The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson

The Psychopath Test

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...

Details The Psychopath Test

TitleThe Psychopath Test
Release DateMay 1st, 2012
PublisherRiverhead Books
GenreNonfiction, Psychology, Science

Reviews The Psychopath Test

  • Simeon
    ***Warning: this review is not for the fainthearted.*** A video recently went viral of a Texas judge savagely beating his disabled teenage daughter with a belt.(view spoiler)[ Her mother tells her to "bend over and take it like a woman" moments after the man's sadistic promise to beat her "into fucking submission", to teach her obedience, hitting her while she begs from a corner of the room so all the camera can catch are her screams.If only some...
  • Lynn Weber
    If you're interested in this topic, I'd recommend starting with Martha Stout's The Sociopath Next Door rather than this book. The problem with this one is that it's more "Follow me as I delve into this crazy world and have surreal experiences" than it is a study of sociopathy. And that ultimately makes it less gripping. I remember clearly the first section of of Stout's book, as it took the reader on a tour of one man's mind as he faced a simple ...
  • Bill Kerwin
    A breezy, entertaining journey through the public effects of madness, with particular attention to the impact of the psychopath on society. Ronson is an excellent writer with a fine sense of humor who knows how to tell a good story in plain language. That he is able to do this while making subtle observations about our society shows what a really good writer he is.
  • Courtney Lindwall
    I read this in about a 4 hour span, from 12 am - 4 am. It freaked me out and I slept with the lights on. But on with the review. So I've read things about psychopaths previously. How their brains are actually wired differently and they are unable to feel empathy, etcetc. Psychopathy is incurable. Psychopathy, in its violent and sexual strands, is outright fucking terrifying. But Ronson's book talks more about the frequent misdiagnosis of psychopa...
  • Ariel
    My first read of the year and it isn't what I was hoping for 3 I decided to jump on this because of my crazy love for Jon Ronson's newest book, So You've Been Publicly Shamed, but I realize now that I underestimated just how much the subject matter of that book contributed to my enjoyment of it. The Psychopath Test has Ronson's humour, similar style, empathetic point of view, and personal life injected into the story, but this research felt meand...
  • Emily (Books with Emily Fox)
    (3.5) I'm not sure how much I learned about Psychopaths but I learned I like the author a lot. He's awkward and anxious in the most relatable way!If you're going to read this book, do yourself a favour and get the audiobook!
  • Greta
    Yesterday I saw a talk show on TV in which a Belgian politician said that the stock market is no gauge for happiness. This is so true. It reminded me of this book, in which the author, in his quest to uncover psychopaths, visits Al Dunlap. This was a man who actually enjoyed closing down plants and firing people (Scott, Sunbeam). The fact that the share price skyrocketed while he was CEO and fired huge numbers of employees, is really unsettling. ...
  • Jason
    I thought this would be a great tool for self-diagnosis, but actually Ronson skitters from one case to another without really making any definitive point. But maybe that’s the point. Psychopathy is probably not an absolute for most people, as there are many among us who exist in some sort of sociopathic gray area (myself included). Me, I scored a 10, so I’m a partial psychopath. (Surprise, surprise!) My downfall? Apparently, I don’t really ...
  • Stephanie *Very Stable Genius*
    “There is no evidence that we've been placed on this planet to be especially happy or especially normal. And in fact our unhappiness and our strangeness, our anxieties and compulsions, those least fashionable aspects of our personalities, are quite often what lead us to do rather interesting things.” Jon Ronson, in preparation of writing this book took a course from a top psychologist on how to spot a Psychopath. Below is a list of traits fro...
  • Maxwell
    This was a bit of a disappointment. I found the first 50% of the book to be a bit forgettable. It was hard for me to see where Ronson was going with each chapter. Though I found the examination of mental illness, especially the stigmas around it and the potential harms of labeling to be really fascinating, the book as a whole lacked direction. When I read So You've Been Publicly Shamed, I felt like each chapter really compounded on one another to...
  • Mike (the Paladin)
    This is what I might call "an oddly interesting book". I say that because in retrospect I'm a bit surprised that it holds the interest so well. Mr. Ronson begins with a strange little mystery concerning running down the source/writer of an (to use the same word) odd book that has been mailed to certain people. From this the book springboards into a look at Psychopathy, its diagnosis and by extension the way in which psychiatric disorders are not ...
  • Diane
    I'm a fan of pop-psych books, so I was primed to enjoy this one. Journalist Jon Ronson was asked to investigate a mysterious, anonymous book that had been sent to numerous academics around the world. As he was following up on leads, he developed a theory that whoever sent it was somehow mentally ill — a crackpot, to use his term.During his investigation, Ronson heard the term psychopath and learned about a test designed by Robert Hare to rate s...
  • Nancy
    It is self explanatory that this review will make me enemies. Fortunately, those who know me are really the only ones at risk. Like many people, I took my first psychology class in high school and my interest was piqued. My second psychology class was during college, as was my third and fourth. I then diverged into the world of sociology which fascinated me and graduated from Utah State University with a bachelor's degree in sociology. Yay for me...
  • Dan
    An entertaining romp and with a fair bit of food for thought. I liked this book, while at the same time being disappointed with it.My main problem with the work was that I had heard that this book dealt extensively with the idea of psychopaths as possessing traits that tended to land them in positions of power. This is a fascinating topic, is of personal interest to me, and is a concept well-worth a full-length journalistic book. Unfortunately, t...
  • Jafar
    This book is quite lame, to put it simply. I watched The Men Who Stare at Goats, which was pretty damn funny, and I thought I’d read a book by Ronson. This book neither has much to say, nor is it that entertaining. It starts off with a bizarre (and unrelated to psycopathy) “mystery” that Ronson is called upon to solve. During the unfolding of that dull “mystery” Jonson hears about the true meaning of psychopath and goes off to understan...
  • Caroline
    .This review contains spoilersThis is an hilarious book by a wonderful writer. He injects himself into the story in a way not dissimilar to Bill Bryson. It had me bellowing with laughter – laughing at him, with him and at the strange and startling anecdotes that unfurled themselves one after another as the book went on. This book is a glorious example of truth being stranger than fiction…Okay, so that is one aspect of the story. The other asp...
  • Raeleen Lemay
    Read for Popsugar's 2018 Reading Challenge #49: A Book About a Problem Facing Society TodayWhile this book may have started out as Ronson's quest to figure out if psychopaths rule the world, it ended up being so much more than that. It ventures past psychopathy into the territories of mental illness in general, the DSM-V and its failures, and also how people are often misdiagnosed and improperly medicated. As per usual, Ronson's writing is light ...
  • Brendon Schrodinger
    Jon Ronson takes the reader on a journey into madness. What starts as a light-hearted investigation into a set of books sent to academics around the world, proceeds to be an investigation into aspects of the mental disease industry. What is a psychopath? How is medication for mental diseases used? Each chapter is a different story about an aspect of how mental disease has been treated in the past and currently. There are stories that will make yo...
  • Kate Woods Walker
    The subtitle, “a Journey Through the Madness Industry,” should have tipped me off. This was to be a self-consciously iconoclastic, too-cutesy look at psychiatry.I am a fan of Jon Ronson, but less so after this book. I enjoyed Them. I thought the sly Ronson did a stellar job of bringing the horror of U.S. torture at Abu Ghraib to public consciousness in The Men Who Stare at Goats. But I now realize I was making excuses for his irritating, post...
  • Paul
    Reads very easily and is well written in a journalistic sort of way. Ronson meanders through the mental health industry in a rather idiosyncratic way. The basis of the book concerns the psychopath checklist developed by Hare and Ronson manages to get himself invited into various high secuity institutions to talk to various inmates. His wanderings extend to a brief look at diagnosis of bi-polar in childhood and some thoughts on the medication indu...
  • Chris_P
    This was a quite different book than I thought it would be when I first discovered it. Jon Ronson doesn't seem to follow the conventions of writing a study. In fact, it's non-fiction but definitely reads like fiction.Many thoughts passed through my head as I was reading it but what I found more disturbing was the realization that, more or less, people are turning into psychopaths. Let me explain. Here is the Hare PCL-R Checklist which is used to ...
  • Justin
    I've never read anything by Jon Ronson so I wasn't sure what to expect. I heard an interview with him about this book and was fascinated by the subject matter. I was not disappointed, this book is extremely interesting. I like Ronson's style a great deal, and his writing is very approachable. I came to respect him a lot for his ability to acknowledge his weaknesses and then go forward despite them.Ronson has a great ability in communicating his p...
  • Rhi
    Strap in tightly, there's a scientology rant in here! Wheeee!Anybody who knows a marginal amount about sociopaths/psychopathy would be right in thinking it is dangerous, and can be, an evil condition. This book is not so much about that. Sure, it is Ronson's 'journey' through the madness industry, but that includes a dally with scientologists, a brief glimpse into the world of diagnosing/medicating bi-polar children and a tale of reality TV hell....
  • Lightreads
    A book about psychopaths that I actually liked, minor miracle, and that made me think a lot about compassion.Okay, qualifications – the book is more about “the madness industry” – the complex of media and medicine and science and big pharma and fucking weirdness that informs our understanding of people who are mad. It’s a wandering book, tracking Ronson’s haphazard introduction to psychopathy, to spotting psychopaths, and then onto a ...
  • Nicola
    The non-fiction genre can basically be divided into two groups: mediocre books by experts; well-written books by non-experts. I’d normally err on the side of wanting to read the latter kind of book, because who the hell wants to endure shitty prose? However, non-experts writing about a highly complicated subject matter is not without its pitfalls.Imagine, say, a journalist wandering into a woman’s home, observing her kids for a few minutes an...
  • Sam Quixote
    Jon Ronson goes on a mental illness odyssey in his book, The Psychopath Test, which takes in some extraordinary people and facts, and is, by turns, a funny and serious read in alternating chapters.As always, Ronson packs a ton of enjoyably kooky characters into his books. Like the Scandinavian translator sending out mysterious manuscripts to people that pertain to something only his mind knows. Also, "Tony" the Broadmoor inmate who faked mental i...
  • Ryan Krueger
    ** The Psychopath Test by Jon Robson is an informative non-fiction book. The book was written with intent to inform readers about the abundance of psychopaths in our world and how they impact our daily lives. The author is a journalist who has traveled the world to meet with professors, scientists, psychologists and more to find information on this subject to create a strong basis for the book. Ronson makes plenty of flights around the globe to m...
  • Bradley
    Ok, first of all, I have to admit I have a soft spot in my heart for the pop-psy. That being said, I really enjoyed this well-rounded take on psychopathy; from the use of labels to the tests to determine if a person is one. He did not take a position and try to convince us, except as a story technique, but that was also done as a full circle. Very good writing for what it is. I loved the same style turned on scientologists and their crusade again...
  • David
    While Jon Ronson reveals a great deal about his own neuroses in this book, he casts little light on the psychopaths he is allegedly researching, though he does give some interesting insights into the "madness industry" of psychologists who have studied, categorized, labeled, and tried to treat psychopaths, mostly without success.Ronson begins with a strange introduction to the field of psychology and mental illness thanks to a group of Scientolog...
  • Mike
    For a book about psychopaths this was a surprisingly light(ish, come on, we're still talking about psychopaths here) read. The author is a journalist and it covers a wide range of the topic from interviewing a few (suspected) psychopaths, to speaking with psychiatrists who are involved in psychopathy and the classification there of, to scientologists, to neurologists who examined the brains of normal people and psychopaths. It is a fast read of a...