Sunday, July 03, 2011

Books: The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson

The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness IndustryThe Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry by Jon Ronson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It starts with a mysterious hand-crafted book being mailed to various academics around the world. Journalist Jon Ronson is contacted is contacted by one of the receivers and asked to play amateur sleuth in finding out who sent the books and why. When he discovers the answer, it raises more questions than answers. What is mental illness? Who is genuinely dangerous and who is being used by the drug companies, pharmaceutical industry and law enforcement for the lack of any better planning. Ronson learns of the plight of “Tony,” convicted of assault, only to plead insanity and find himself in a mental institution long after any criminal conviction would have run out. This leads the author to see out Ron Hare, author of The Psychopath Test, a checklist to be used by psychiatrists and law enforcement to determine who may or may not be a threat to society. Along the way Ronson documents the failures and successes of the test’s findings, veering off into the world of conspiracy theory and the development of the field of psychiatry. This was a well written and enjoyable book, certainly thought provoking in its research and conclusions (many people with psychopathic characteristics may reside at the highest levels of corporate and government service.) Ronson mixes the tongue in cheek with the truly serious and builds a convincing book that should be of interest to anyone interested in the workings of the human mind. The Psychopath Test -

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