Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us by Robert D. Hare
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This was written in the 1990s, so there's a lot of new science on the topic. I recommend reading this along with The Psychopath Inside: A Neuroscientist's Personal Journey into the Dark Side of the Brain by James Fallon- but possibly start with that one. That one will give you the basic science known today, and the author is a functioning psychopath himself who gives a lot of insight into his personality.
This one focuses more on criminal psychopaths because those are the people that more often come to the attention of specialized experts though there are some mentions of more functional psychopaths. It's very heavy on personal accounts of psychopaths and their crimes which certainly keeps the book entertaining but is a little low on the actual science for my taste, perhaps because as previously mentioned there was just less known on the topic in the 1990s.
I think it's important to understand that there's this group of individuals at large in society (and likely heavily rewarded in business and politics) that just aren't subject to the same rules of empathy as the rest of us. Certainly, a lot of non-psychopath people can be emotionally damaged or even assholes for no reason at all, but this complete lack of empathy or authentic feeling is unique and especially dangerous in both criminal and successful noncriminal psychopaths.
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