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.
I think I have a huge crush on Jon Ronson as I have now downloaded all his audio books and podcasts and can’t stop listening to him. There is something so entertaining about his voice and I have yet to find a book by him that hasn’t interested or fascinated me.
As a huge fan of psychological thrillers especially ones featuring batshit crazy characters Jon’s investigation into what makes a psychopath and what are the signs, was really interesting.
There were so many moments when I am sure I wasn’t supposed to laugh, but I couldn’t help myself giggle out loud at the various observations and the running commentary throughout.
Here’s a selection of some brilliant quotes from Jon:
“The DSM-IV-TR is a 943-page textbook published by the American Psychiatric Association that sells for $99…There are currently 374 mental disorders. I bought the book…and leafed through it…I closed the manual. “I wonder if I’ve got any of the 374 mental disorders,” I thought. I opened the manual again. And instantly diagnosed myself with twelve different ones.”
“Oh, you know what bloggers are like, they write and write and write. I don’t know why, because they’re not being paid.”
“Shall we go?’ he murmured, perhaps regretting his decision to show me his army of plastic cartoon figurines.”
Fascinating, funny as hell and very thought-provoking. Highly recommended, especially in audio format to hear Jon’s brilliant narration.