The Sociopath Next Door by Martha Stout
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I read this years ago and it's one of those books that changes a person by reading it. It opened my eyes to the motivations of some of the people I've known whose behavior was incomprehensible to me. It seemed to me at the time that these people just wanted to control every situation but there was a maliciousness in their actions that I couldn't account for. This book made their behavior a lot clearer.
After reading this the first time I became more aware of the characteristics of a sociopath and found that there are more people like that around. It also made the behavior of some public figures make more sense. In some cases, the person not only betrayed the people who trusted him/her but actually ran for election again! Hmmm, the mayor of Toronto may be a very good example.
Reading it again, has given me more insight, especially the last chapters which discuss risk taking behavior. I thought immediately of ex Senator Gary Hart in 1987. At the time of the presidential campaigns, he had already had one close call when a young woman was seen leaving his residence and he was outraged at the press. He actually taunted the Miami Herald which continued to investigate. Almost immediately the trip to Bimini with Donna Rice was exposed. Even that wasn't enough; he tried, unsuccessfully, to enter the presidential race again. I remembered being so confused because he was obviously an intelligent person and yet his behavior belied it. This book made everything so clear. He, and a lot more public figures fit the pattern of a sociopath perfectly.
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