The Sociopath Next Door By Martha Stout, Ph.d

For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? -Jesus
The man who knows how to split the atom but has no love in his heart becomes a monster. -Krishnamurti


"The presence or absence of conscience is a deep human division, arguably more significant than intelligence, race, or even gender. ……. What distinguishes all of these people (sociopaths) from the rest of us is an utterly empty hole in the psyche, where there should be the most evolved of all humanizing functions (the conscience)."

Did you know that more than 4% of Americans simply do not have a conscience? (Don’t scoff at the minuscule figure – These 4% are enough to make life miserable for the remaining 96%) Can you imagine what it would be like to live a life completely unfettered by remorse, no matter what you do? Not every sociopath looks (or acts) like Hannibal the Cannibal. Most of them are content to suck the life out of those in their power in less showy ways, as abusive parents, horrifyingly opportunistic co-workers, co-dependent spouses, etc.

"For something like 96% of us, conscience is so fundamental that we seldom even think about it…… …… We do not seriously ask ourselves, Shall I give my child lunch money today, or not? Shall I steal my coworker's briefcase today, or not? Shall I walk out on my spouse today, or not? Conscience makes all of these decisions for us, so quietly, automatically, and continually that, in our most creative flights of imagination, we would not be able to conjure the image of an existence without conscience. And so, naturally, when someone makes a truly conscienceless choice, all we can produce are explanations that come nowhere near the truth: She forgot to give lunch money to her child. That person's coworker must have misplaced her briefcase. That person's spouse must have been impossible to live with. Or we come up with labels that, provided we do not inspect too closely, almost explain another person's antisocial behavior: He is "eccentric, " or "artistic, " or "really  competitive, " or "lazy, " or "clueless" or "always such a rogue. ""

‘The Sociopath Next Door’ is one of those books that I would call an eye-opener. It pulls us out of our comfort-zone, and after you’ve read it, you’ll never be the same again. Each chapter begins with a thought-provoking quotation about conscience, guilt, duty, etc. Dr. Stout describes chilling case-studies of sociopaths in or daily lives. My favourite chiller comes in Chapter 2 (Ice people: the sociopaths) featuring ‘Skip’, the psychopathic CEO of a multinational corporation.

My favourite part of the book is in Chapter 8 – ‘Thirteen Rules for Dealing with Sociopaths in Everyday Life’ – priceless. The last point says – Living well is the best revenge. Don’t you agree? Do not miss this book for anything.
cameronr cameronr
18-21, F
1 Response Nov 27, 2012

I have read something similar: Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths Go to Work by Paul Babiak, Robert D. Hare. An interesting but disturbing book which I can recommend.

Thanks for the recommendation! I'll see if I like it...