“The consensus from the beginning was that only 1% of humans had it, but the chaos they caused was so far-reaching it could actually remold society, remold it all wrong, like when someone breaks his foot and it gets set badly and the bones stick out in odd directions. And so the urgent question became: How could psychopaths be cured?” -The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson
This book reads like you are peeking over the shoulder of the author as he interviews psychopaths and the people who study them. Among others, he interviews a brash CEO, a charming patient at Broadmoor, and the man who invented a 20 point checklist that tells you just how psychopathic you are. Do you have a superficial charm? How about a grandiose sense of self-worth? Maybe you are a pathological liar, or manipulative, or prone to boredom, or impulsive, or callous? Don’t fret, reader, because if you are worried you may have psychopathic tendencies, that’s actually a good sign you are normal. Well, whatever passes for normal these days.
You see, the author tell us that psychopaths are unable to feel a normal range of emotions. Anxiety is unknown to them, which is why they are often killers. They simply do not care. Some are excellent at aping the facial expressions we associate with grief, or anger, or fear, but they are disconnected from those emotions.
The author talks about how some thought LSD was the answer to curing this malady of the mind and the disastrous results. He mentions a Canadian serial killer (insert joke about how polite Canadians are and something about moose or maple syrup), how psychopaths only dream in black-and-white, Scientologists, and the reality of reality TV.
Equal parts disturbing and fascinating, this book gets five stars from me.
Oh, and I’m on Goodreads now! Come see what I’m reading, recommend what book I should read next, or be my friend. Psychopaths need not apply.