Thursday, May 19, 2011
Review: The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry by Jon Ronson
In this madcap journey, a bestselling journalist investigates psychopaths and the industry of doctors, scientists, and everyone else who studies them.
The Psychopath Test is a fascinating journey through the minds of madness. Jon Ronson's exploration of a potential hoax being played on the world's top neurologists takes him, unexpectedly, into the heart of the madness industry. An influential psychologist who is convinced that many important CEOs and politicians are, in fact, psychopaths teaches Ronson how to spot these high-flying individuals by looking out for little telltale verbal and nonverbal clues. And so Ronson, armed with his new psychopath-spotting abilities, enters the corridors of power. He spends time with a death-squad leader institutionalized for mortgage fraud in Coxsackie, New York; a legendary CEO whose psychopathy has been speculated about in the press; and a patient in an asylum for the criminally insane who insists he's sane and certainly not a psychopath.
Ronson not only solves the mystery of the hoax but also discovers, disturbingly, that sometimes the personalities at the helm of the madness industry are, with their drives and obsessions, as mad in their own way as those they study. And that relatively ordinary people are, more and more, defined by their maddest edges
I was most interested in reading this book because I am a nursing student who has thoroughly enjoyed her Mental Health clinicals. The human brain is interesting and complex. Much of what Ronson covers is what I was taught in my Mental Health class at school, so there was a lot of familiarity to me. For the person who hasn’t been through that class, there will be a lot of new information available. Ronson applies The Psychopath Test to himself throughout the book and it’s easy to see how any one of us can be deemed mad at times. Some of the stories that Ronson tells go on for a bit too long and can be boring and dry, but there is also a lot of humor within the book. A few things that said psychopaths said or did were definitely cringe worthy and I quickly read on just to get to something that would make me laugh instead. It’s an insightful read into just how screwed up we people can be. That might be a tad insensitive, but it’s just because we all have a lil psychopath in us.
Book Rating: 3/5
Book Received From: Penguin for Review