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  • John Murray Learning

The Sociopath Next Door: The Ruthless versus the Rest of Us

Martha Stout

5 Reviews

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Sociology: family & relationships, Family psychology, Abnormal psychology, The self, ego, identity, personality, Dating, relationships, living together & marriage, Separation & divorce

An astonishing, chilling and appallingly useful guide to recognising conscienceless individuals - you need this book in your life.


Is it your lying, cheating ex-husband?
Your sadistic high school gym teacher?
Your boss who loves to humiliate people in meetings?
The colleague who stole your idea and passed it off as her own?

In the pages of THE SOCIOPATH NEXT DOOR, you will realize that your ex was not just misunderstood. He's a sociopath. And your boss, teacher, and colleague? They may be sociopaths too.

We are accustomed to think of sociopaths as violent criminals, but in THE SOCIOPATH NEXT DOOR, Harvard psychologist Martha Stout reveals that a shocking 4 percent of ordinary people- 1 in 25 - has an often undetected mental disorder, the chief symptom of which is that that person possesses no conscience. He or she has no ability whatsoever to feel shame, guilt, or remorse. One in 25 everyday people, therefore, is secretly a sociopath. They could be your colleague, your neighbour, even family. And they can do literally anything at all and feel absolutely no guilt.

How do we recognize the remorseless? One of their chief characteristics is a kind of glow or charisma that makes sociopaths more charming or interesting than the other people around them. They're more spontaneous, more intense, more complex, or even sexier than everyone else, making them tricky to identify and leaving us easily seduced. Fundamentally, sociopaths are different because they cannot love. Sociopaths learn early on to show sham emotion, but underneath they are indifferent to others' suffering. They live to dominate and thrill to win.

The fact is, we all almost certainly know at least one or more sociopaths already. Part of the urgency in reading THE SOCIOPATH NEXT DOOR is the moment when we suddenly recognize that someone we know - someone we worked for, or were involved with, or voted for - is a sociopath. But what do we do with that knowledge? To arm us against the sociopath, Dr Stout teaches us to question authority, suspect flattery, and beware the pity play. Above all, she writes, when a sociopath is beckoning, do not join the game.

It is the ruthless versus the rest of us, and THE SOCIOPATH NEXT DOOR will show you how to recognize and defeat the devil you know.

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Praise for The Sociopath Next Door: The Ruthless versus the Rest of Us

  • A fascinating, important book about what makes good people good and bad people bad, and how good people can protect themselves from those others.

  • The Sociopath Next Door is a chillingly accurate portrayal of evil -- the decent person's guide to indecency.

  • A chilling portrait of human beings who lack scruples the way someone born blind lacks eyesight...Stout describes respected professionals who tell outrageous lies simply to confuse colleagues... authority figures who deceive, seduce and even murder just to relieve the boredom that is the usual state of the sociopathic mind. - O Magazine

  • One in 25 people is a sociopath- no conscience, no guilt. It could be your mean boss or your crazy ex. [The Sociopath Next Door] is an easy-to-follow guide for spotting them. - Newsweek

  • I can't help but like Stout. After all, a book with passages not too subtly describing [a] present government's machinations that contains the word 'sociopath' in its title could only have been written by someone with guts. - Metro New York

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