Book Review: The Psychopath Test:  A Journey Through the Madness Industry

by Vanessa Knoedler

Book Review: The Psychopath Test:  A Journey Through the Madness Industry (2012) `
by Jon Ronson

 Looking for a spooky read with a mysterious figure riding through the wood – eyes furtively searching the shadows for malevolent figures dancing through the brush ere the sun rises?

Tough stuff- this is not that book at all.

jon_ronson_psychopath_testIt is, however, a captivating and bone-chilling non-fiction depiction of those most fascinating Dexter-esque individuals: Psychopaths.  Have you ever wondered about the term Psychopath?  Where does it come from? How do you find one?  Are they dangerous?  Is my neighbor one?

These are some of the questions answered by the acclaimed author Jon Ronson (best known for his book The Men Who Stare at Goats) in his book The Psychopath Test.  A relentless journalist, he weaves a story that compels from the get-go.  His first pages start, not with the mundane “The OED defines a psychopath as manipulative, delusional, calculating…” that one might expect, but rather with a mystery.  A book arrives unannounced on the doorsteps of prominent neurologists and theologians around the world.  Its pages are unnervingly inscrutable and perplexing to the intelligentsia to whom they were delivered.

Where does it come from? What is the meaning of the symbols and cut pages and mathematical curiosities contained therein?  Hooked?  I certainly was and stayed so throughout this fast-paced, self-effacing, thoroughly well-researched and lightly written text.

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