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The Sociopath Next Door

The Ruthless Versus the Rest of Us

by Martha Stout

The Sociopath Next Door by Martha Stout X
The Sociopath Next Door by Martha Stout
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  • First Published:
    Feb 2005, 256 pages
    Mar 2006, 256 pages

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There are currently 42 reader reviews for The Sociopath Next Door
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Martine (08/10/16)

Does this author have a conscience?
Despite being a fun and lively read I found this book to be a complete turn off. The author seems intent on convincing sane people of an insane premise. That there is a lurking danger from people with normal conscience. It doesn't take long to figure out that instead of any hard data, the writer uses her imagination, and made up people to illustrate her point. Can a sane human being really believe that there is some poll to discover how many people have a conscience? You can't measure something like that in any way. What kind of study would do that? It is like a study designed to measure how many people have a soul; Absurd. " Do you feel bad when you do bad things check yes, or no" . . . The study that she quotes, which is from 1988, does not seem to exist. At least I couldn't find it. Even if I had, I wouldn't have put any stock in it. But even if I had, any grown up will tell you that a conscience doesn't stop anyone from doing anything. All it does is make them feel bad afterwards. Some of the most emotional people are some of the worst out there. The fact is that out of hand emotions like jealousy, rage, love, and sadness account for a heck of a lot of violence. The author sort of glibly passes over this point. In her mind all of the people that give us trouble are sociopaths. Well, not real ones. She doesn't actually point out a single actual known sociopath, they are just people she makes up for the book. The upshot is this; That mean old man that throws stones at your dog; He is not just old, bitter, lonely, and crochetty. He is a SOCIOPATH!!! Your ex who cheated on you is not just weak willed, and not ready to commit. Yep. You got it; He is a sociopath. That kid who bullies your daughter; He is not just a little snot who is immature, and seeking attention from other kids; That's right, folks; Sociopath. Who buys into such rubbish?
Dorothy Knable (11/04/14)

Great analysis!
Amazing analysis of a personality we encounter too often. It should help people dealing with a mysteriously unmanageable relationship or wondering why she cannot get ahead when a certain “off” though charming, person has anything to do with her. I loved the true stories. It rings true from: my experience of the world of 66 years and experience before my masters degree in a social service, a psych-tech job I held for a couple years. Kudos!
Audrey (12/27/12)

The Sociopath Next Door
My major problem with this book is that the writer claims that (1 in 25 ) or 4 percent of the population are sociopaths. This simply is not true. The correct stats are as follows: 2 percent of the population displays antisocial behaviour & of that 2.5 percent are sociopaths. So right off the top this book is creating a very false picture of the realty of the situation. Also, I found it odd that after 25 years of practice the writer presented only 3 profiles in this very thin volume.
J. Dunlap (03/21/12)

She Lives Next Door to Me
I live next door to a Sociopath. I have know she was one for years so I stayed away from her. I bought this book to be sure I wasn't judging my neighbor wrongly. This book is wonderful! It proved that the Sociopath next door to me is a pure Sociopath. Thank you!
Mariah Haley (12/12/11)

Really interesting to read! Enjoyed it and the mini scenarios were helpful :)
Jeannie (12/03/11)

A must read for all
I, too, was in a marriage for over 25 years with a "sociopath next door." I have a psychology background. Yet I would never think my husband was a sociopath because he wasn't mass killing people like Ted Bundy. He had a very high position in government, where his command was done without question. He also has other mental issues, including extreme ADHD, porn/sex addiction, and hoarding. Yet there was a coldness about him which wasn't explained. In the last years of our marriage as he became more mentally erratic, I started to secretly closely watch all of his behavior. I was shocked by what I found. This was the man I was living with? What I found was a Dr. Jeykll/Mr. Hyde personality. When confronted with some of the stealing behavior, he coolly denied it without blinking an eye, even when presented with evidence. I knew then, this wasn't the first time he lied. He was a master at it. Still, I didn't peg him for a sociopath, even though he passed the online test with flying colors. After all, he didn't hit me. He did charitable things for others. (It helped his career.) It wasn't until I read this book (twice) that things finally sunk in. I'm sure if they did a brain test, they would find his brain doesn't fire like others. This book has helped the healing and understanding process, although it is still difficult to understand how a human being can act as the sociopaths do. I agree that all law enforcement and those in the courts should read this.
Notloh (11/09/11)

Read this book!!!!
This book seems to be written out of a sincere wish to warn the world about the human predators among us. While it is true that some things are repeated that seems to me to be done in order to hammer the point home rather than to fill up space/pages. The author is also up front about the fact that it is almost impossible to spot a psychopath even though the title of the book suggest otherwise. The book is actually meant (I believe) to help people who suspect or know that they are victims of this kind of person to come to terms with it and save themselves. This may not be scholarly but it will save many abused people, I´m sure.
The book itself is quite well written and gets the point across in an easy to follow manner. Not because it is dumbed down but because the author writes clearly and with a certain purpose in mind.
I can see by the reviews here that this book has scared the psychopaths and this, to me, greatly recommends this book.
I want to say on slightly off topic thing before I leave. It is well known that abusive husbands/boyfriends will blame the couples problems on their spouse/girlfriend and accuse her of the very behavior he is guilty of. This often works and nets him all the support and pity that should go to his victim. These men are probably psychopaths.
Lissa (10/21/11)

Junk psychology for the uneducated
This is typical junk psychology. The author makes the same point again and again, citing different anecdotes from chapter to chapter. She attempts to elevate the fear factor and reader's interest by dramatizing the term "sociopath." The effect is to turn her readers into quasi-paranoid individuals looking for reasons to label others around them as genuinely evil. Read with caution.

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