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Debra Hamel is the mother of two preternaturally attractive girls and the author of a number of books about ancient Greece. She writes and blogs from her subterranean lair in North Haven, CT. Read more.


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THE BATTLE OF ARGINUSAE :
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KILLING ERATOSTHENES:
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Stout, Martha: The Sociopath Next Door

  Amazon  

4 stars

Apparently, about 4% of us are sociopaths. One in 25 people--and therefore, likely, someone we already know--has no conscience and can, without that internal bridle on their behavior, do anything at all to gain whatever their ends may be--world domination, advancement in a career, a good parking space. In her often fascinating little book The Sociopath Next Door, Martha Stout, a clinical psychologist, discusses sociopathy and conscience, including composite sketches of sociopaths she has come across in her career.

The book starts with an interesting look at a young lawyer's decision to miss an important meeting at work to go home and feed his dog. Stout unpacks his decision, considering the various factors that can have influenced it: conscience is just one possibility. The author also discusses the Stanley Milgram experiments at Yale, the factors that can temporarily diminish a normal person's conscience, and the causes of sociopathy. Less interesting to me, at least, were the author's discussions of the history and religious theories of conscience.

Stout's book was an eye-opening read for me. It started me wondering--as I'm sure it would most readers--whether I've come across any sociopaths in my life, and I think it will have a lasting impact on the way I evaluate people's behavior. Anyone who is involved in an abusive relationship or who has been charmed by a friend into doing something uncharacteristically dangerous would do well to read Stout's book to see if they recognize the behavior she describes.

Comments

1.

Sounds fascinating - and yes, I'm pretty sure I've come across quite a few!

2.

Any interesting stories?

3.

Fascinating topic. Just 4% of the population, yet arguably the most influential part. These are people who have an unfair advantage at getting ahead in life. Yet we know so little about them.

4.

Testing comments.

5.

Sounds real interesting....conscience is what rules everyone. We only overpower it as per our daily wants...but if you hear it, you will be led in the correct direction.

Neeraj Singhvi
Author- Temple of Destiny

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