Survival Signals That Protect Us from Violence
See similar books…
225 followers
Author and Ph.D. in psychology.

Related Articles

For more than a decade, Neil deGrasse Tyson, the world-renowned astrophysicist and host of the popular radio and Emmy-nominated...
89 likes · 17 comments
“I am sure that if the devil existed, he would want us to feel very sorry for him.” 120 likes
“A part of a healthy conscience is being able to confront consciencelessness. When you teach your daughter, explicitly or by passive rejection, that she must ignore her outrage, that she must be kind and accepting to the point of not defending herself or other people, that she must not rock the boat for any reason, you are NOT strengthening her prosocial sense, you are damaging it--and the first person she will stop protecting is herself.” 99 likes
More quotes…