The Sociopath Next Door by Martha Stout

Sociopath Have you ever met a sociopath–a person who has no conscience, cannot love anyone, and can do anything without feeling guilty? "Of course not," you’re probably thinking, "I’ve never met a serial killer, thank goodness." You could be mistaken! According to the author, a clinical psychologist, 1 out of 25 ordinary Americans is a sociopath, and such people can be found almost anywhere. They can be either male and female, of any racial, ethnic, or economic group, and can hold various types of jobs, including those in which they wield authority over others. One might be your neighbor, your colleague, or part of your social circle. While the book includes a few chapters which are somewhat academic in tone, most of it is very readable. It includes many fascinating stories, based on Stout’s work experience, about sociopaths in action. While the book tells us that sociopaths are usually adept at hiding their true natures and that only years of knowing a person can tell you if he is a sociopath, its descriptions will give you clues to help you discover these people and then to deal with them. Is the book chilling? Definitely. Is it interesting? Absolutely. Is it practical? You may find it helpful in dealing with someone whose behavior has been a total mystery.

Helen Snow, Information Services

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