And Serial Killers Can Teach Us About Success - What Saints

By Kevin Dutton

feedback image
Total feedbacks: 102
37
23
17
12
13
Looking for And Serial Killers Can Teach Us About Success - What Saints in PDF? Check out Scribid.com
Audiobook
Check out Audiobooks.com

Readers` Reviews

★ ★ ★ ★ ★
iloveart
WOW! Awesome book, and keeps you interested from cover to cover... a must read! ok here's my last sentence to get the required amount of words in... (requirement amounts of words have actually kept me from writing more reviews)
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
nicole rubin
This book is trying to make something out of what is logical. There was nothing new here for me and no great information that offered me new, improved insight. I'd suggest skipping it and suggest reading any of Joe Navarro's books instead.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
topher
This book gives more scientific than practical approach to psychopathy. I loved the way the author is explaining how almost all of us are psychopaths of different degrees. I also liked the emphasis on difficulties of understanding the sources of psychopathy, both biological and social. Great read!
In the Blood: A Novel :: A Journey into the Trump Campaign and the “Alt-Right” (Kindle Single) :: Lost at Sea: The Jon Ronson Mysteries :: A Journey Through the Madness Industry - The Psychopath Test :: The Science of Those Without Conscience - The Psychopath Whisperer
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
shonika
This is a very informative book about people you may know, and not understand. After reading this I am sure I have met at least two psychopaths, one doing pretty well in business, and the other very scary. It will be a really useful tool to be able to detect folks you may be in business with to understand their motivations. For example, always make sure there is more in it for them to continue working with you rather than the opposite. As soon as that equation goes negative, you will suffer either by getting fired or having them leave you in the lurch.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
minna
Surprisingly well written and insightful. I was not familiar with this area at all but the book is clear and concise with just the right amount of humor and depth. Reading this, I feel the author is smart (and knows his things) and cares about his readers.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
matt kelland
Before you either grasp hold of the book simple because of how I titled it or cast aspersions on me for liking something like this just know that Dutton is addressing something real in my professional experience. I for one, am certain the psychopaths are not only the few in prisons, locked state hospitals or so far successfully avoiding being caught. No, one of my peers in the mental health world is one of those who both isn't extreme and has proven successful at keeping the violent side sequestered. Because of those two general items of achievement, he has also been a therapist wry enough to get along well with the psychopath and by so doing manage their cases better than the rest of us.

With just that example be prepared to stroll through all of Dutton's examples!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
kim marie
Ths book is well-written; clearly demonstrates the intellectual strength of the author; provides a candid and borad-based insight into a fascinating area of the human mind. It will cause you to think carefully before speaking to a surgeon or CEO.

My only regret is that I read a soft copy. I am considering puchasing a hard copy to mark-up and annotate.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
danika
Remarkably easy to read for a none-scholar, with lots of convincing references. Psychopaths is human society playing with fire, a both deadly and brave game and still a necessity for civilisation. I missed some pondering on how a society best can cope with psychopaths.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
mitra
This book wonderfully expanded my understanding of what a psychopath is- and isn't. The "Jason in a mask" type does exist, but is only a small fraction of those with psychopathic personalities. This book is well worth its modest price.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
beth maurer
Great book! Thought provoking and interesting. It is a great book on the Psychopathic mind and how those traits can sometimes be beneficial to non psychopaths. Enjoy...and think about where you are on the spectrum!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
debralee
Thought provoking and wonderfully written, accessible without being "pop". Turns the traditional notion of the psychopath on its head. Allowed me to feel much more at peace with my own constitution.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
annalisa
Some people are complaining how he's glorifying psychopathy and all the suffering it's caused, but he's not. He's trying to get at the root of what psychopathy is. I've learned a lot reading this. I've learned that a little bit of psychopathy really isnt a bad thing at all when it's kept under check. I've enjoyed this book, very entertaining.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
omar
This is a fabulous read for the general public. It reveals the traits of psychopaths and different levels of its spectrum, something vital to acknowledge. Not all psychopaths are evil and many can be family members, colleagues and friends.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
pms mrsmoose
What I liked...the three or four interesting points I sifted out of this mess of a book, and the poem at the end. What I didn't like...rambling babbling mindless writing. I would rate this book as a two if it weren't so poorly written.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
brynn
After reading the book, I still do not think the word "wisdom" is the right one for psychopaths, but I learned a lot about psychopathy from this book. They are among us, and not every one is bad.
Somehow I got the impression that the writer thinks they are sort of super race, with their often superior intelligence, gift of focus, and even emotional poverty which translates to deeds and decisions made without burden of doubt. I know many "good" psychopaths, and they all are successful, even admirable----from distance. I still do not want to be friends with them, even if they make good brain surgeons.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
nehil
very interesting - a little bit more of a text book than originally contemplated but still a good read if you are interested in the area. You should worry about that guy down the street - you know the one! and your boss as well !
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
diane flynn
As a commentary on current trends in societal values, this book places many things in perspective. Albiet having a somewhat decent vocabulary, I welcomed having to had to refer to a dictionary at least a half dozen times. Highly recommended. Looking forward to a sequel.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
neal
Even though I am not a native english speaker, I do understand the language used, which is quite suprising considering the fact that it's a book written by PHD. HIghly recommend the book to anyone who is interested in psychopathy, especially because it is much diferent approach than usually.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
jeffandcaryn
This book will make you re-think and re-look those whom you work with or pass by on the street. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading or learning about serial killers and those categorized as psychopaths.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
hannah powell
My partner and I both checked this out from our library and read it simultaneously. We have told lots of friends to read it, and so we bought a copy to share. It will give you amazing insights into the behavior of people around you, and probably into your own behavior as well.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
john simon
This book is a good read that offers an alternate view of how successful, non criminal individuals and psychopaths function on a similar basis.It does not require a doctorate to understand and at times hard to put down.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
anadi
I would reccomend this book to anyone who likes learning about human mind. It looks at bankers, to doctors, lawyers, to even SOF. Everyon is a little bit crazy and no matter what anyone says.... it is totally acceptable
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
bob g
My book club chose this book for last months read. I did many years in college and have no desire to ever read a text book again, and that is what this was like. It has some interesting ideas, but was a very hard and slow read.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
deena fottouh
Very interesting and engaging read. The only limitation is how to adapt the supposed benefits of psychopathy into your everyday non-psychopathic life (without expensive and temporary experimental interventions).
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
erin mcsherry
I didn't find this the easiest of books to get through, but I stuck with it and learned a whole lot about some of the people I've come in contact with in my life. You will too. There's no way we can escape the fact that psychopaths are as much a part of our lives as any other types of people are. If you read this book to the end, you'll look at some, maybe quite a few, folks a little differently. The author, who has had a lifetime of studying psychopathy and its many faces, teaches us a lot about "functional psychopaths." They are the people who make a success of themselves in their choice of careers and lives by being just what thy are, psychopaths. Their numbers include surgeons, police officers, firemen, bomb disposal operatives, military people, and the man next door, as well as some women, although admittedly, not as many women as men. Not all psychopaths/sociopaths are criminals. Some climb the high ladder of success thanks to the very fact of their psychopathic tendencies. This is an intriguing book, as well as an eye-opening lesson on just what a psychopath's makeup really is as far as medical science knows right now.
If you're really into reading about psychopaths/sociopaths, another book I would recommend is The "Sociopath Next Door" by Martha Stout, ph.d.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
linden
The author gives very good and up to date info. He does get technical and scientific but not in an incomprehensible manner.
I recommend this book and Evil Genes by Barbara Oakley which I also bought. They complement each other and are each written in a very personal and close point of view.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
sony sanjaya
This is a review from someone who's opinion counts..I am a psychopath. This is one of the first books I have ever read that has not labelled us all as kinds of inhuman monsters lurking along the outskirts of life, looking for our next "victims" - and it's the first volume I have ever read which made me understand that I do not have a "personality disorder"...

Psychopath's do not have "disorders", we are a different breed of human being. I suppose just as there are different breeds of wolves, or antelopes, etc. all which fall under the same broad stroke species..Our brains are formed, wired and function very differently than the brains of non-psychopathic people. This book is chock full of studies, tests and social experiments which confirm this; and more than that which show in many instances that the right amount of psychopathology in a personality can actually be a very valuable asset, especially when it really counts in life.

This is a totally impartial, insightful, and incredibly well written (and humorous) work of literature, which finally takes a slant on psychopathology which is not stained with automatic negativity and disdain toward us as human beings. We are different yes, less fit for normal society in many ways than our non - psychopathic counterparts in life (normal people); Yet more fit and ept in many ways and for the newer society emerging before us, the fast pace, cut throat, capitalistic feeding frenzy which is becoming the world. This book does an amazing job of pointing this out, and trying to discover what "our" psychopathic purpose and origin may be on earth, and among the human race.

Finally people may begin to understand that some of the bravest, successful, and outright phenomenal people on this earth are psychopaths. Unfortunately some of us with the psychopathic "dials" turned all the way up (as Dr. Dutton so perfectly puts it) have also been responsible for some of the worst atrocities ever recorded in history...In my humble opinion, this is a matter of choice. We as psychopaths are basically capable of doing whatever we want to do, without any "internal" turmoil, guilt or remorse attached.

That does not mean however that we do not have a free will, and do not have a choice as to the actions we take or how we utilize that gift (if we can call it that). This book does an excellent job of illustrating this point very subtly and reminding us of the fact that people choose their own paths, and that a psychopath can be anything from a top CEO, to a firefighter, to an SAS agent - right down to a notorious serial killer. It may be harder for a psychopath to be a "good person" as defined by society due to our limitations and lack of conscience..But it is possible for us to integrate and do the right things. I do it everyday, its a choice I make.

It is very, very difficult to put this book down, and the information within is relayed in such a way that it leaves you thinking much more deeply than when you picked it up...You will certainly never think of psychopaths the same way again..Personally I can't wait to read it again..

A very big thumbs up from this psychopath Dr. Dutton...Thank you.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
clairine runtung
I have recently gone back to college, and am wanting to earn a degree in the study of psychology. This book promises a whole new side to the study of a darker side of the psyche, and I have asked some similar questions thru the years regarding these studies of abnormal/psychopathic behavior profiles.
Fast delivery,
Very happy with transaction.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
mark coovelis
According to this book it might be easier to succeed materially by being a psychopath; no worries, no regrets, no rules other than legal to limit behavior. He describes the motives of psychopaths as little fear of punishment or loss but exaggerated expectation of rewards, tha sounds like some of the descriptions I have read of people in some of the recent money problems we have had.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
tanda
I enjoyed this book very much. After reading it, I am convinced that close to 25% of my friends are psychopaths. ;) None of my friends on Goodreads, of course.
Soooo...thank goodness all of my friends on Goodreads are "saints". It helps bring balance to my life. ;)

I like that this book contains scenarios & questions for you to present to someone you might think is a sociopath. I definitely picked up a question or two to ask potential boyfriends.

Asking how they would react to the 2 different train scenarios described in this book are now my go to questions.
Their response to the second scenario is not only showing you who they are, it's them telling you who they are. As Maya Angelou says, "The first time someone shows you who they are...believe them."

This book contains the most comprehensive list of characteristics/traits of sociopaths I've ever read including the following:

They lack of empathy, guilt & remorse. They're glib, pathological, manipulative, charming, & nomadic.

They feed off of a person's hope that next time things will be different or that they will do the right thing in the future. They use your hope to manipulate you into giving them second, third, fourth, fifth chances.
They seek out "rescuers" & overly loyal people.

They often abuse drugs and/or alcohol.

They constantly lie & exaggerate.

They cheat in relationships, in fact that's often how they find their next mark when they begin to sense they are losing control over you.

They make lots of promises but rarely is there positive action towards keeping the promise. Promises are just cons to get what they want at that moment and they don't care if they let you down later.

They're not good at holding a job, often seeking out public assistance or conning someone for money and/or shelter.
They have no direction & no personal initiative to make positive changes in their life.

If caught in a lie, they will try to manipulate out of it first, and then blame others.
It is always someone else's fault. No matter what it is, how clearly it is the predator's fault, they cannot take the blame; unless it is part of the manipulation that goes: admit/apologize/pity play/forgiven/make up.

They seem driven by convenience, access to sex, and financial interest, or using partner or kids as tools to manipulate others.

There are frequent cycles of chaos, calm, chaos, calm, in relationships.

They manipulate and pit people against each other by creating chaos and pointing fingers at those who bring up the problem. Their goal is to get everyone so confused and upset no one can even remember the predator is the root of the problem.

This book points out a few scenarios in which it's good to have sociopaths around.
For example,life or death situations that require quick decisions be made without emotions that would impact the decisions.
One example is surgeons having to make life saving decisions during surgeries. It's easier to make the decision quicker if the surgeon is not emotionally affected by knowing the patient will die if the wrong decision is made.

This book & other books I've read on the subject all agree that sociopaths can not be cured.
Like my daddy always says "You can't fix broken people, you're just gonna cut yourself on their shattered pieces."
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
vicki grever
If you have read the works of psychopathy pioneers Robert Hare ( `Snakes in Suites','With out conscience') or Hervey Cleckley ( The Mask of Sanity ) or Andrzej Lobaczewski (Political Ponerology ), this book is a TORTURE to read. This book is complete opposite of those works and outright corruption of psychopathy information. Author was hell bent on twisting and manipulating every study to point psychopaths are glamorous hero's while giving every possible excuse for their evil deeds. He starts his book saying "My father is a psychopath" while supporting his fathers cunning deed as skill for the modern society. The author either doesn't understands how normal people with conscience will feel and react with decency or don't want to. The stories he narrates and conclusions he makes are mediocre, highly superficial. Each argument is so much twisted, one need another book to untwist it. No wonder the main stream media that is the lapdog of the psychopaths is praising this book.

Do NOT read this book for your own sanity.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
jonathon
This was an interesting book that looks at what mental qualities that make a psychopath. The author argues that the same characteristics that many people labeled psychopaths have are also shared by people in other high stress occupations such as special forces soldiers and investment bankers. Dutton also delves into the scientific reasons that people with psychopathic traits have brains that function the way they do.
This was an interesting book and I found that the scientific explanation for the functioning of the brain very interesting, but like a lot of the other reviewers I also thought that the authors writing style took away from the book. It did not seem like a book about science and more like an extended article in a Men's Lifestyle magazine. At one point I look through the book to see if some of the chapters had been previously publishes in Maxim or Playboy. I thought that this took away from the overall tone of the book and that it would have been better if Dutton made it just a little more academic.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
j alan
If you are interested in psychopathy and are prepared to read serious and academic prose, you need to find something else (e.g. James Blair, Derek Mitchell, and Karina Blair: The Psychopath). The style of Dutton's book is sensationalist. His thesis is summarized in one single sentence in Chapter 4: "Functional psychopath is context-dependent." He believes that "functional psychopaths", e.g. successful CEOs, lawyers, surgeons, are those who are able to be "psychopathic" (defined as being ruthless, fearless, manipulative) at will, and can turn off their "psychopathic" states when they do not need them. The penultimate chapter is written like a "self-help" essay, suggesting that one can learn from the psychopath. One cannot stop thinking that his definition of psychopathy is unusual and unconventional. Likewise, there is no sophisticated discussions on ethics and morality, rendering the ethos of the whole book amoral and even superficial.

I will let you judge yourself whether his thesis is actually coherent. But I strongly recommend reading something less controversial and more comprehensive first. As I have mentioned earlier, James Blair's book is very dependable. Adrian Raine's The Anatomy of Violence is a masterpiece, and Simon Baron-Cohen's The Science of Evil is another brilliant treatise.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
ozlem ozkal
Alluring, promising much excitement & many adventures but living the reader feeling a little taken at the end (well not me, I got it at the library). I'll start with the negative & get to the positive. So, in the title we are promised to have a look into the minds of saints, spies & serial killers. Only one of those promises is done much justice (serial killers), with the saint being a lone Saint Paul for three pages & the fictional James Bond being mentioned a few times for a sentence or two.

I was waiting for the in depth chapter comparing the brains of monks/mystics & psychopaths but it never came. We get two overlapping circles with psycho traits & spiritual traits three pages before the end of the book showing that about half overlap & a few anecdotes about similarities. Would have liked to see more on this.

Another issue is that the guy certainly does glamorize psychopaths even though he claims he does not. It does work, as any normal person who's suffered loss, betrayal or rejection it's quite alluring to have nerves of steel & allow these feelings to clang to the ground on impact like bullets off batman (at least be able to turn on & off this ability) but this brings me to the fundamental flaw of the book. Unlike monks who spend decades training their brain in present-moment awareness, ability to filter out irrelevant details & not be attached to fleeting emotions psychopaths do not have to work at their mental skill of detachment. It simply is the only way for them to be. So what "wisdom" they can provide for us must be taken with a grain of salt & we must realize that it's going to be much easier said than done for us.

So now for the positive. The initial peek into the minds of psychopaths & the many following anecdotes about them illustrating how their minds worked differently were mostly captivating. I enjoyed the conversations @ Broadmoor (mental institution) which summed up the "wisdom" that these psychopaths had, I could see myself there, talking to these men myself, being both totally on edge, maybe a little repulsed & yet perhaps strangely enamored.

The TMS experiment was also quite cool &, had I unlimited funds & full faith in it's safety, something I'd definitely try. Basically the author had electrical stimulate to try to alter his brain temporarily to feel some sense of what a psychopath feels (this is a pretty amazing technology & concept in general & can lead to wild fantasizing about someday being able to mimic the internal state of anyone's brain, knowing truly how they might feel which of course is pure fantasy right now & probably in my lifetime). The experience for him reminded me of my experience on SSRI's, losing a large sense of inhibition, heaviness & fear but also losing a bit of my conscience.

One mixed note, the author mentioned that our modern society probably favors psychopaths more than ever, this is probably true but also, undoubtedly very bad. He alludes to the possibility that perhaps the current economic crisis is due almost exclusively to psychopaths (in the finance industry). I'm willing to go along with this also. But it's really our own laziness & willingness to play along with the psychopath, to give them our power for a little excitement or attention that enables them most of the time. I'm not sure the key is to be more like them across the board but perhaps in a few small ways to learn from them but most importantly to be aware of them & our vulnerabilities to them.

I find it hard to get excited about a world full of people who don't give a damn about their fellow man (even if they find a calling that theoretically allows them to channel that calling towards a positive end) or about our collective future. A world full of wannabe psychopaths strikes me as even more pathetic somehow. If we live in a world where it's more "practical" to be reckless, selfish & take what we can get, damn the consequences, perhaps we should change the world, not ourselves (not bloody likely I know but worth a shot).

Worth a read, not necessarily the cost of the book. Like meeting an interesting psychopath (and coming out unharmed), perhaps an experience I wouldn't want to forget but also not an experience I'd like to base my life around.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
joshua sawyer
I liked "The Sociopath Next Door" so thought I'd give this a read. Didn't care for it. I disagree with most of the author's conclusions. I believe he misses the point. More importantly, not a fan of his writing style. The book is clearly targeted for regular folks but the writing style is overly wordy and pseudo intellectual). The book is more commentary than informational, using examples of case studies etc to illustrate his observations. Had it been a text book or educational material, the writing wouldn't matter but it isn't and it does. I found nothing insightful or particularly interesting which is saying a lot for a book about a subject that is fascinating by any account.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
johannes
XXXXX

"Psychopathy is like sunlight. Overexposure can hasten one's demise in grotesque, carcinogenic fashion. But regulated exposure at controlled and optimal levels can have significant positive impact on well-being and life."

The above extract is actually the thesis of this book by Kevin Dutton. He is a research psychologist at the University of Oxford and teaches social psychology at the University of Cambridge.

For a psychology book, I found it incredibly easy to read. It includes elegant metaphors, many extremely well-written personal stories, and many allusions to intriguing psychological and neuropsychological studies.

However, I found it intriguing and odd that in a book on psychopathy, no modern definition of it is provided. Psychopathy is a disorder of brain and behaviour, the central characteristic of which is the complete absence of conscience. All of its other pathological features (such as ruthlessness, habitual lying, callousness) stem from this absence of conscience.

Thus, I also found it interesting that Dutton does not discuss conscience. In the entire book, he mentions this word only four times and then, only in passing. I found this to be the major fallacy of his entire argument.

I found that the author attempted to alter the definitions of key words. For example, Dutton plays fast-and-loose with the definition of empathy. He blurs the distinction between cognitive empathy (knowing that someone is experiencing a feeling) and emotional empathy (the ability to experience the feeling oneself). Having created this fuzziness, he declares that psychopaths are emotionally empathetic. This goes contrary to the mountains of scientific data that state the contrary.

I also had problems with much of the science in this book. Some of it was just misleading.

Dutton has a main chapter near the end of this book that's entitled "The Seven Deadly Wins." Here he reminds us of the "seven core principles of psychopathy:" ruthlessness, charm, focus, mental toughness, fearlessness, mindfulness, and action. He claims that we could all benefit from a small, controlled "dose of psychopathy." In reality, a touch of psychopathy would mean a streak of brutality, oiliness, predatory single-mindedness, callousness, endless self-involvement, and clinical impulsivity.

Throughout the main narrative of his book, it seems to me, Dutton does not convey the seriousness of the condition of psychopathy. (He has to do this in order to make his argument.) Thus, I was surprised when I found the following tucked away in his acknowledgements section, located at the back of the book:

"Psychopaths, undeniably are fascinating. But the plain unvarnished truth is that there is nothing funny about them. They can be dangerous, destructive, and deadly--and any serious writer has a duty of care to handle them as judiciously on the printed page as they would were they to encounter them in real life."

I also had the sense that this book was some strange homage to the author's father. He tells us in the preface that "My father was a psychopath." In fact, this entire book is dedicated to the "memory" of his father according to the dedication page.

Finally, the fact is that psychopathy is a profound and tragic disorder, one that has no cure. (Tucked away in the "Notes" section, Dutton tells us, "Psychopaths are notoriously difficult to treat.") No matter how successful he or she may be, the psychopath is not wise. There is no wisdom in psychopathy but only an emptiness that should not and cannot be served up in "doses."

In conclusion, if you are entertained by well-written stories from a research psychologist:

(1) who has used himself as a subject in a questionable neurological lab procedure
(2) who has toured Italy's "Museum of Serial Killers"
(3) who has visited some actual psychopaths at Broadmoor Hospital in England
(4) and if you have an interest in reading about famous pathological criminals (such as the serial killer that inspired movie psychopath Dr. Hannibal Lecter)--

then perhaps you will enjoy this book.

But if you want a scientifically-informed argument that answers this book's subtitle ("What saints, spies, and serial killers can teach us about success"), you'll probably be quite disappointed.

(first published 2012; preface; author's note; 7 chapters; main narrative 220 pages; notes; acknowledgements; index; a note about the author)

<<Stephen PLETKO, London, Ontario, Canada>>

XXXXX
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
tanner bloom
Ken Dutton’s “The Wisdom of Psychopaths” has a lot going for it, and just about as much going the other way. Touching first on the latter, be warned that anyone traumatized by a psychopath will find this book a tough read for that reason alone, as Dutton avoids as much as he can overtly (much less negatively) judging the psychopaths who populate his book. Accordingly, if you’re looking for a book defining psychopaths as only vile, this isn’t the read for you. Further, Dutton’s writing style can grate. What he and his editors seemingly consider wry or clever often clunks rather badly, particularly when he stumbles (many times) transitioning from fairly dry academic data to an attempted lighter touch in interpreting that data for his lay readers.

None of the foregoing detracts from the book’s fascinating glimpses inside the cold machine that is a psychopath’s mind. Via the afore-mentioned data analysis as well as personal interviews in a variety of places where psychopaths hide in plain sight, Dutton considers the (d)evolution of the psychopath from prehistory to present-day. The interviews are the most enlightening of the book’s features. The problem with the interviews, of course, is it’s unknowable whether the inscrutable subjects of Dutton’s scrutiny are telling truth or spinning lie; but then again that’s part of the matter’s intrigue, and the purported "wisdom" referenced in the title.

Everyone knows at least one psychopath. If you think you don’t, that’s only because the psychopath you know lurks behind an appealing façade of charm, stalking the opportune moment to reveal his true, dark colors at the time and place of his choosing. Dutton’s book provides valuable clues to watch out for should the psychopath near you start to lift his mask. After all, you cannot fight what you cannot see.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
yantisa akhadi
I make this simple- what does a psychopath/sociopath who believes in positive thinking do when in power? Start every war we have ever known.
There have been many psychopath/sociopaths that have fooled even their own shrinks, I think the author might be one of the foolish.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
paul kooistra
"I would rather have half the happiness and twice the longevity, but at the same time i wish there was something i wanted as badly as he wanted to fry himself."
An interesting peek into the minds that love creating chaos.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
j t glover
I have a great interest in neuroscience, specifically the psychology of the brain and the title of this book grabbed me from the beginning. First, though, this book is not about serial killers. Yes, there are a few mentioned throughout and the book ends with a small section on them but this book is about people who are not criminals. People who possess the same qualities as psychopaths and thus, can be labelled psychopaths, but are functional within society. It then goes on to discuss how these people operate in society and the professions they succeed at. While the book does mention serial killers, and saints and spies, (as in the title) it mostly concentrates on the business, government and medical fields; talking to and taking case examples from CEOs, stock market traders, MI5 agents, lawyers and surgeons. Dutton's writing style flows nicely and the book is not difficult to read but I would not call it an easy read as it is clinical in presentation and deals with statistics and test results. It is a book for the lay person but one who knows something about the topic to begin with. I found the information very interesting and would say it has broadened my knowledge of the subject. There is some discussion of cognitive behavioural therapy that I found enlightening and answered my questions on why a couple of my therapists/psychiatrists gave up in frustration trying to use it on me. LOL I've always been able to tell they're going that route and tell them no to bother using CBT on me. Btw, I'm not psychotic in any shape or form! A good read that I'll be keeping in my collection.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
lesley fuller
The author's key messages are very helpful both in terms of dealing with psychopaths and thinking like a psychopath in certain situations. The book helped me to identify the psychopaths in my past (both in school and at work) and wishing that I had done a better job of protecting myself from their self-serving interests. However, the book was entertaining at first but became tedious after a while. I had a hard time finishing it.

My key takeaways were:

- Psychopaths comprise a small percentage of a population
- Psychopaths can be found everywhere and are not necessarily violent, e.g., managers and executives of companies (a big insight to me)
- Thinking and making rational decisions in stressful and/or scary situations like a psychopath can be beneficial.

There are probably a few others but less memorable to me. The rest of the book provides a more detailed description of psychopaths and some entertaining examples but also a lot of fluff (similar stories with little or no additional insight) which significantly lowered my enjoyment of the book (reminded me of Charles Dickens who was paid per page). Half way through, I wanted to skip to the last chapter but decided to slog through it. I learned some additional things but nothing important and definitely not entertaining by the time I finished.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
joshua carlson
Hearing the provocative title, I immediately ordered this from my local library. It begins on a rather unpromising note with something along the lines of "My father was a psychopath" (which seems to be a way of signaling, "I'm going to make a whole bunch of wild, unsupportable conjectures and exaggerations in this book, and sprinkle studies in here and there to make it seem like this is legit."). Bottom line, the writer throws out an argument that he doesn't back with rigorous intellectual thought. Beyond that -- he wants to be Malcolm Gladwell or Freakonomics or something but he just doesn't have the storytelling chops.

There was a recent article in New York magazine about the proliferation of self-help books, how people can't just write books about a thing because it is interesting, it has to be "10 ways Ted Bundy can make you a better Wendy's manager" and this one seems to be at the almost self-parodying apex of that trend. I am definitely a student of the human mind and I was interested to see a different take on the fascinating minority of people who could be considered psychopaths, but this book is facile through and through, playing fast and loose to better appeal to those out there who would like to diagnose basically everything with a label.

If you are genuinely interested in reading an accesible yet provocative book on psychology, I'd highly recommend Opening Skinner's Box. In it, the writer (who is quite talented at constructing and relaying a story) approaches each of a set of classic psychological experiments and turns a lot of preconceived notions on their heads.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
katie hall
This is honestly a very fun and engaging read, but I have fault it for a lack of scientific rigor and a rather lighthearted conclusion that whitewashes a lot of the realities of the 'psychopath.' I add scare quotes there because the psychopath is a loosely defined psychological category, not a formal diagnosis with a well-defined population. The author leverages this ambiguity to cherry pick the characteristics of certain psychopaths that make his conclusions more agreeable. The book is honestly persuasive and leaves the review confident that we can gain a lot of value from flipping the valence of research on psychopathy and considering the psychopath as a 'dark saint.' The author kind of views psychopaths as mutants à la X-men, and says that some are heroes and others are villains. This is all very engaging only if we ignore our general ignorance about the complexities of the relationship between brain activity and human behavior. -Ryan Mease
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
salaeha shariff
It was the title, and the somewhat scary cover, which first caught my attention. What promised to be a leap into the world of Hannibal Lecter is actually much more than that. In The Wisdom of Psychopaths psychologist Kevin Dutton introduces the reader to what exactly psychopaths are made of and, surprisingly, they have got quite a few good things going for them as this insightful and wonderfully entertaining tract proves.
Connecting psychopaths to violent behavior, to associate them with vicious crimes, is easy, and some will doubtlessly live up to this expectation. Still, your doctor may be one too, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. The point is that there is a fine line that separates a great surgeon from a serial killer.
This book isn't so much about what psychopathic character traits we could adopt to implement them in our own lives, after all how do you learn to be charismatic or fearless, but it beautifully depicts why psychopaths are the way they are on both a neurological and psychological level. Ultimately it's about understanding them and Dutton does an amazing job illustrating their inner workings.
I don't think I have ever read a book that so skilfully blends a serious topic with an adventurous streak, especially when he undergoes a "psychopath make-over". Fast-paced, fun and smart, this is for everyone who wants to know more about what makes psychopaths tick!
In short: An intriguing and captivating work about the psychopath's mind!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Random House. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
darcie
The subtitle of this work could be: the wisdom of a well designed pop science/psychology book. Because if you're a smart, professor type and you've got something to say, you're in a dilemma. Perhaps you could write a scholarly tome, and be read by the ivory-towered few. Or you could dumb it down, sex it up, and kiss integrity goodbye.

Or you could try the psychopath option and split it down the middle. On one side, the side most often viewed by others, you could interact with readers in a charming, seemingly casual tone, all the while moving them in the direction you want. And on the other side, you reserve your cold, calculating brain for those few who can endure it.

This is what Dutton does in this brilliant book. Don't believe the reviewers who complain that it is simplistic or lightweight; there is enough academic meat in the twenty plus pages of Notes to keep the most sombre student satisfied. But weight is not relegated to the Notes alone. In Chapter Three, for example, Dutton offers us up a correlation between his thesis, game theory and the 'prisoner's dilemma' - go chew on that, Dr Lecter!

So what is Dutton's main thrust? My reading of it is this. In recent years, there has been an interesting drift towards exploring the positive side of certain mental illnesses and/or personality disorders. For example, psychologists have written about healthy/productive narcissists, realistic depressives, Machiavellian/political intelligence and creative bipolars. Dutton applies this trend to one of the extreme cases, namely, psychopathy, or ASDP.

Peppered with conversations with Andy McNabb and various criminal psychos, the book is addictive reading. Some might call it whimsy; I call it spicing up the genre with interviews, experiments and case studies. But it is not only that. The sheer audacity of Dutton's radical proposal keeps one glued. Which is?

Psychopathy is more a mental state rather than a personality trait. Those who can master that state, and use it in moderation and in context, accrue significant benefits that lead to long-term success. Chief among these are the 'seven deadly wins' of ruthlessness, charm, focus, mental toughness, fearlessness, mindfulness and action (chapter 7).

Furthermore, not all psychopaths are serial killers, criminals or even physically violent. Many are CEOs, surgeons, politicians, soldiers and intelligence officers. Two fictional characters that Dutton mentions along the way are particularly instructive, I think: Sherlock Holmes and James Bond. Given the right mission, psychopaths can shine as heroes.

In fact, in a stunning last chapter, Dutton pushes beyond even this. He claims that there is a significant overlap and relationship between psychopathic and spiritual traits. Both types lead a wandering lifestyle, but more importantly, share a stoical, emotional regulated mindset, an ability to enter into altered states of awareness, making them a ruthless elite. Which takes me nicely back to the title of this review, a quote from none other than James Bond himself in the film Casino Royale (2006).

I hope Dutton writes more on this subject. Quite frankly, I'd have liked a little 'how to' in a book like this. Dutton's positive or high-functioning psychopathy made me think of emotional detachment, resilience, persuasion, flow focus (210), assertiveness and other topics I teach in Emotional Intelligence and Communication Skills workshops. And mindfulness is a big topic presently, encompassing 'Eastern' techniques (MBSR and MBCT) and 'Western' psychology (Ellen Langer).

In our sentimental, herd-like, health-and-safety world, reeking equally of victimhood and false guilt, releasing our inner psychopath could be the greatest growing sign of mental health out there.

"Courageous, untroubled, mocking, coercive - that is what wisdom wants us to be. Wisdom is a woman, and only loves a warrior." (Nietzsche, TSZ, 1:7)

Maybe that's why Bond got all the babes.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
chanda
I thought this was a solid book, with an interesting premise but I found it to be lacking in depth in some places and rather moving from supposition to supposition. It's more of a exploration the author's study than a deep analysis into the subject and I found that the author peppered the story with useless details that didn't help to illustrate the story. I also found that in some places, the author came across as needlessly bragging in places where it didn't fit.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
anthony cast
Got up to the bit where he associated Neil Armstrong with psychopathy because his heart rate did not elevate during the moon landing. Read a little of Neil Armstrongs background and you will see that Neil Armstrong does not and should not be associated with clinical psychopathy, and doing so is an insult to him and his family. Perhaps, someone as callous as to associate Neil Armstrong with psychopathy is himself, closer to it. Taking a look at the authors website and you may definitely see the narcissism. If you want to read something substantial on psychopathy I think readers should go elsewhere instead of this sensationalist garbage.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
aline hollanda
Unfortunate title: psychopaths act by default. Wisdom,however, is acquired through personal and often costly life experience.
The book seems to glorify psychopaths when there is nothing in their actions that any sane person would strive for, except for some utilitarian end, which is likely to be costly for others.  Even if the 'normal' person out there tried to follow the socalled 'wisdom of psychopaths", they would come up against the wall of their superego. The book contains some interesting facts but falters when the author tries to convert the last section into some soft help guide in how to become a psychopath.  It would probably require shlepping an unwieldy magnet around to eliminate the brain's moral compass. It would take effort & create cognitive and emotional dissonance in the ordinary person! Ludicrous proposition! What is second nature for the psychopath would take conscious effort for us. As the book confirms, there are enough psychopaths in the corporate world and elsewhere. Why create more?
What matters is intent: I cannot see any similarity between the garden variety psychopath and a guru meditating or achieving enlightenment even if their MRIs happen to show similarities.
The author's apparent omission in distinguishing between psychopaths & sociopaths is significant.
This book is interesting but because of its hype not a text to be taken as gospel for serious scholarship on the topic. Reads like an adapted doctoral thesis.  Disappointing.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
stella pierides
The basic idea of this book is that like all psychological traits, psychopathy exists on a continuum, from non-existent to extreme. There have been quite a few studies in the press lately about how certain successful people like CEO's for example exhibit psychopathic traits. This theme is taken up in depth in this very interesting book. In it you learn what makes a psychopath a sadistic killer vs. what makes one a very successful financial trader.

This is a good book. It has the store's "Search Inside" feature which is a wonderful feature that let's you preview the text much like you could in a bookstore. I recommend you take advantage of that before deciding on your purchase.

I recommend this book to anyone interested in human behavior. It's easily worth it. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
vaiolini
I bought this book at an airport bookshop and have read 3/4 of it already. Kevin Dutton is a joy to read, a professor in his field who really knows the right mix of personal, professional and research findings to make an incredibly good read. The book shows that psychopaths are found not just in jails, but in armies, in law, in corporations and in medicine. In fact they abound in situations where win-lose, winner take all, games are found. Given the direction of culture, away from empathy towards rewarding the psychopaths in government, industry, finance and the media, it poses some rather disturbing questions for those of us more interested in win-win games within a sustainable world. The origins of the psychopathic direction in civilised cultures is the one area left out of this absorbing and important work.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
tom jackson
Repetitive, overflowing with puffery, and stretching the data to say the least. One gets the impression that the author wrote this book largely to feel good about himself rather than contribute to the marketplace of ideas. Also, the experiments and arguments are largely repetitive. Did I mention the author repeats himself?
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
lindsey pettengill
While I can understand the point that Dr. Dutton is trying to make with this book, as a professional in the same field of behavioral science as he, I feel that his assertions are way off the mark. He seems to completely disregard the clinical dimensions of true psychopathy in favor of a much more general definition that would include a much larger segment of the general population than the current research into the disorder warrants. I believe that it would be a fair assumption that perhaps Dr. Dutton has taken the "industry standard" test for psychopathy, the Psychopathy Checklist - Revised (PCL-R), and he scored higher than he was comfortable with. Thus he comes up with this idea that "there's a little bit of psychopathy in all of us" to assuage his own internal conflict between the kind of person he likes to think of himself as, and the kind of person the PCL-R indicates. However, there is also an argument to be made that the ideas he asserts are a means of "re-sensationalizing" a behavioral phenomenon that many people have seemingly become desensitized to through the wave of crime-drama television shows like CSI and Criminal Minds, which put psychopathy front-and-center so often that it has ceased to be shocking to viewers. This kind of tactic would certainly be a compelling experiment in bumping up the numbers of books sold to a community that has ceased to be impressed with clinical psychopathy.

Additionally, I found his writing style to be almost insufferable. His near-constant attempts at being clever with metaphor has a tendency to get in the way of his message, and I found myself rolling my eyes frequently at the absurdity of it. I don't know about other readers, but I found it difficult to read more than a dozen pages at a time when practically every other page was peppered with over-the-top sentences like "Streaming behind our supersonic, turbocharged brains are ancient Darwinian vapor trails stretching all the way back to the brutal, blood-soaked killing fields of prehistory." I don't know if Dr. Dutton likes to think of himself as a "rock star" of behavioral science or if he's merely trying to foster that opinion of himself in his readers. Either way though, his message and the way he chooses to present it makes it very difficult to take him seriously.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
p nar
"wisdom of psychopaths" is probably one of the better nonfiction books i've ever read. the subject matter is interesting, the writing is entertaining and the various testing discussed is well-researched. mr. dutton looks both at the negative and positive aspects of psychopaths. although we all are familiar with the negative, criminal elements, we often don't see them in a positive light. dutton compares leadership and psychopath traits and finds them quite similar. he looks at careers where psychopaths shine; CEO, lawyers, media personalities, salespeople, surgeons and soldiers to name a few, and one's they are not interested in; therapists, teachers, accountants, artists and such. his chapters on the elite soldiers i found fascinating and the "training" the special opts go through. mr. dutton himself is turned into a psychopath for 20 minutes thanks to some military manipulation (think of the movie "Clockwork Orange"). with all the testing being done, psychopaths are much more empathetic than originally thought, and that is how they use their preditory nature. or to quote the great homer simpson "it's not that i don't understand, i just don't care". i can't recommend this book enough. it's a good book for referencing the mind of a psychopath, but is equally a good self-help book as it shows what we all need to do to get ahead in life.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
son kemal
I've long been intrigued by the human mind and what shapes our personalities and decision-making and, as such, found this a compelling read. Kevin Dutton's research approach is far from the typical morbid fascination in the violent crimes of psychopaths. Instead, we look at what makes the psychopathic mind different from the average person's, and how some of those differences make them quite successful in certain careers.

Dutton's writing style is easy to fall into. While I wouldn't call this light reading (I can't imagine anything on this topic that would be), it doesn't read like a text book. The research is well explained without being overly detailed.

Dutton stresses that not all psychopaths are evil or murderers. We spend a lot of time looking at "functional" psychopaths who are nonviolent and quite successful. My one problem here is that, while we're treated to all the reasons they can be beneficial to society, Dutton doesn't examine the disastrous effects these "functional" psychopaths can have on families or even work environments.

This book brings up the entire concept of free will, which is perhaps a side effect of the exploration. While only touched on lightly here, after reading this it's impossible not to question how many of our decisions are truly free will, and how many are simply a product of our genetic makeup.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
geoffrey
Although the studies in ths are sometimes interesting, many of them are just contrived experiments or lists of personal characteristcs. Loosely associating e.g. that because psychopaths and saints can focus intensely, that they have much in common is a frightening concept to present to people fascinated by psychopaths and sociopaths. Most of us wish we could do what we want without conscience. Or bedazzle and/or manipulate others to get our way. Luckily, most of us have a CONSCIENCE. Psychopath and sociopaths don't have a conscience ever. They can mimic a conscience, but they are totally out for themselves.
I worked as a psych nurse in a state mental institution and I can tell you psychopaths and sociopaths are only glamourous in the movies. They are creepy, totally for themselves and leave huge scars and destruction behind themselves when they eventually have to move on because people catch on to their destruction.
Also, there is no known effective treatment for psychopaths and sociopaths. It's impossible to treat someone who doesn't care and doesn't see themselves as having a problem. There is no such thing as a psychopath who is really not that bad. There are other mental illnesses in which the person has honest concern and attachment to others. But not psychopaths and sociopaths.
The author hops around different studies and places and intellectually collects a lot of data and cool phrases, but does not seems to really get how devastating psychopathic behavior is to real people's lives.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
cash
The point the author seems to be making is that a little psychopathy can be a good thing. He mentions quite a few successful businessmen and politicians who score high on psychopath tests. He claims his father is a psychopath. The part I found most interesting was a list of professions and how people in those professions score for psychopathy. Policemen, for instance, score high for psychopathy. But the premise is, in the end, trivial. Surgeons are trained to see their patients as a piece of meat. Policemen and the military are trained to function normally in horrifying conditions and to kill without hesitation. They couldn't do their jobs otherwise. A little of anything is valuable in certain circumstances; cold-bloodiness, contempt, skepticism, you name it. I defy anyone to mention any quality that isn't useful in certain circumstances. It's the degree and circumstances that define whether a trait is valuable or not.

I was left with as many questions as answers. While Mr. Dutton addressed professions, he didn't touch age. I'd be willing to bet that children score high on psychopath tests, because children aren't born with empathy but learn it. So while Dutton is asking questions, he's cherry-picking his questions and demographics. He's addressing certain demographics that he wants us to pay attention to in order to make his point.

Another question I had concerned intelligence - do psychopaths test high, low or conform to the same kind of bell curve non-psychopaths do? And, on the subject of intelligence: He mentions a number of self-confessed psychopaths, so apparently psychopaths do know they're psychopaths. Then he mentions psychopath tests that seem to me to be idiotically simple to see through. For instance, is it okay to put a bunch of pills in your grandmother's teapot to play a joke on her? Most six year old children would know better than to answer yes to that question. So if questions like those are used to determine adult psychopathy and psychopaths know that they are psychopaths, it comes down to whether or not a psychopath wants to let everyone know he's a psychopath - and is therefore not a valid test of psychopathy. We know from countless historical examples that most psychopaths hide their psychopathy behind a veneer of friendly, sociable, non-threatening behavior. Neighbors tell us how kind a psychopath was. Mothers tell us that a psychopath was a sweet child and nice to everyone. I'd be tempted to simply give psychological tests the benefit of the doubt, but previous experience has taught me to never underestimate the intelligence of psychologists. There are some slightly less transparent questions, but every single one mentioned seemed ridiculously transparent to me, leaving me with some big doubts about how effective they were as a test.

I purchased the audiobook version, so I couldn't check footnotes or references, which was a serious problem for me. He mentions "flow" in the context of athletes and states that psychopaths display an ability to reach this mental state. Flow was coined by Csikszentmihalyi in his book of the same title to label a mental state of complete absorption in what one is doing. It's a kind of heightened attention to a task that allows one to tune out everything except what one is doing and it's a creative characteristic displayed by musicians, artists and people on computers, among others. Most people who have been absorbed in a task, then looked up and realized that six hours have gone by in what seems like a half hour, have been in this state. But Dutton doesn't give numbers. How do psychopaths compare to the rest of the population? He mentions simply that psychopaths display the ability to achieve the flow state, without mentioning numbers or whether the statistical sample was valid.

The issues go on and on. Dutton mentions that psychopaths can identify a victim by body language, the way they walk. So can non-psychopath criminals and women. It's been well established that women are better at reading facial expressions and body language than men are. But, Dutton doesn't tell us how psychopaths measure up to other groups that can identify "good" victims. On recognizing a potential victim, it boils down to anyone who has a vested interest in identifying them can do so better than the population as a whole can. Women because they're nurturers and also at risk. Non-psychopath criminals because it part of their skill set for success.

On a personal level, I've known more than one psychopath in my childhood. So, I'm always trying to learn enough to identify them far in advance, so that I can get the heck out of Dodge if one is in the vicinity. I found Dutton's book to be interesting but somewhat unconvincing.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
rich bright
This book is very interesting especially if you are in a mental health care setting or law enforcement. Its a little shocking to learn just how many of the same attributes most of us have when looking at psychopaths. You also learn that its not necessarily an evil thing. The book may or may not be deep enough for a mental health professional but it was more than enough for this law enforcement officer to digest.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
chris jennings
The problem with this book is that while there is much interesting information, it is so muddled. It makes me appreciate more than I had "Zero Degrees of Empathy" by Simon Baren-Cohen. Psychopaths lack empathy as an emotion, which does not necessarily mean they are unable to judge and even manipulate the emotional responses of other people. As Dutton says, and Baren-Cohen makes clear, there are various dimensions to personality; thus it really makes more sense to characterize people in terms of these dimensions than to go on about what a psychopath is or is not: it is what we define it to be. It does make sense to try to determine what other traits criminals who lack emotional empathy tend to have in common; more important, it makes sense to investigate how best to predict adult behavior, or the possible success of treatment protocols, based on questionnaires, or behavior as children or the various methods of neuroscience.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
tomasz
Here is the Big Idea:sociopaths have an extraordinary ability to concentrate and focus, not to give a you know what about a setback, and persuade others. Dutton says these are all good thing in moderation. Fine, tell me something I don't already know. He cites some interesting studies:sociopaths, both men and women, get laid more because they give off the impression of a cool and confident person who is fun to be with and who is going places;lots of dopamine is released in their brains when there a chance of a reward; a sociopath understands the risk of his or her conduct but their desire to win, and the possibility of, gratification, overides all else. He crosses a lot of lines including the suggestion that Neil Armstrong was a sociopath. Come to think of it, the book is not so much useless as it is dangerous, providing cover for sociopaths and their conduct.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
cara creger
As the child of sociopath who destroyed my life and the lives of many, my experience with a sociopath is extremely intimate. I love Martha Stout's book, too. Dutton's is an amazing look at these sorts of people. Read it, and you'll never fail to recognize a psychopath again, quickly, before your life is turned upside down. The level of focus a psychopath has, and the ability to shrug things off is something the highly empathetic could often use.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
tatra
Kevin Dutton presents a lot of interesting information in here. He shows lots of correlations between psychopathy and success- job status, wealth, and power. He also shows lots of links between decision making processes, emotional and logical thinking, and the "food chain" of the elite and non elite humans. He compares psychopaths to non-psychopaths and what characteristics make them "better" at certain things, but also what characteristics can cause them to do harm to society if they have too much of one characteristic.

Some of these characteristics range from ruthlessness, insensitivity, persuasiveness, superficial charm, and egocentrism/narcissistic. These may sound like characteristics of someone you would strongly dislike, but at the same time they are characteristics of people we admire most- like heroes in the movies we watch and books we read. Also characteristics of successful people we see, hear, read about, and admire.

He has various interviews with world renowned business entrepreneurs and CEO's. In it Dutton quotes one CEO saying, "My 3 best attributes are: curiosity, determination, and insensitivity." Dutton asked him why insensitivity? the CEO replied, "It helps me sleep at night when others can not."

Also quoted CEO's saying, "Intellectual ability on its own is just an elegant way of finishing second. Remember, they don't call it a greasy pole for nothing. The road to the top is hard. But it's easier to climb if you lever yourself up on others. Easier still if they think something's in it for them."

I'd recommend this book to anyone wanting to utilize their own "psychopathic" skills to get the most out of every situation and get ahead or to stop feeling sorry for themselves. I'd also recommend it to anyone interested in psychology or needing to write a research paper on an interesting topic.

What I got most out of this book was I realized some hidden strengths and talents I had that I never knew about, how to use them, and also to not to feel bad about it.

"The great epochs of our life come when we gain the courage to rechristen our evil as what is best in us." - F. Nietzsche
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
susan heusser ladwig
Great book, but frightening. I have been fascinated with the psychopathic personality since I started reading John D. McDonald's novels back in the 70s, whose main villains were usually criminal psychopaths. They were spellbinding, exciting and scary books. I did not learn until many years later that there are many psychopaths among us who are not criminals, but nevertheless, manipulate us and cause us much psychic pain. They keep us off balance with their apparent caring, attention, tenderness, generosity, flattery and entertaining personalities, alternated with controlling, manipulations, attacks on self-esteem and sowing seeds of self-doubt; keeping us on a continuous emotional roller coaster. Their easiest prey are those who are the polar opposites of a psychopath. In my several years working in Human Resources, I realized this when I observed how many nurses, social workers and other caregivers were in relationships with psychopaths. There are varying degrees of psychopathy, and those who are highly intelligent and not extreme, are almost impossible to detect.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
rosalyn eves
Aristotle, more than 2,400 years ago observed 'There was never a genius without a tincture of madness.' More current examples - Vincent van Gogh (painter), and John Nash (father of game theory). Presidential biographers suggest that John F. Kennedy and Bill Clinton were as well.

If you haven't already figured out that good salesmen, lawyers, and even some politicians are 'functional' psychopaths (persuasive, superficial charm, resistance to self-blame, and enhanced capacity for dishonesty, lack of remorse, manipulate others, grandiose sense of importance), then Dutton's 'The Wisdom of Psychopaths' might be useful reading for you. Dutton also tells us that psychopaths are not necessarily violent - there's wide range; however, they're much better seeing vulnerability in others. He sees them as making good surgeons, market traders, bomb-disposal experts, detectives, spies, etc.

Overall, however, 'The Wisdom of Psychopaths' is less enlightening and interesting than one would wish.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
caryn winslow
Reading this glorious book was like being able to enjoy the splendor of Ludwig Van's glorious 9th again after being driven out the window of the highest floor of some fine half timber. Oh yes my friends, I am cured! I may even buy a copy just to show my gratitude.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
brian kubarycz
Interesting collection of studies about psychopathy with an entertaining prose, nevertheless it falls short of fully satisfying curiosity. Some infamous psychopaths are mentioned as well as serial killers, but the book never explores them in detail. The point Kevin Dutton is exposing is valid and he supports it with enough evidence, but the book is nothing more than a collection of cases and anecdotes from the author. Still a good read and a link to [...]
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
ankit jain
I thought this was an interesting book. We still have a lot to learn about human psychology, so by no means is it definitive, but Dutton raises some interesting points.

There are some folks who wrote negative remarks about Dutton's position. Everyone's entitled to their own opinion, but I noticed much of the negativity is based on an emotional response to psychopaths. I understand that it may be difficult to accept that there could be some correlation between killers and saints, but the experiments cited open that possibility. Science doesn't care how you feel about reality. For example, being a "psych nurse" doesn't make you an expert. The evidence suggests that this may be an area worth looking into.

The book reads easily, and the author avoid unnecessary science jargon to make it readable to the general public. Good work!
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
debra richardson
II loved Mr. Duttons last book, and love this one too! There is a lot of interestting and insightfull research explaind, and it is a good read. If there is one thing lacking, it is how I can use this wisdom. Like Flipnosis, I kind of feel a bitt tricked in the end. Most of the wisdom of psyhopaths is for those with a "diffrent" amygdala from the start, or you can get your hands om som cranial magnets!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
matt dague
As the child of sociopath who destroyed my life and the lives of many, my experience with a sociopath is extremely intimate. I love Martha Stout's book, too. Dutton's is an amazing look at these sorts of people. Read it, and you'll never fail to recognize a psychopath again, quickly, before your life is turned upside down. The level of focus a psychopath has, and the ability to shrug things off is something the highly empathetic could often use.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
brian grinter
Kevin Dutton presents a lot of interesting information in here. He shows lots of correlations between psychopathy and success- job status, wealth, and power. He also shows lots of links between decision making processes, emotional and logical thinking, and the "food chain" of the elite and non elite humans. He compares psychopaths to non-psychopaths and what characteristics make them "better" at certain things, but also what characteristics can cause them to do harm to society if they have too much of one characteristic.

Some of these characteristics range from ruthlessness, insensitivity, persuasiveness, superficial charm, and egocentrism/narcissistic. These may sound like characteristics of someone you would strongly dislike, but at the same time they are characteristics of people we admire most- like heroes in the movies we watch and books we read. Also characteristics of successful people we see, hear, read about, and admire.

He has various interviews with world renowned business entrepreneurs and CEO's. In it Dutton quotes one CEO saying, "My 3 best attributes are: curiosity, determination, and insensitivity." Dutton asked him why insensitivity? the CEO replied, "It helps me sleep at night when others can not."

Also quoted CEO's saying, "Intellectual ability on its own is just an elegant way of finishing second. Remember, they don't call it a greasy pole for nothing. The road to the top is hard. But it's easier to climb if you lever yourself up on others. Easier still if they think something's in it for them."

I'd recommend this book to anyone wanting to utilize their own "psychopathic" skills to get the most out of every situation and get ahead or to stop feeling sorry for themselves. I'd also recommend it to anyone interested in psychology or needing to write a research paper on an interesting topic.

What I got most out of this book was I realized some hidden strengths and talents I had that I never knew about, how to use them, and also to not to feel bad about it.

"The great epochs of our life come when we gain the courage to rechristen our evil as what is best in us." - F. Nietzsche
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
marlene martinez
Great book, but frightening. I have been fascinated with the psychopathic personality since I started reading John D. McDonald's novels back in the 70s, whose main villains were usually criminal psychopaths. They were spellbinding, exciting and scary books. I did not learn until many years later that there are many psychopaths among us who are not criminals, but nevertheless, manipulate us and cause us much psychic pain. They keep us off balance with their apparent caring, attention, tenderness, generosity, flattery and entertaining personalities, alternated with controlling, manipulations, attacks on self-esteem and sowing seeds of self-doubt; keeping us on a continuous emotional roller coaster. Their easiest prey are those who are the polar opposites of a psychopath. In my several years working in Human Resources, I realized this when I observed how many nurses, social workers and other caregivers were in relationships with psychopaths. There are varying degrees of psychopathy, and those who are highly intelligent and not extreme, are almost impossible to detect.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
bola babs
Aristotle, more than 2,400 years ago observed 'There was never a genius without a tincture of madness.' More current examples - Vincent van Gogh (painter), and John Nash (father of game theory). Presidential biographers suggest that John F. Kennedy and Bill Clinton were as well.

If you haven't already figured out that good salesmen, lawyers, and even some politicians are 'functional' psychopaths (persuasive, superficial charm, resistance to self-blame, and enhanced capacity for dishonesty, lack of remorse, manipulate others, grandiose sense of importance), then Dutton's 'The Wisdom of Psychopaths' might be useful reading for you. Dutton also tells us that psychopaths are not necessarily violent - there's wide range; however, they're much better seeing vulnerability in others. He sees them as making good surgeons, market traders, bomb-disposal experts, detectives, spies, etc.

Overall, however, 'The Wisdom of Psychopaths' is less enlightening and interesting than one would wish.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
sean gursky
Reading this glorious book was like being able to enjoy the splendor of Ludwig Van's glorious 9th again after being driven out the window of the highest floor of some fine half timber. Oh yes my friends, I am cured! I may even buy a copy just to show my gratitude.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
leah
Interesting collection of studies about psychopathy with an entertaining prose, nevertheless it falls short of fully satisfying curiosity. Some infamous psychopaths are mentioned as well as serial killers, but the book never explores them in detail. The point Kevin Dutton is exposing is valid and he supports it with enough evidence, but the book is nothing more than a collection of cases and anecdotes from the author. Still a good read and a link to [...]
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
william willis
I thought this was an interesting book. We still have a lot to learn about human psychology, so by no means is it definitive, but Dutton raises some interesting points.

There are some folks who wrote negative remarks about Dutton's position. Everyone's entitled to their own opinion, but I noticed much of the negativity is based on an emotional response to psychopaths. I understand that it may be difficult to accept that there could be some correlation between killers and saints, but the experiments cited open that possibility. Science doesn't care how you feel about reality. For example, being a "psych nurse" doesn't make you an expert. The evidence suggests that this may be an area worth looking into.

The book reads easily, and the author avoid unnecessary science jargon to make it readable to the general public. Good work!
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
writeontarget2
II loved Mr. Duttons last book, and love this one too! There is a lot of interestting and insightfull research explaind, and it is a good read. If there is one thing lacking, it is how I can use this wisdom. Like Flipnosis, I kind of feel a bitt tricked in the end. Most of the wisdom of psyhopaths is for those with a "diffrent" amygdala from the start, or you can get your hands om som cranial magnets!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
george hawirko
The Wisdom of Psychpaths..., WOW! Ive been reading many books & magazine articles on this subject of late, but this is the BEST work ive read so far! The extensive research & testing that Kevin Dutton & his collegues have done on this subject throws far more light on the FACT that NOT every Psychopath is your standard 'serial killer'. The fact is, that so many of them 'blend effortlessly' into our society in ways we might never imagine & achieve such success,that WE 'others' who are the proud owners of a 'moral compass', a Conscience, may never know ourselves! Its downright SCARY to realise that one may even prefer to have a Psychopath as ones surgeon or worse, as ones Lawyer etc, simply because they have the ice-cold focus & steely determination 'to get the job done & properly'!!! Kevin illuminates the 'murky corners' of just HOW we (the 'feeling ones') so often fall into thier clutches blindly & crawl out wondering "what the Hell just happened to me? Was i imagining that? Am i losing my mind?!!". For 30years i myself have wandered around in the dark, KNOWING that something was definately NOT RIGHT with my ex-mother-in-law! Her behaviour at times is positively 'cruel & inhumane' towards her own family, friends & especially towards those loved by the men of her family (eg: thier wives & partners). Yet she is angelic to small children & animals!! With us adults, she blindsides you as she uncannily uncovers & picks out your most vulnerable areas, sticks in an 'emotional dagger', twists it till u scream in agony, then she'll engagingly smile at you & tell u "not to be so silly,you must have imagined it!" & you find yourself believing her 'charm' & doubting your own sanity!! Kevin fills in 'the gaps' that other books have left me with, whilst giving me a unnerving 'new view' of how our current society is geared up to allow 'moderated psychopaths' to thrive (like my ex-dragon-in-law) or even to achieve great successes (like my ex-brother-in-law, a former Formula Two racing champion & now rich corporate big-wig, who never shed a tear at his own younger brothers death or lifted a finger to help his brother, me or even his own nephew to 'understand or cope' with his mothers cruelty!). Sadly as Kevin points out, there is also a strong genetic factor, they 'breed' others of thier kind! I HIGHLY recommend this book to ANYONE wondering 'what the Hell???' about someone they know. Ive also bought a copy for my sons fiancee. She wisely is now studying Psychiatry at Uni, shes gonna need it for her marriage to my son to survive. His poor dad & i had NO help at all & our marriage was destroyed & sadly so was his Dad! I dearly wish id had this knowledge earlier, we may have had sum hope! But at least our son & his wife-to-be now do. And my ex-dragon-in-law CANT live forever!....can she???!!
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
bayan jamal
scary, disturbing, interesting, and educational. Definitely the most disturbing book cover I have ever seen lmao. It actually makes sense now to understand some of the cold hearted people I have run across in my life. I do believe there must be a stronger correlation with psychopaths and people with deep rooted anger issues. I would have liked to see the author touch upon this. Overall a great book IF you have the stomach for some disturbing reality that there are more psychopaths among us than you would ever imagine!!!
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
eric d
Leaving out some of the semantic contortions the author and his sources engage in to try to say positive things about psychopaths (for example, that the pleasure that sadistic killers feel from watching their victims suffer is actually a form of empathy), this is, in general, a well-researched and enjoyable read.

Much better than, for example, Jamie Lund's "Confessions of a Sociopath".
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
pamela grant
The Wisdom of Psychopaths: What Saints, Spies, and Serial Killers Can Teach Us About Success by Kevin Dutton gets four stars.

Who would've thought employing a psychopath could be good for business? Let me just say, if I were strapped to a bomb I'd want the disconnected, cool and calm psychopath on the bomb team at my side. And if I were having brain surgery, give me the psychopath who could disassociate and get right to the matter at hand. Car sales? Let's not even go there. Read the book.

Susan Stec, author
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
r j samuel
A world 'best run' by psychopaths is morally bankrupt. Some of the data seems respectable and interesting hence two stars instead of one but the 'message' is a very old and very evil one - whatever 'works' is good. The perfect example of his 'functioning and useful' psychopaths would be the directors of I.G. Farben Industries in Nazi Germany and their slave labor empire.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
faythe millhoff
I won this book in a Goodreads Giveaway. I'm at a loss for writing a review at this point.

Words that come to mind are WOW that was interesting... I liked it. Unfortunately, I usually read one or for books at a time and this book was a much deeper read than I was expecting. I think I am going to go back and read a few places that I earmarked (or maybe reread the entire thing) before I finish this review.

I have always been very interested in the psychology of "extreme" people, be it psychopaths, artists, killers, athletes, the most extreme religious zealot...

This book was absolutely fascinating. I just don't think I gave it the read it deserved so I am going to immediately rectify that.

To be continued...
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
scribner books
For me, the deciding factor on whether Dutton (or any other so called expert on psychopathy) knew what the hell he was talking about, is whether they recognized that some psychopaths are chock full of empathy. He did acknowledge and expound on that fact with perfection. BRAVO! It is the SADISTIC type of psychopath, that must have tons of empathy . . in order to be maximally effective in his sadistic exploitations. What those sadistic psychopaths are lacking is COMPASSION! Don't EVER confuse EMPATHY and COMPASSION.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
beerdiablo
A third of the book is good, with a lot of interesting information about scientific research. The rest of the book is a weak attempt to link psychopathy to every successful person in the history of the world and a lot of overly dramatic writing that doesn't lead anywhere.

On the plus side, it's a light read, if that's what you're looking for.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
evan levy
I'm fairly well-versed on ASPD, having read books by Hare, Stout and others, and this book breathes new life into the morbid dysfunction: Psychopathy. For me, this has been a page-turner, one that clarifies, expands and goes far beyond what I knew about a subject I thought I understood. Although written above the level of run-of-the-mill psychology buffs, the book is very well written and devilishly clever. It's also frightening and to me, at least, brilliant. Particularly impressive is that Dutton teaches what we can learn from psychopaths about morality, success and coping with life's everyday problems.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
stacey mcconnell
The Wisdom of Psycopaths is the best nonfiction book I've read in the past year. Provocative, fascinating, insightful, disturbing, and witty, it will change the way you look at your doctor, you banker, and maybe your neighbors. Dutton writes with all the humanity of Oliver Sacks and way more gusto; this book is an intellectual romp not to be missed.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
vahid taromi
I was excited to purchase this book after it was mentioned in several publications I follow. Unfortunately, I was disappointed with the approach of the author. It seems like he has a childlike awe for the subject, which is not helpful/ objective. I would compare it to a TLC "documentary" movie. The book is peppered with mentions of studies but has no real thesis. I would have enjoyed a more scientific approach, being that this is a medical subject.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
veranyc
Kevin Dutton doesn't just deep-dive into the mind of a psychopath, he backs up 50 yards and builds a landscape view of the entire spectrum of human personalities. He accomplishes this with digestible stories, first hand experience and a mountain of research beautifully woven together.

I definitely plan on reading this book again.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
kristina nemetz
Kevin Dutton (Split-Second Persuasion: The Ancient Art and New Science of Changing Minds; Why the Science and Religion Dialogue Matters) has just published a very informative volume titled The Wisdom of Psychopaths: What Saints, Spies, and Serial Killers Can Teach Us about Success. In this very interesting book, Dutton provides a more contemporary, nuanced view of psychopathy. He reveals it as a continuum of context driven behaviors (Ruthlessness, Charm, Focus, Mental Toughness, Fearlessness, Mindfulness, and Action) that can be turned up and down at will. He shows how psychopathic behaviors are characteristic of the saint and sinner, monks and serial killers alike. This book helped me to better understand why psychopaths are able to function ably in the work environment and find success. Certainly, it has brought psychopathic behavior into clearer focus for me. A wonderfully absorbing, engaging approachable work of prose, Dutton's most recent book is well worth reading.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
morgen gallo
...a sometimes forced breeziness of style --Look at what a cool writer I am! -- is very distracting; a reader must often filter out the silliness to see whether or not an important point is being made.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
atlasi
I found this book really intriguing and informational. The title grabs your interest and when you read it you create a new perspective about not only the human mind but about the world around you. Though this is very heavily pop culture influenced it was very informational
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
teja
The author is a total ass. He writes in a breezy, self-impressed lecture style, often quoting his own supposedly witty repartee with various sources. The title made me open the book, and the first chapter promised substance that quickly dissolved.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
blazenka
This book is very inaccurate, waffly, anecdotal and not at all scientifically written or researched, which is shocking coming from a researcher at Oxford... If you really want to read something worthwhile about sociopaths/psychopaths, then read "The Sociopath Next Door" by Martha Stout - informative, well-researched, lucid and scientifically accurate. Don't waste your money on this...
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
anneria
I listened to the first 15 minutes of the audio version of this book before acting on my growing sense of nausea and disgust and hit 'pause'. This is book appears to be, at best, drivel, and at worst, an endorsement for and condoning of psychopathic behaviors.
If you are interested in this topic and want substantive, well-researched information, I strongly recommend the following: "The Sociopath Next Door" by Martha Stout and "The Wizard of Oz and Other Narcissists" by Eleanor Payson.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
michael meyerhofer
I learned so much from this book, and it has really helped me, both with dealing with a psychopath in the work place, and tapping in to skills that I didn't know I had. I read the book in conjunction with Morton Bain's Psychopath, and the two really helped with my understanding of the condition, and knowledge of how to tap into my own 'inner psychopath'.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
javier
Wisdom contains a balance between mind and heart.
There is no heart in the life of a sociopath -- it's about calculation, control and self-interest.
Save your money.
This is just another mind-f*ck from a sociopath seeking validation.
The only reason why society is more sociopathic than ever is because there is sociopathy at the top of the hierarchy messing things up for everyone else and expecting us to clean it up.
Empaths need to step it up and not participate in serving these kinds of people.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
khaled dewan
The book begs the question: What does it mean to be "successful"? What is success? If it means wealth, power, and status, then we might as well indict all of high western culture for being psychopathic.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
razaleigh
Got half-way through the book and realized: either the author has no concept of the harm psychopaths do in society or is a psychopath himself - shedding a positive spin on his corrupt state. If the book had not come from the library, it would have gone out with the trash. Myself being a victim of a psychopath parent, Dutton's book contradicted most every tormented event I managed to survive. "Wisdom" - how about cruelty, lies and "I couldn't care less for you or anyone else" attitude so typical of psychopaths.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
erika barnes
Great -- just what the world needs: a primer on how to mirror psychopaths. No disrespect to the well meaning Dr. Dutton, but it's precisely the "wisdom" of psychopaths that gave us World War II, GMO's and rapid climate change, just to name three. The price mankind has paid for his "success" has been fatal, not only to his own future but to the entire world's flora and fauna. That is the true legacy of the author's "wise" psychopath. Perhaps it is true that psychopathy is merely the survival mechanism without a governor, but it is sad that we should be reduced to emulating these vampires in our mad dash to "get ahead".

A much better book on the subject is Robert Hare's "Without Conscious".
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
jacobine
Although probably a little heavy and wordy for your average reader, it is a fascinating collection of information that gives greater insight into the minds of the people we are most frightened of. Eschewing fiction for fact, the end result is possibly even more reasons to be afraid.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
yendi amalia
This a great book. It is a journey which I enjoyed so much I was disappointed when the book ended. There are a lot of clinical studies and tests on and about psychopaths which are footnoted and can be referenced. The writing is excellent and the book is well paced. The book is an example of the best of science writing for the layman.
Ultimately the author makes an expansive argument about the range and prevalence of psychopathic characteristics which is well argued and backed up with much evidence. I recommend this book highly.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
babak jahedmanesh
I've got five main points to make:

1. Kevin Dutton is an evolutionary psychologist, and that
field is a bunch of crap.

2. Dutton is trying to be an apologist for his father who was a psychopath.

3. There is no such thing as "psychopathy in moderation" when facing
a real psychopath in real life.

4. Homo Sapiens does not need to rely upon psychopaths for their supposed
ability to be calm and cool headed under pressure.

5. Dutton's claim that psychopaths perform better on the job is very often wrong.

*****

1. Kevin Dutton is an evolutionary psychologist. This field is completely unscientific crap.
I'd like to share some articles:

SEX, JEALOUSY & VIOLENCE:
A Skeptical Look at Evolutionary Psychology
[...]

EVOLUTIONARY PSYCHOLOGY IS HERE TO STAY:
A RESPONSE TO BULLER
[...]
A brief rant about waist-to-hip ratio
(very interesting blog post and skeptical conversation
about evolutionary psychology)

[...]

2. Apparently his father was a psychopath. Freud would have a field
day with this guy! Kevin Dutton is basically being an apologist
for his father, that's all. Save yourself from his bad advice.

3. He also states in his preface that psychopathy can be good for us,
at least in moderation. What planet is he living on? Sure I can go
to work in the morning, face a psychopathic boss, and tell myself
that it's all ok in moderation. WTF makes him think that a person
dealing with a psychopath in their lives is going to get "psychopathy
in moderation"? That is NOT how it works. Rather, they will suck the
life out of you until you are a dried up shell, that's how it works.

Well, maybe he's thinking they are useful from a distance - like
the CEO of BP Oil, who hid out on his yacht during that whole oil
spill fiasco. So much for bold confidence and a genius for disguise!

Here's a clue: The people who succeed in business are the ones
who work hard, get along well with people, and are honest.
There's your evolutionary psychology - development of these
qualities is a species survival thing. Psychopathy is NOT.

Dutton tries to give the impression that your everyday
run-of-the-mill psychopath - the type that is not a
criminal, and is not violent, can be somehow good and useful.
No, they are not, they still wreak havoc and destruction
around them. They will basically use up their environment
until they are forced out one way or another, then they
have to find a new sphere of victims to feed on.

4. Dutton's idea seems to be that we must depent upon
psychopaths for their ability to be cool under pressure.
What is the scientific basis for this? There is none.
Non-psychopaths are able to exhibit coolness under
pressure just fine. Not everyone is psychologically
fit for going to the moon, for example, but that doesn't
mean one has to be a psychopath to be able to perform
under that kind of pressure, and I find his insinuation
that Neil Armstrong had to be a psychopath really offensive.
The author relies on story telling here, not research.

5. Here's another thing he gets wrong about psychopaths:
they often actually don't do a good job in their careers,
they just get by on charm and influence (I've seen this
in person), until the results of their bad behavior finally
catches up to them, and once again, they have to find
a new sphere of victims to fleece.

Storytelling and movie references abound in this book,
along with meandering references to other people's
research, but there is no scientific basis to the main
ideas of this book.

I would agree with other reviewers that it is actually dangerous.
Kevin Dutton would like people to admire psychopaths,
and even try to be like them. This is incredibly dangerous
advice, because a psychopath, even one that is not
a violent criminal, can absolutely ruin people. Please
don't buy Dutton's particular brand of snake oil.

Psychopathy indeed does not amount to wisdom - ever!
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
rhea friesen
Interesting area - especially if a Psychopath is not a member of your family? There is no mention of any guidance for people with this condition or indeed guidance for family members on how to 'manage' the condition (which is known to have many and numberous serious detrimental effects if not managed effectively)?

Yes for successful Pshycopaths this condition may be beneficial - as mentioned in the case of the Neurosurgeon but for most Psychopaths the condition may often lead to an premature death of someone.
Please Rate And Serial Killers Can Teach Us About Success - What Saints
More information