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

They are amongst us; they influence our societies; they are not unicorns even if they want to think themselves to be. However, sociopaths and psychopaths (+ narcissists) are not on the rampage. Not every disagreeable person who happens to annoy, hurt, or tick you off the wrong way is one. I hate when people say: “S/he is such a narcissist/sociopath.”

I have this one friend whose every ex is a narcissist, all her friends are sociopaths, and the world is run by psychopaths. You know the type. You have one lurking in your social circle. That said, one of all her encounters might have been one, and it would be nice to be able to spot them. The one charming little bugger willing to hurt you for their personal gain. So, it would seem like a psychopath test would be a handy app to have on your phone, right?

I will not answer the question, sorry. What I will answer is how Jon Ronson’s book helps you to understand the psychological conditions of sociopaths/psychopaths and aids you to find them. It doesn’t. The book scratched only the surface of the matter, jumping from one bizarre, macabre, intriguing story to another. Yes, I gained a scattered image of psychopaths, how they are tested, what pitfalls the testing has, and what the writer himself thought about the matter. But I don’t know if that was enough. His personal journey didn’t convince me, neither did his argument through his examples. And this wasn’t because I found myself in the psychopath spectrum, far from it, but… There is the “but” again which often seems to be the case with me. I wanted more! More research and studies. A deeper analysis. For me, this book felt flat and hastily put together compared to his classic (you know what I mean.) I got a feeling that a deadline, publisher, or his tiredness was pushing on him to half-ass the book.

Also, what I found bewildering was how he kept bringing up Scientologist and his association with them but never committing to saying anything too deep about the subject, hinting here and there, and only strongly stating their distrust to psychology.

In spite of my disappointment, I enjoyed listening to the audiobook, and I found new information, and I’m ever more convinced that not all my friend’s associates can’t be narcissistic fucks.

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