Reader reviews and comments on The Sociopath Next Door, plus links to write your own review.

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The Sociopath Next Door

The Ruthless Versus the Rest of Us

by Martha Stout

The Sociopath Next Door
  • Critics' Opinion:

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  • First Published:
    Feb 2005, 256 pages
    Paperback:
    Mar 2006, 256 pages

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There are currently 41 reader reviews for The Sociopath Next Door
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Mary (05/14/08)

At last I know
For years I have been trying to get someone to help me understand what I was dealing with in my own daughter.

Her awards, in High School and College were truly spectacular. She held a wonderful position after college. She married a man who seemed to be a really quality guy.

They are now divorced (I can't imagine what life was like when they were together, because I think he may have been, in a different way, of the same type.) I only stay in contact with them because of the precious children who have no recourse or protection.

At last this book told me what no one else had been able to explain. I kept feeling guilty for the way she was. Stout helped me be free from that guilt and gave me some practical strategies for dealing with her.

Honestly, I got so much out of this book, but I found the application to political systems rather a stretch and pretty boring--a sidetrack in an otherwise excellent book. I would suggest that Stout make that another book. As much as I could, I skipped over those parts.

I am so thankful for this book! At last, all the puzzle pieces of years are fitting together. Stout is very wise to suggest that we not try to convince others of what we now know. They won't believe it.

The best thing you can do is stay as far away as you are able to and protect yourself!
Therapist in Dallas-Fort Worth (05/06/08)

A Must-Read
As a mental health therapist, I have referred this book to both colleagues and clients. "Information is power" that empowers us to make healthier decisions in our lives, and the author provides readers with that kind of information.
James Williams (04/28/08)

The Sociopath Next Door
This book is a good read that will clearly define a sociopath. It is also has the kind of characteristic that wont let you put down the book.
HT Springer (01/09/08)

well worth reading
I found the book very insightful. However, I disagree with Dr. Stout's "black and white" characterization of sociopathy. She implies that 4% have no conscience whatsoever, whereas 96% have a "normal" conscience. I don't believe that this reflects reality. I think to categorize someone as having absolutely no conscience is not only inaccurate, it suggests that they are hopeless and should be "written off". The fact is, we don't even know what a conscience is, and we certainly can't prove that a significant segment of the population has absolutely no conscience.
I'm not arguing with the basic concepts of the book... I just think that it's extremely inaccurate to paint a picture that these people are all equally ice cold and hopeless.
Douglas P. McManaman (12/08/07)

Philosophically Weak
Martha Stout's book The Sociopath Next Door is a good book from a number of angles. The examples and stories she provides in the book are illuminating, and she understands well the characteristic features of the sociopathic personality. Unfortunately, she entertains questions that are specifically philosophical, i.e., the nature of conscience and the causes of sociopathy, and it is clear that she is not a trained philosopher. She seems to give evidence of a reductionist or determinist habitus, and the quality of the discussion in these areas drops considerably. She would be wise to consider the insights of forensic psychologist Dr. Stanton Samenow, in particular the primacy of thinking over feeling. In short, she confuses conscience with emotion--for as the word indicates, con 'science' is a kind of knowing, a judgment or act of the intellect. Human emotion is intimately tied up in thinking. Stout makes a mess of this and thus fails to fully appreciate self-determination, as is typical among psychologists today. Nonetheless, the book is worth reading, since most people are still woefully ignorant of the nature of evil.
martha (03/18/07)

Excellent!
I am the same Martha that wrote the review below and I just wanted to say to "wife # 4", that you are not crazy! I went thru the same thing with the court system. They told me that I was just saying that he beat me up so that I could "win" the divorce. I too kept telling them that all I wanted to do was protect my children. It has been 8 years since the final divorce and now he is trying to hold a pity party in the court room by claiming that he is physically disabled and can not work so therefore, he can't pay child support. He can not get a medical doctor to back up his claims. He is so behind in child support payments he is now in contempt of court. I may finally be able to get the law to do something about him this time.

It helps to know you are not alone. Good Luck to you and everyone else out there going thru this nightmare.
Starr (03/01/07)

SOME BOOK
This is one of the best books I have ever read. It is definitely my passion to read about these things but this one takes the cake!! Every time I read anything inside the book it reminds me of my past too. I dated a man in 1996 and 1997 who I know now was a sociopath. He was possessive and firmly stole from people and drained all of my money out of me. He cheated, previously then was on probation in and out of prison. He did everything to impress people and was charming and smiling all the time until people got wise to his tricks and/or mood changes into short rages.. then once they knew.. he would tell them to **** and he would split to a new place to start a new life. He could never fool people long enough before he had to leave and move on again after his rages. He cheated on any woman he was with. It did not matter whether she was beautiful or loved him.. he did not love back. It is so clear now as to how it was. I am so impressed with this book. If only this was out years before. Martha it is EXCELLANT!!
Sara (02/25/07)

Disappointing
This book is packaged as a self help book from a psychologist who says she wants to help people identify dangerous influences that can ruin their lives. Sounds like a very noble thing until you start reading and discover it contains blatant political opinions, and quite extreme ones at that. Very disappointing book. It should be labeled as the political opinion piece it is.
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