Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Psycopath Test

The Psycopath Test
By: Jon Ronson (his website)
Riverhead Books, 2011

Summary:
"'There is a societal push for conformity in all ways,' [Allen Frances] said, 'There's less tolerance of difference.  And so maybe for some people having a label is better.  It can confer a sense of hope and direction."

Jon Ronson explores the world of psychiatry, in particular, those diagnosed as psycopaths.  Throughout his journeys he meets a man who 'faked' madness, a leader of a Haitian revolution, an ex-CEO, and the creator of the Psycopath Test. He examines the diagnosis, the label, what it means to the "psychopath," and what it means to society on a greater level.

My Thoughts:
1. Something about this book was very engaging.  The study of psychiatry and psychology is something that I find to be interesting.
2.  Ronson's writing is engaging.  He is pithy and funny, which makes the book difficult to put down.
3. It seems that there is no clear argument to be made.  The book is more a chronicle of Ronson's adventures than advancing any sort of opinion on the matter.  I think this is intentional, as though he is saying in psychiatry and diagnoses there is always gray; therefore, I can't possibly make any definitive statement here.

In short, the book's lack of a clear argument is a little frustrating, but the book is very interesting and will keep you turning pages regardless. (3/5 stars)

Recommended To:
Examiners of society.

Food for Thought:
Are we all a little mad to a degree?



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