The title here is a bit misleading. The book is not just about psychopaths but the extreme edges of the psychology industry. But like all Jon Ronson books it is as much about the author/investigative journalist's journey in researching his subject as it is about the subject itself. Ronson is an obsessive and neurotic writer whose specialty is hanging out with and writing about people most of us are happy to never meet. Its fun and a bit disturbing following him around. In the end, you won't think about psychological disorders the same way again.
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.
About the Author
Jon Ronson’s works include New York Times bestseller So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, Lost at Sea, The Amazing Adventures of Phoenix Jones, and international bestsellers: Them: Adventures with Extremists and The Men Who Stare at Goats. Ronson lives in New York.
“Because of Ronson’s relentless self-deprecation and goofy, British humor, it’s easy to tag along without fully realizing the rigor of his reporting, which is itself frenzied with compulsive questioning and obsessive research.” -- The Boston Globe
“A rollicking, page-turner of a book... no ordinary piece of investigative journalism… Ronson’s storytelling skills are strong enough to enliven even the necessary reflections that would be one yawn after another if entrusted to a lesser writer.” -- San Francisco Chronicle
“…A book that manages to be as cheerily kooky as it is well-researched.” -- Los Angeles Times
“Engagingly irreverent…” -- New York Times
“[A] fascinating and humane book…” -- Washington Post Book World
“…Both terrifying and hilarious.” -- O, The Oprah Magazine