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

The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson
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's review
May 24, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: good-writing, funny, cultural-criticism
Read in May, 2012

Ronson is the master of disguising cultural critique in the guise of neurotic humor. He is also one of the most interesting journalistic investigators of alternate reality beliefs in our time. In this book, he sets out to investigate psychiatric definitions of psychopathy and ends up running into Scientologists, convicted murderers, the Demon of Haiti, and the man who created the DSM categories that have led to modern overdiagnosis. Ronson walks the fine line between critique of the psychiatric industry but also recognizing the necessity of people who are not healthy to themselves or others. Plus, his high-anxiety oversharing is just freaking hilarious.

Most striking observation: psychopaths are four to five times more common in big business and government than the general population. Ronson dances around but doesn't fully endorse the idea that success in these fields is due to psychopathic delusions of grandeur and an inability to empathize with other human beings. Personally, I'm buying it.
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