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The Sociopath Next Door
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Who is the devil you know?

Is it your lying, cheating ex-husband?
Your sadistic high school gym teacher?
Your boss who loves to humiliate people in meetings?
The colleague who stole your idea and passed it off as her own?

In the pages of The Sociopath Next Door, you will realize that your ex was not just misunderstood. He’s a sociopath. And your boss, teacher, and colleague? They may be sociopaths too.

We are accustomed to think of sociopaths as violent criminals, but in The Sociopath Next Door, Harvard psychologist Martha Stout reveals that a shocking 4 percent of ordinary people—one in twenty-five—has an often undetected mental disorder, the chief symptom of which is that that person possesses no conscience. He or she has no ability whatsoever to feel shame, guilt, or remorse. One in twenty-five everyday Americans, therefore, is secretly a sociopath. They could be your colleague, your neighbor, even family. And they can do literally anything at all and feel absolutely no guilt.

How do we recognize the remorseless? One of their chief characteristics is a kind of glow or charisma that makes sociopaths more charming or interesting than the other people around them. They’re more spontaneous, more intense, more complex, or even sexier than everyone else, making them tricky to identify and leaving us easily seduced. Fundamentally, sociopaths are different because they cannot love. Sociopaths learn early on to show sham emotion, but underneath they are indifferent to others’ suffering. They live to dominate and thrill to win.

The fact is, we all almost certainly know at least one or more sociopaths already. Part of the urgency in reading The Sociopath Next Door is the moment when we suddenly recognize that someone we know—someone we worked for, or were involved with, or voted for—is a sociopath. But what do we do with that knowledge? To arm us against the sociopath, Dr. Stout teaches us to question authority, suspect flattery, and beware the pity play. Above all, she writes, when a sociopath is beckoning, do not join the game.

It is the ruthless versus the rest of us, and The Sociopath Next Door will show you how to recognize and defeat the devil you know.

Customer Reviews:

  • Next best book to "People of the Lie" by Scott Peck
    As a psychotherapist, I try to keep abreast of all the books that talk about people who create havoc in the lives of others which prompt them to enter therapy.

    I have always known that those who seek therapy are simply trying to undo the problems certain troubled people in their lives are causing for them internally, in their relationships, families, and/or work environment.

    This book gives a name and a language for what happens in a similar way to Scott Peck's book, "People of the Lie". I highly recommend both.

    People of the Lie: The Hope for Healing Human Evil...more info
  • Interesting, but a little bland
    The book is at its best when the author is giving her descriptions of actual sociopaths. It tends to falter in the more technical part, describing the science of psychology. I found it interesting and of course disturbing at the same time. I agree that there are at least 4% of the population out there who are sociopathic. I have known at least two of them myself and recognized the traits so well it was like I already knew it.

    The author's liberal politics could not be hidden in some of her asides and comments here and there. Perhaps that is why she avoided discussing what we as a society should do with these people. Well, she was plenty willing to diss on sociopaths as corporate boardroom hooligans, but the much more common run of the mill criminals, not so much.

    Her best advice was to recognize these people and stay away from them. A common mistake is to get drawn into a sort of courtroom argument where they make you have to prove they are what you recognize them to be. You don't have to. Just ditch them. They will never change.

    ...more info
  • 1 in 25 ordinary Americans secretly has no conscience and can do anything at all without feeling guilty.
    "Who is the devil YOU know?" asks author Martha Stout on the cover of her latest release, The Sociopath Next Door. Stout makes the case the 1 in 25 Americans are sociopathic, a rate that far exceeds that of anorexia, colon cancer, or schizophrenia. Given that antisocial personalities are so prevalent, why isn't there more dialog about them in the popular culture? Stout's book aims to change that, by describing the origins and facets of conscience, exploring antisocial personalities, and providing coping strategies for those of us who are affected by a sociopath in our lives.

    As a psychologist, Martha Stout has seen lives destroyed by sociopaths next door (a mother, ex-boyfriend, sibling, father, friend, co-worker). Her composite case histories highlight the general types of sociopaths, and the means to which they use their lack of conscience to attain personal satisfaction and even economic and career success. She teaches the reader how to identify a sociopath: excessive charm, anger when unable to manipulate, habitual lying, lack of remorse, continuous need for affirmation from others, and an excessively high opinion of oneself.

    Statistics tell us that we're likely going to run into a sociopath or two in the course of our lives, so I suppose that means The Sociopath Next Door is required reading for all of us. Pick this one up so you are well-equipped to deal with these personality types that aim to obliterate you for their own needs. Includes an index and extensive bibliographic notes....more info
  • Not a guide, but affirmation
    I read this book after a couple years of suspecting that my boyfriend was a sociopath, or at least a narcissist with sociopathic tendencies. At first I denied the thought, because he wasn't like Ted Bundy. But as this book confirmed for me, not all sociopaths are violent killers, but they do wreak substantial damage on those people who love them. The character of "Luke" in this book reminded me very much of my ex, a very passive type, who when finally called out on his behavior when I found out he was stealing the mortgage payment to fund his lifestyle, deployed the "pity play." What kept me from giving this book the full 5 stars was the lack of a comprehensive guide to help those who have found themselves trapped in a relationship with a sociopath. It is not so easy to just pack up and leave, which is the extent of Stout's advice. I did, but I harbored some regret in doing so UNTIL I READ THIS BOOK. For anyone who has a feeling that their significant other is just a little "off," don't hesitate and read this book and take it to heart. I wish I had read it years ago......more info
  • Read this book!
    We are accustomed to think of sociopaths as violent criminals like Hannibal Lechter or Ted Bundy.

    Martha Stout in this book reveals how a shocking 4 percent of the population have the same chief symptom, namely a complete lack of conscience. The difference is that the majority with this mental disposition operate within the laws and only rarely get caught.

    The book is easy to read without having a psych degree and Martha Stout uses many examples to show how these people charm and deceive their way through life in total disregard for the impact on other people.

    Martha Stout further teaches how to identify a sociopath and how to protect oneself from the impact of one.

    I found the book clear and light and also a celebration of the 96% who do have a conscience.

    The book is well worth reading along with "In sheeps clothing" by George Simon, "Political Ponerology" by Andrzej Lobaczewski, "The mask of sanity" by Hervey Checkley and "Without conscience" by Robert Hare, that all deal with different aspects of the phenomenon....more info
  • Read this book!
    We are accustomed to think of sociopaths as violent criminals like Hannibal Lechter or Ted Bundy.

    Martha Stout in this book reveals how a shocking 4 percent of the population have the same chief symptom, namely a complete lack of conscience. The difference is that the majority with this mental disposition operate within the laws and only rarely get caught.

    The book is easy to read without having a psych degree and Martha Stout uses many examples to show how these people charm and deceive their way through life in total disregard for the impact on other people.

    Martha Stout further teaches how to identify a sociopath and how to protect oneself from the impact of one.

    I found the book clear and light and also a celebration of the 96% who do have a conscience.

    The book is well worth reading along with "In sheeps clothing" by George Simon, "Political Ponerology" by Andrzej Lobaczewski, "The mask of sanity" by Hervey Checkley and "Without conscience" by Robert Hare, that all deal with different aspects of the phenomenon....more info
  • Interesting
    I thought this book was very interesting. It is a page turner, not boring and dry like many psychology books. The author does a nice job of explaining what sociopathy is and gives many examples (given in story format) to help the reader understand.

    The one flaw in it seems to be it's inability to connect with its title: The cover and blurb on the back give the impression that sociopaths are everywhere; at work, in my neighborhood. The author explains that a sociopath is simply a person who has no conscience, and feels no remorse for causing pain to another creature (human or animal). However, I certainly didn't come away from reading this book feeling like I the described personality traits apply to anyone other than those who commit horrible crimes. I still maintain the impression that only really, really BAD people are sociopaths, not necessarily everyday people.

    That said, this book does get you thinking. Maybe there really are more people than we think who truly don't care about the welfare of anyone other than themselves....more info
  • A Great Read, but not to be taken so litterally
    This is a fascinating and entertaining book, but should not be taken as fact. It is very easy to write off someone as a sociopath based on a list of vague symptons. A clinically certified sociopath will display absolutely no brain activity when shown pictures of disturbing or catastrophic images; most people, non-sociopaths that is, will have a physiological response to such images, such as increased heart rate, sweating, ect. Sociopaths show none of these signs. They simply are not capable of detecting anyone elses pain or misery. I think it is unfair, and untrue to say that a sociopath has no concience: people with pre-frontal lobe damage have shown a similar lack of emotional response, but I would not say that they have no soul, or no concience. This is just another piece of the puzzle in understand human nature.
    However, until those 4% of Americans have actually been tested for this lack of emotional response, I'm very hesitant to believe that 1 in 25 people are afflicted with this disorder. Just because someone meets the criteria of symptoms--flattery, charming, ect.--does not mean they fall into this catagory of mental illness. Not everyone who is callous, manipulative, self-sering, cruel and malicious is a certified sociopath. We might call them this, but in reality, some people choose to behave this way. We also need to take a moment to look at the society that these 4% of people come from: we call sociopathy a mental illness, when maybe it is just the perfect adaption for the kind of individualistic, and Capatilistic society we live. When we have a societal and economic model based on the Social-Darwinist 'dog-eat-dog' kind of world, can we really call it a mental illness when all these people are doing is exactly what society is subtly telling them to do? ...more info
  • Interesting but repetitive
    The book has a compelling premise and there is quite a lot of useful information in there. But what Martha says in 256 pages she could have said in 50. I would have preferred a shorter, more concise book, or one with more stories and useful advice....more info
  • the sociopath next door
    a must read for anyone who lives with or thinks they know someone who is a sociopath....more info
  • When running next door for Sugar means packing a Gat!
    Welcome to my World!

    Yep, many have called me a sociopath in my day. Only one of them, however, got to say something after that, and that was only because the gun jammed.

    Ha! Ha! Kidding. Martha Stout has put together this slender little tome, packed with pop science and plenty of white desert-like margins, that sets out to let you know that:

    1)Four percent of the population exhibits sociopathic qualities. For the mathematically challenged---that is, pretty much 96% of the population---that means 1 out of 25.

    Think about that statistic for a minute.Take an office with 25 people, and chances are Herbie the Courier Guy or Roald (you know, Roald, the guy with glasses and the shaky sweaty hands, the Quiet One. Roald. Sheesh) has invested in some XP-142 Night Vision goggles and a serrated knife, and, um, a GPS device that might lead him to your front door.

    At 2 in the morning. Just so we're clear.

    2) These sociopath guys, like the Wu-Tang Clan, ain't nothing to mess with. No sir. They can't love. They don't feel emotion. They're Republican. They're corporate chieftains. They ride in the Lear, the Limo, the Maybach. They invented War. They smear cats with napalm, then duct tape them to the underside of your car, right by the rear exhaust, with a tricked-out bic lighter just waiting for ignition.

    Sorry, I made that last one up. But you get the general gist of the book.

    "Sociopath Next Door" is simply not scholarly, and verges on dangerous. Sociopath is a pop-term, like psycho, like axe-murderer, like boogeyman, El Diablo, or Janet Reno, with about the same level of erudition & exactness. It's jarring to see the term used so callously. Isn't it dangerous to fling terms and profiles, particularly ones as crudely formed and ill-defined as this, in what is essentially piece of pulp pop-science?

    "Sociopath" even tries to put together a home-made psycho alarm for the Gentle Reader, the better to ferret out whether weird Mr. Fishbein, the crazy coot who lies next door, lies awake on his bed at nights dressed only in a giant plastic baggy whispering to his AK-47 and plotting your demise. Guess what should set off alarm bells & unleash the hounds?

    That's right: someone who asks for pity. For mercy. For clemency. A pity-junky, according to this book, is a ravening sociopath probably plotting to get you fired, pour acid on your car, and eat your firstborn child with some fava beans and a fine chianti.

    "Sociopath" also spends some time talking about the supposed human superstition against killing: according to her, people really kill only when supervised by (you guessed it!) a drooling sociopath. The irony here: the author indicates one means by which men make their subjects kill is by de-humanizing the Other: using language to demonize, to turn the Outsider, the Pariah, the Unclean (usually some target ethnic or religious group), into an "It".

    It's a fair point. But skim her book, and simply replace sociopath with any ethnic epithet and take a look at how it reads. Avoid the devilish sociopaths. They don't feel. They're not human. They have cold blood. They're killers. Four percent of the planet is responsible for all the rape, the killing, the torture, and the endless popularity of David Hasselhoff.

    Hasn't this book demonized sociopaths as brutally, as unfairly, as unjustly, as anything any Monster of History did with their fave victim class? Where's the Love for the American Psycho? Are we not also Human? Cut* us, do we not bleed? Cut us twice, do we not make you bleed more?

    But what "Sociopath" edges away from is the really interesting question here: what if sociopathy is not a malady? What if it's evolution? What if the guy who doesn't get all weepy over "Beaches" is really Humanity New New Thing, the silver-suited astropath who will transcend this miserable mortal coil and help us defeat the Ichthyoid Nasties from Betelgeuse 14?

    In the meantime, using the book's 'method' for spotting psychos is about as useful as playing spin the bottle. Intuition, instinct, and your own experience probably cuts the mustard, and you don't have to waste your money on this one-way ticket to Paranoia. Granted, instinct isn't perfect.

    But it sure beats fretting over whether your trip next door to borrow the lawnmower should include a can of mace, a sawed-off 12 gauge, and kevlar body armor.

    JSG...more info
  • Everyone should read this
    A must-read book for anyone who either is in a personal situation with a troubled person or knows a friend who is. For me, it was with my adult child, who was involved in a felonious theft operation and went to jail. It literally destroyed his family and continues to cause us problems. The book helps one understand the illness and how to cope with it. Nicely written in layman's language and very easy to follow. We've bought many copies and shared with folks going through problems described in the book.

    ...more info
  • For those got intimately involved with a sociopath
    Stout's book is well-written with clear examples of sociopathic behavior that happen to be true, from her own experience as a practicing psychologist. This book is highly recommended to anyone who has a conscience, succumbing to self-doubt, who has been used and abused by a person with antisocial personality disorder (ASP = sociopath = psychopath). I read it twice in the same week. It provided a better understanding of what to accept, what to reject, and how people with no conscience come to be and survive in this world....more info
  • A good book that could have been better
    Simply as an introduction to the concept of Sociopathy, this is an interesting book, although the use of composites rather than actual individuals in her case studies certainly weakens much of the work.

    But like some other readers, I can't fathom why the author felt it necessary to keep making veiled political commentary in nearly every chapter of this book. Invoking SLA Marshall's widely questioned statistics around the propensity of soldiers in combat to fire their weapons is also a weakness.

    This book would be stronger if all politics was simply left out, SLA's research was reexamined before inclusion here, and "real life" examples of Sociopathy had be used, rather than fictional composites....more info
  • They Are Always So Charming When You First Meet Them
    I've read this book - a little too late for me personally. But it is a book you should give to someone you care about, someone who might be going through emotional turmoil because of the actions of others.

    IF you've ever had a friend, lover, neighbor, family member who just creates emotional drama over-and-over in your life.....

    IF you have a parent or child who drains you on a continual basis.....

    IF, in your place of employment (or school) you seem to be targeted by one of your co-workers (student or teacher) and their loud comments/behaviors are enacted to make YOU look BAD.....

    Then, my friend, you have quite possibly encountered a sociopath/psychopath.

    This is a wonderful book to begin with, to learn about the "others" who surround us in every walk of life. They do not have a conscience, eg. their bad behaviors never, ever leave them embarrassed or worried. And reading this book will help you to understand why.

    And, quite naturally, you will come to understand the definition of the word that I've been hearing more of lately: "ponerology".

    ...more info
  • If you are dealing with a person like this read this book!
    The best book I have read that gives explanatory descriptions of who these people are and confirms that you are not crazy for thinking that a person is capable of doing such harmful things and yet not appearing to look like they are doing it to the average person. These types do exist and the more information you know about them, the more they will be exposed and the better off society will be for it. I thank the author for her courage in writing this book....more info
  • i see the light
    great book-married one i got out alive but not unscathed. I would advise many people to read however I worry that those that are will read and continue to use our goodness against us .Remember to believe a person's actions not their words if they are inconsistent more than 3 times get out-read this book...more info
  • all people should read & heed
    The book 'The Sociopath next Door' by Marths stout is a must read for everyone. I only wish I had had this book 30 years ago. She describes the Sociopath and the means to avoid them. info
  • A must read for life skills
    The Sociopath Next Door

    After reading this book, I felt that a book on this topic is a must read for all humans. I saw how one could save oneself a lot of misery in life just by being able to recognize sociopaths quickly and removing them from your life before you become entangled with them. I bought it because I found certain people in my life had "weird" morals and they would do things or make decisions which I thought were very odd. I have since removed these people from my life, I didn't tell them why, I just started being too busy to get together and not returning calls and I find my life is a lot less hectic. I removed them before reading this book, and I bought this book to just check whether I had been wrong and unfair to these people. After reading this book I'm still not completely sure whether I was right or wrong, but I have this strong feeling - almost like the adrenaline rush you get when you barely escape a dangerous situation. I actually miss one of these people - yes, they can be charming, but the sense of the danger and my mind telling me "Oh no, you don't want that" is mitigating it a little.

    Outside of that specific situation, some of the things that I learned from this book and which were new to me, which I will apply when I suspect a sociopath are

    - do not join the sociopath's game - don't compete with them try to outsmart them or psychoanalyze them
    - do not pity them or feel sorry for them.
    - avoid them completely, do not communicate with them

    One questionable outcome is that this book has reinforced my previously mild distrust of all people and things and I know I will never think or say "Oh no, he/she couldn't do that" I'll just ask for evidence for and against the claim. However, I don't feel bad about losing whatever minuscule innocence I had before reading this book, the way I think of it is that suspicion often prevents bad things from proliferating, it helps catch the bad guys. It works both ways though, for example just because a relationship or a marriage didn't work out or someone is in a child custody fight with you doesn't mean that that person is a sociopath....more info
  • Yes, I have known a few...
    I am going to buy this book for a few of my friends and family members. I think it will make them feel better-- like they are NOT crazy, and in fact ARE perhaps dealing with a sociopath.
    This book is not too long a read (I read it in a weekend). But it is full of information about this little understood disorder, and will get the reader thinking for sure. If 4% of the population falls into this shadow disorder, then all of us have known at least one! Sometimes we just can't put our finger on what it is about that person... Because they blend in, for the most part, and only give themselves away if you are really paying attention. I liked what the doctor says about why it is that they can hide so easily among us-- because good people with conscience, can hardly beleive that a human being can NOT have a conscience, and they can't really wrap their heads around what that even means! So we think there must be another reason, some excuse, for why a sociopathic person behaves the way they do, or gives us the creeps. When I was working as a social worker, I think I saw this a lot. Victims of people with no conscience or guilt making excuses for the abuser, or not believing they did the crime... I think this is one of the reasons people don't realize how often child abuse is happening-- because good people just cannot believe it! WHO would "do that" to a child, after all? Not anyone we know, for sure...right?
    Wrong. This book makes it clear that people like this are much more common, and much more damaged, than we may like to think. But MOST of them are not killers, or blood-thirsty. They just experience no emotional connection or obligation to other people. And so they can hurt you, use you, and play games with your life, just to feel powerful or "on top". They come in all types, just like anybody. Only more dangerous.
    I found the chapter on the science and brain imaging sooo interesting. And the last chapter asking larger, esoteric and spiritual questions important.
    All in all, fascinating and wise. ;)...more info
  • Important read!
    An excellent review of people without conscience and also a beacon for hope. There are truly evil people in the world and they are well-described along with possible causes, destructiveness and ways to recognize and deal with them. It should be required reading for all adults. As a psychiatrist, I deal eveyday with the casualties produced by such people. This book goes a long way in helping people recognize such people and protect themselves in their daily lives and in their religious, political and other areas of life. A must read....more info
  • 100% Excllent Book!
    I found this book to be understandable, readable, and appropriate for any young adult or adult reader interested in learning more about sociopathy. (AKA, antisocial personality disorder.)

    Stout provides excellent and clear examples, allowing the reader to differentiate between someone with unsettling character flaws and a true sociopath.

    It was a fascinating page-turner, but more importantly, once the reader has an accurate understanding of sociopathy and how to recognize it, Stout closes with a set of RULES for dealing with a true sociopath in your life. Sociopaths can be harmless, but they can also be quite dangerous, and I found the real-life strategies for dealing with a sociopath (should you have to interact with one) to be lifesavers. (Maybe literally!)

    A final note: It is my understanding that there is a big difference between a sociopath and a psychopath. A sociopath lacks the ability to feel guilt, remorse, and love. A psychopath lacks these emotions as well, but the difference is that the psychopath also lacks the ability to feel fear, which is what makes them far more dangerous. (Reference "Emotional Capacities and Sensitivity in Psychopaths" by Willem H. J. Martens, MD, PhD, 2003)...more info
  • Lot of good material then she goes all new age weird
    The parts about describing sociopaths and how to identify them and even how to deal with them and protect yourself are VERY good. This is a book I would recommend for everyone to read.

    But her descriptions of conscience and what it is has more to do with her personal world view than science. I think Wikipedia does a more concise and better job of describing conscience. Too bad, because it was mostly very good otherwise. Through much of the book she also injects little snippets of her personal beliefs and views as if they are the only possible "right" way of thinking. This is done in a very subtle way. I think the author has very liberal, progressive, views and this is reflected in parts of the book. She just goes all "gooey" in places....more info
  • Lots of solid information
    I have to admit, I love book about abnormal psychology. I think it helps inform me as a mystery writer.

    This book grabbed my attention the moment I first heard about it. Could it be possible that one in 25 people is a sociopath, someone with no conscience and no ability to feel compassion or empathy? I have had it on my to-read list for ages.

    Dr. Stout does an admirable job of tracing not only the genesis of the diagnosis "sociopath," but of the human conscience as well. She discusses what sets normal people apart from sociopaths, how sociopaths differ from narcissists, and what our very term "conscience" means and how it differs from obligation.

    I really enjoyed her descriptions of sociopaths she's treated or known, and particularly appreciated her tips on how to deal with sociopaths in your own life (stay far away!). What I found less useful were the sections on morality, ethics, and human conscience. They would be interesting to a philosopher, I think, but they weren't what I was expecting or looking for.

    I was also left with many questions: What happens when two (or more) sociopaths encounter each other? Can sociopaths be rehabilitated? Can you tell someone is going to become a sociopath when they are a child? Are there degrees of sociopathology? Are there more sociopathic men than women? What about the Internet -- how has that helped sociopaths?

    All in all, Dr. Stout has done her homework, and it shows. I skipped many of the "philosophical" sections, but I would eagerly read another book by Dr. Stout that addressed questions I listed above....more info
  • Curses! That meddling Stout has revealed my devious plot!
    I am one those people next door who can literally do ANYTHING.... and feel no guilt. I am unable to love. I am magnetic, sexy, and the word "charisma" does not begin to explain the animal magnetism I exude. I live to dominate and win. I eat my steaks rare--singed a bit on the outside and bloody inside. Very bloody. And I'll tell you what. Until Martha Stout wrote this book that gives all the ordinary sad-sack suckers out there the tools to identify my deep EEEEEEEEEE-vil, I was on track to dominate the world! BWA-HA-HA!!! But now that even an average schlump can look at me and think "psycho" without straining his limited mental faculties, the world shall never be my own personal oyster--with a fully stocked harem of beautiful captives, and my legions of enemies working themselves to death in salt mines. Thanks for nothing, Martha Stout!...more info
  • Now I see the light as to why two family members and one ex girlfriend were so heartless !
    Amazing and powerful book.

    This book is all the more gripping, if you have, like myself, had a sociopath right smack in your own family. I now see how one of my 14 cousins who now about 60 years old and has never held a steady job, (the rest of my cousins are good, non sociopathic people, I might add) and who happens to be a Class A swindler, is also a hard core sociopath.

    I now have some insight as to why one of my ex girlfriends whom I met on the Personals (I no longer do them, I might add) whom I was involved with in an on again /off again relationship for 4 years had been married and divorced 4 times, and how naive I had been to believe her constant stream of lies and deceptions.

    Needless to say, thanks to Dr. Martha Stout, I have had the equivalent of 20 visits to one of America's best psychologists (and for a price of less than 15 dollars..!), and I have, at her urging (and she might have well as talked to me personally) cut all sociopaths such as these people out of my life. And I have achieved a great sense of empowerment and liberation.

    As a (sin and repent) Christian, I do pray for these people, and other like them, but, thanks to Dr. Stout, I realize that since there is basically no way I can change them and their sociopathic ways, then the only viable thing for me to do is to cut them off. ...more info
  • Wonder how some people show no remorse for what they did?
    Depends on who's data you believe 1-4% of the population has a personality disorder that will create havoc for anyone around them. I suggest this is a must read, as it helps you recognize and get away from these people before the havoc....more info
  • the sociopath next door
    We need to protect ourselves better from the 'human predators' among us and this book gives us sound and easy to understand advice on how to do just that. It is surprising though that the author is able to give this advice in a manner which still demonstrates a depth of care and compassion for our fellow human beings and for the 'human condition'....more info
  • Helpful and Insightful
    it's not eloquent but it does go a long way in explaining heretofor inexplicable behavior. It's impossible for a person with conscience to ever 'understand' sociopathic behavior, but the constellation of behaviors themselves are fairly predictable. I worked for a sociopath and was constantly taking on water in the relationship, in large part becaues her actions SO defied logic I NEVER expected them. This book illutrates that if not 'logical' or 'understandable' they are at least supremely predictable. ...more info
  • The Psychopath Next Door
    Awesome book, very close to reality. I have seen many of these individuals in my life, professional and military, and they really exist and they are expert manipulators. Dr. Stout gave us a master piece. I will recommend this book to any mental health therapist and to school administrators....more info
  • Very Interesting!
    This is a great book for anyone interested in Sociology. This book provides not only a glimpse into the lives of sociopaths, but is truly a first line of defense for everyone. It personally gave me a lot of insight into how these mentally ill people operate. I have a great understanding and unbelievably, empathy for sociopaths. ...more info
  • Frightening and Revealing!
    Just when you think you've wrapped your mind around the idea that the world's a dangerous place, hear comes Martha Stout with a truly shocking revelation. A revelation that may provide an answer to just why the above situation exists! The horrifying knowledge that all men are NOT created equal! Most people cannot imagine the existence of a person who has never felt shame or remorse; a person completely devoid of the ability for empathy, and who's completely without conscience. A person not internally restrained by guilt or remorse, has the ability to do ANYTHING to futher their self interest, and usually are attracted to positions of power. What kind of world would we live in if the majority of Politicians are composed of these types of human beings? Could it be a world like what we live in now?? Knowledge is protection.

    ...more info
  • disturbing but true!
    I found this book to be disturbing, if enlightening. The author did a very good job compiling and presenting information pertinent to the title. I would recommend this book to anyone who wonders why the people around you seem strange and illogical....more info
  • Scary but interesting
    This book was a bit heavy but a very interesting and eye-opening read. It is so hard to wrap your brain around the concept that so many people are sociopaths, even after having to deal with more than one at close range and reading about them in the newspaper every day. Very helpful book....more info
  • Sensational- give it to your kids
    A little bit of sociopath goes a long way, and Stout goes a long way to educate and forewarn us of the incredible destructive effects of sociopaths on our lives. We all are affected by them at some time or another, and all would benefit from a greater awareness, a heightened index of suspicion, and tips on how to deal with them. And don't let them know you're on to them, they hate that :-).

    Stout's narratives are generally quite interesting stories in their own right, even though they all chronicle the extreme human suffering that is inflicted by these people. Truth is more interesting than fiction, unless you're the central character!...more info
  • Very Informative and Balanced
    I would recommend this book to anyone who is struggling to find the answers for that mentally challenged family member who does not assimilate into society well. This book answered so many questions for our family. I found it to be very balanced and not "opinionated". The author did an excellent job of presenting the characters personalities,or lack therof, in a way that all readers could understand. The medical community seems somewhat hesitant to place labels on certain individuals and it was refreshing to see that there is some explanation and definition for what our family has been enduring for years. A great read!...more info
  • Did you ever wonder...what goes on in the mind?
    Trying to understand the mind of a sociopath is very interesting. Not to mention difficult. This is a very easy book to follow and lays it out in simple form..."know a sociopath? RUN!" Well, maybe it didn't say it like that, but that is how I took it! Sociopaths, "dominate for the thrill to win," and if you've ever known sums it right up! A great book, a horrible topic!...more info
  • Rings true
    Maybe it is simplistic
    Maybe it is labeling
    On the other hand
    it gives you the chance
    to turn on the observer
    and dodge some bad behavior...more info
  • Brilliant
    This book was fantastic! After being the victim of a sociopath this book gave me great insight into how these type of people operate and why they do the things they do. This is a must read for anyone caught in the mental grip of a sociopath. It will not only show you how to recognise one but also you how to get away from them before they destroy your life....more info
  • The Sociopath Next Door
    Excellent, makes you think outside of the box (prison) where we tend to think sociopaths usually end up. Indeed, they are all around us and most don't get seperated away, they just keep wrecking lives of unsuspecting people. ...more info
  • They Are Always So Charming When You First Meet Them
    I've read this book - a little too late for me personally. But it is a book you should give to someone you care about, someone who might be going through emotional turmoil because of the actions of others.

    IF you've ever had a friend, lover, neighbor, family member who just creates emotional drama over-and-over in your life.....

    IF you have a parent or child who drains you on a continual basis.....

    IF, in your place of employment (or school) you seem to be targeted by one of your co-workers (student or teacher) and their loud comments/behaviors are enacted to make YOU look BAD.....

    Then, my friend, you have quite possibly encountered a sociopath/psychopath.

    This is a wonderful book to begin with, to learn about the "others" who surround us in every walk of life. They do not have a conscience, eg. their bad behaviors never, ever leave them embarrassed or worried. And reading this book will help you to understand why.

    And, quite naturally, you will come to understand the definition of the word that I've been hearing more of lately: "ponerology".

    ...more info
  • Riveting and must read book!
    Everyone would love to think that such people are the types of person that we never run into. Nothing could be further from the truth. Simply reading this book very well could give you the insights that you need to address that 'different' person that seems to always be at the center of problems.

    The reason that this is a must read - you don't know how to avoid what it is that you don't understand. To understand - is to at least give yourself a head's up and to help you to steer clear of this people that really only have their own best interest at 'heart' - that is if one can really say that they have a 'heart'.

    For me - this was a book of hindsight. With just a few minor changes in chapter 6 - that was indeed the situation that I was in. Looking back, it could have been much worse. Thank GOD I am now out of it - except for his once in awhile contacts that - for reasons only his mind possibly understands - are totally out of my life.

    Matters not if it is a man or woman - these people are out there and to realize such and have insight is the best protection that you have....more info
  • A Hard Call.
    Because this topic is so much a science in development, any one writing on the subject has a tough job. I found this book a solid explanation of sociopaths but a bit mushy on some examples such as the 'Joe and Rebok the dog' example which crops up throughout the book. Also the explanations about conscience and connectedness seemed overcomplicated to me and didn't seem to recognize things like the fact that culture effects the function and values of conscience in different ways and that conscience needs the discipline of reason to avoid triviality or improper guilt etc. However, I sure am clear now that a sociopath does not have any sort of conscience! I think there is a great effort in this book to marry some concepts of spirituality and evil which psychology generally tries to avoid like the plague. I have not been able to find much credible, readable material on this topic around, and this book gave me a very useful and much clearer understanding of someone I have come across and was not able to figure out. I really enjoyed it and received great benefit and insight from reading it....more info
  • Don't be fooled by sociopaths
    Stout's book tries to help the reader to identify the sociopath in their midst: the person who might seem charming or exciting, but is actually without a conscience and will hurt you without remorse. While she gives numerous signs, one of the major (and most surprising) tip-offs is that the person will be looking for pity. While a sociopath obviously can't feel pity for anyone, he can and will use your own emotions against you.

    For me, by far the most interesting, and most useful, part of this book were the examples of sociopaths that Stout gave. There is "Super Skip" the most obvious sociopath stereotype after the serial killer: a guy who is so charming and ruthless that he quickly climbs his way up the corporate ladder. But there are also other stories of sociopathic characters--some of whom are examples from the stories of Stout's clients--who are not the sort you typically think of when you think of "sociopath." There is Doreen Littlefield, a psychologist who undermines a patient's mental health due to petty jealousy, Luke, who gets married to a woman for her pool, and Hanna's father, who on the surface seems like the model citizen, husband and father.

    Stout also looks at why people are sociopaths (disturbingly, there is still not yet a clear answer) and why, ultimately, a conscience is important.
    ...more info
  • And you thought you knew...
    First of all, you might have thought you know yourself...
    Second, that you can read others...

    This book will make you rethink everything you thought about what conscience is, and shake your foundations of trust and security in the world. Becase safe it ain't this world of ours, while these human predators walk among us invisible. Read it and get scared, weep, get angry and sad, but know! ...more info
  • The Sociopath Next Door
    If you have social relationship with an individual who : (1) can charm just about anybody, (2) seems to have no conscience, (3) is extremely deceptive and has no sense of shame, (4) seems to be at least double faced if not multi-faced (5) experiences extreme boredom and is constantly seeking stimulation, (6) literally uses people and seems to have a sense of entitlement, (7) covertly manipulates others without any guilt, (8) views every life situation as a contest that must be won, (9) experiences pangs of envy (10 ) uses eyes to control others, (11) has a sense of self grandiosity, (12) often makes double conflicting statements, (13) never takes responsibility for his/her actions, (14) and projects his/her own flaws, thinking, feelings, and behaviors onto others; you must read this book. These are the attributes and behaviors of sociopaths. The author Stout (2005) ascertains that a significant number of people in American society are sociopaths in secret. In other words, they have anti-social personality disorder but folks around them are usually not aware of this. Sociopaths do not have well developed human lives. Since they are born with defective amygdala, the emotional center of brain, they do not feel empathy and compassion for others. They are incapable of human attachment, love, care, and affection. They are great actors and can with ease fake any emotion. The pathological lying, the acts of deception and duping are a source of fun for them. They are predators, always on the look out for targets who are decent, trusting, and giving so that they can suck them dry. They aggressively endeavor to damage positive human traits of their targets. They mount psychological attacks on their targets and feel powerful by diminishing them. Being natural actors, sociopaths make full use of their social and professional roles which offer excellent ready-made masks that are rarely cracked. The author illustrates sociopathic behaviors by discussing case studies of real life sociopaths. She emphasizes that it is only the less educated and the unsuccessful sociopaths who are behind bars, the rest are thriving amongst us as coworkers, bosses, friends, and family members. The reading of this book will help you identify these vampires. The only way you can protect yourself from a sociopath in your life is to completely sever all ties with the sociopath which is not always easy. The author concludes by stating that she votes for those with conscience, those who care and love, those who believe hurting, manipulating, and deceiving others is morally wrong. They are elite of their own. For additional resources on sociopaths you might visit website, Studies in Psychopathy-[...]. The terms sociopath and psychopath are often used interchangeably....more info
  • Reasonably helpful
    The most helpful aspect of this book was the author's description of how a sociopath takes advantage of "normal" empathetic responses in others.

    I did read some of the one star reviews, and see some of their points. Just because there's evidence, statistically, that 1 in 25 people is a sociopath does not mean that 24 out of 25 are Good People and 1 in 25 is Evil. I think most of us have our good and bad sides. I hesitate to demonize anyone lest I be denying something that can be hurtful to others in my own behavior.

    Having said that, I still give the book five stars. I'd agree there's a spectrum, where the majority of people, while self-interested and flawed, nevertheless strive to live by the Golden Rule much of the time, while a minority of others believe the Golden Rule is for fools. I'm less worried about the "ordinary" sociopaths Stout describes than I am those who may hold public office, sit on boards of corporations, or order subordinates to commit genocide....more info