The Psychopath Test

A Journey Through the Madness Industry

Ronson, Jon

Book - 2011
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
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 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"-- Provided by publisher.

Publisher: New York : Riverhead Books, 2011
ISBN: 9781594488016
Branch Call Number: 616.8582 R774p 2011
Characteristics: 275 p. :,ill. ;,22 cm


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Sep 23, 2014
  • redban rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

I very much enjoy Jon Ronson's writing style and topics having read several of his books; they are like mystery/thrillers, and you often have to shake yourself when you realize these are actual things that happened in real life. Mr. Ronson's books are not systematic reviews of the topics, nor are they pinpoint arguments in a debate. However, he provides tremendous insight, which can be anecdotal but still quite revealing. And he does provide strategic overviews so you are prepared for the twists and turns. At the very least, you will enjoy his stories, and you will gain more exposure and interest in the topics. This is Gonzo journalism, know what you're in for, and enjoy the ride!

Aug 29, 2014
  • WVMLStaffPicks rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Who knew that exploring the world of psychopaths could be so entertaining and funny? The author takes a course on administering the Psychopath Checklist and finds himself ticking items on the list, not only when interviewing CEOs and inmates of prisons and asylums, but on the experts and himself. Don’t miss this fascinating, fast-paced look at the complex world of madness.

Jul 16, 2014
  • Quimeras rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

Ronson sets out to prove his thesis but sometimes veers off track. However, I don’t mind going wherever his investigation leads him; “The Psychopath Test” is still a fascinating and enjoyable read.

Apr 24, 2014
  • CRRL_CraigGraziano rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

Jon Ronson sees insanity all around him. Partially that is because as a journalist he is drawn to write stories in which people engage in erratic behavior. It is also because he has learned The Psychopath Test, and he cannot stop administering the 20-point checklist to everyone around him.

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Apr 21, 2014
  • jasontrent rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Read this because the segment on This American Life stuck in my head after hearing it years ago.
Hard to put down but after a while you wonder if Ronson will connect the dots or if he is just trying to assimilate, Malcom Gladwell, style a lot of interesting but not-really-always-about-psycopathy anecdotes.
It was hard to put down. If you like TAL or Gladwell, The New Yorker, etc. you may well enjoy this book

Nov 02, 2013
  • BOOKS55 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

A very interesting read with a lot of researched knowledge to back up the storyline. I thoroughly enjoyed it even though some things were quite scary and shocking. I would defiantly recommend it!

Jul 06, 2013
  • Jool62 rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

I did not think that it was a fascinating adventure through the minds of madness.or that it was entertaining.
It was strange. I have never read any of his other books. After reading this I am not sure I want to.

Dec 17, 2012
  • LazyNeko rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Now I know what happens when an overly anxious journalist becomes empowered with the ability to spot psychopaths. But Ronson's story isn't just an amusing tale of spotting psychopaths everywhere (and it's very amusing!), he makes us wonder where, exactly, should the line between the sane and insane be drawn and who should be allowed to determine that line.

Jun 14, 2012
  • edylevin rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

I read this entire book on a plane journey (with layovers) from the East Coast to the West Coast. It kept me captivated from beginning to end. Mr. Ronson is a great storyteller and the content was quite provocative.

May 03, 2012
  • JeremiahSutherland rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

I sometimes wonder if this author isn't just pulling our collective leg. He writes a good story about strange situations.

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Dec 17, 2012
  • LazyNeko rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

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.

Jan 29, 2012
  • jgneff rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

You're standing on an escalator and you watch the people going past on the opposite escalator. If you could climb inside their brains, you would see we aren't all the same. We aren't all good people just trying to do good. Some of us are psychopaths.


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Sep 12, 2011
  • marishkajuko rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

marishkajuko thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over


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May 03, 2012
  • JeremiahSutherland rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

This is a story about Ronson's quest to find out what constitutes a psychopath.

He starts with someone who is merely obsessive and goes on from there to individuals incarcerated in mental institutions.

From there, he interviews others who are psychopaths but have been successful in business possibly because of their condition.


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