The Psychopath Test

  • by Jon Ronson
  • Narrated by Jon Ronson
  • 7 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Shortlisted for: Popular Non-Fiction Book of the Year - Specsavers National Book Awards 2012
This is a story about madness. It all starts when journalist Jon Ronson is contacted by a leading neurologist. She and several colleagues have recently received a cryptically puzzling book in the mail, and Jon is challenged to solve the mystery behind it. As he searches for the answer, Jon soon finds himself, unexpectedly, on an utterly compelling and often unbelievable adventure into the world of madness.
Jon meets a Broadmoor inmate who swears he faked a mental disorder to get a lighter sentence but is now stuck there, with nobody believing he's sane. He meets some of the people who catalogue mental illness, and those who vehemently oppose them. He meets the influential psychologist who developed the industry standard Psychopath Test and who is convinced that many important CEOs and politicians are in fact psychopaths.
Jon learns from him how to ferret out these high-flying psychopaths and, armed with his new psychopath-spotting abilities, heads into the corridors of power...Combining Jon's trademark humour, charm and investigative incision, The Psychopath Test is a deeply honest book unearthing dangerous truths and asking serious questions about how we define normality in a world where we are increasingly judged by our maddest edges.

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Audible Editor Reviews

Shortlisted for Non-Fiction Book of the Year in the Specsavers National Book Awards 2012, the best-selling audiobook The Psychopath Test is written and narrated by award-winning British journalist and documentary filmmaker Jon Ronson. Take a closer look at the subject of madness from every angle - the diagnosed, the doctor and the imposter. Ronson gives a humorous and insightful look at a subject still plagued by stigmas and stereotypes. He reveals a way to perform the psychopath "test" on anyone - from your boss, neighbor or your lover and be surprised how their answers compare. Available now from Audible.

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What the Critics Say

"Ronson's gift is his ability to illuminate impenetrable worlds. Hare's checklist is already the subject of criticism, but Ronson details many studies showing how bad psychiatry has been at diagnosing mental illness."(Nature Magazine)
"In case you get really worried about a member of your party, then we'd suggest packing Jon Ronson's The Psychopath Test, a compelling adventure into the world of madness . Funny and revealing this book will change the way you look at your boss, boyfriend or bank manager forever." (The Guardian Bookshop Guide)
"In case you get really worried about a member of your party, then we'd suggest packing Jon Ronson's The Psychopath Test, a compelling adventure into the world of madness . Funny and revealing this book will change the way you look at your boss, boyfriend or bank manager forever." (The Guardian)
"Ronson's gift is his ability to illuminate impenetrable worlds. Hare's checklist is already the subject of criticism, but Ronson details many studies showing how bad psychiatry has been at diagnosing mental illness." (Nature Magazine)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Quirky about Psychopaths (mostly)

Quirky is the best word I can find for this book. It opens with a mystery book, sent to various neurologists, by an anonymous sender, who Ronsen tracks down. After that, it's an enjoyable ride through psycho-land to meet Bob Hare, the leading world expert on the test for psychopathy - the Hare test, and then to meet and interview a series of gangsters, hatchet-CEOs, and other possible psychopaths to see if they fit the pattern.

However, Ronsen admits after a while that he starts seeing psychopaths everywhere... And it might be sending him a bit odd.

This is fun, with a serious message, and I liked Jon Ronsen as the self effacing narrator and author. The book contains many facts and references to other reading on this subject, while never getting boorish. I winced several times with embarrassment at his interview style, openly asking his subjects intimate details to gauge their psychopathy. The opening chapters are unusual, and have little to do with psychopathy, with references to the nerd classic "Esher, Goedel, Bach".

Overall however, i learned a lot about Psychopathy, DSM-4 and psychiatry, without seeming to. Best of all I liked Jon's self conscious admission that looking for psychopaths might just be creating non-human aliens in his own mind.
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- Jeremy

Deft storytelling, good observations

I've long been a fan of Ronson's work. He's a rare breed of journalist these days - one who will spend years researching a topic - and this commitment shows. The Psychopath Test is about his investigations into what a psychopath is and how psychopaths have been perceived. Characteristically, the investigation leads Ronson to question his own behaviour as an investigator and the integrity of journalism in general. It's a thoughtful and humane book.

My only criticism is that Ronson repeats some points several times throughout the book. My suspicion is that this might have been more necessary in print than it is in audio. It's mildly annoying in an audiobook, but hardly a dealbreaker.

Ronson isn't an actor and this is evident from his reading. I think this adds to the charm of the book: its nice to hear him describe his own anxieties in his own slightly anxious voice. That's what the book's about, after all.
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- Rob

Book Details

  • Release Date: 03-06-2011
  • Publisher: Macmillan Digital Audio