Whose idea was The Sociopath Next Door for our April book club selection? Yikees! Serial killers are not my idea of a good read.
As it turns out, however, it was a pretty good read.
According to the author, sociopaths make up four percent of the population, but not all are Ted Bundy. Everyday sociopaths won’t kill you, but they will destroy your dignity, your security, and your confidence.
So if not exclusively a serial killer, what is a sociopath?
According to Dr. Stout, a sociopath is someone who lacks a conscience, defined as, “a sense of obligation ultimately based in an emotional attachment to another living creature (often but not always a human being.)
Without a conscience, sociopaths don’t experience guilt, remorse, shame, or concern for the feelings of others. Also love, joy, or passion.
Sociopaths know the difference between right and wrong; they just don’t allow that pesky distinction affect their behavior.
The condition is untreatable. Your best defense again a sociopath is avoidance, which is challenging if the sociopath in question is your boss, boyfriend, or a member of your family.
Using examples from a super successful business executive to a suburban grandmother, Dr. Stout illustrate the treacherous traits in easily recognizable if chilling clarity.
WHAT OTHER REVIEWERS THINK
Mary Pipher, Ph.D., author of Letters to a Young Therapist and Reviving Ophelia: “Stout’s well-researched and carefully conceptualized book on conscience is thought-provoking and spiritually satisfying.”
WHO WROTE IT
Martha Stout, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist in private practice, served on the faculty of the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School for twenty-five years. She is also the author of The Myth of Sanity. She lives on Cape Ann in Massachusetts.