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Psychology Books: 5 Ways to Spot The Psychopath In Your Life

  First Posted: 03/ 2/2012 10:53 am   Updated: 03/ 2/2012 10:53 am

By Daniel Lefferts for Bookish:

One out of every 10 Wall Street employees is a clinical psychopath, the CFA Institute (an investment and financial analysis organization) reports in the latest issue of CFA Magazine. That makes psychopathy 10 times more prevalent among New York’s financial elite than among us plebeians, for which the accepted statistic is a more palatable one in 100.

Psychopaths “generally lack empathy and interest in what other people feel or think,” according to the study. “At the same time, they display an abundance of charm, charisma, intelligence, credentials, an unparalleled capacity for…manipulation, and a drive for thrill seeking.” That Wall Street should harbor more than its share of psychopaths, then, will come as no shock to those frustrated by the entitlement and greed of the one percent. The study also shows how easily psychopaths can pass, however, blending into our lives as co-workers, friends and even romantic partners.

Who are the psychopaths in your life? Here are five important questions to ask, and the books to help you answer them.

Inhumane, or simply insane?
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Psychopaths pervade all social classes and environments, and everyone is likely to encounter one--usually with negative consequences--at some point in their life, explains psychologist Robert D. Hare, Ph.D., in his defining book, "Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of Psychopaths Among Us." Hare, a premier expert on psychopathy, profiles a wide cast of characters--murders, predators, con-artists, as well inconspicuous run-of-the-mill types--all united by a single chilling trait: their complete lack of conscience. He also probes questions like: Is psychopathy a product of nature or nurture? Is it treatable? And can we really blame psychopaths for their behavior if they technically suffer from a disorder?
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