• The Psychopath Test

  • By: Jon Ronson
  • Narrated by: Jon Ronson
  • Length: 7 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Release date: 06-03-11
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Macmillan Digital Audio
  • 4.4 (231 ratings)

Regular price: $15.91

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Publisher's Summary

This is a story about madness. It all starts when journalist Jon Ronson is contacted by a leading neurologist. She and several colleagues have recently received a cryptically puzzling book in the mail, and Jon is challenged to solve the mystery behind it. As he searches for the answer, Jon soon finds himself, unexpectedly, on an utterly compelling and often unbelievable adventure into the world of madness.
Jon meets a Broadmoor inmate who swears he faked a mental disorder to get a lighter sentence but is now stuck there, with nobody believing he’s sane. He meets some of the people who catalogue mental illness, and those who vehemently oppose them. He meets the influential psychologist who developed the industry standard Psychopath Test and who is convinced that many important CEOs and politicians are in fact psychopaths.
Jon learns from him how to ferret out these high-flying psychopaths and, armed with his new psychopath-spotting abilities, heads into the corridors of power...Combining Jon’s trademark humour, charm and investigative incision, The Psychopath Test is a deeply honest book unearthing dangerous truths and asking serious questions about how we define normality in a world where we are increasingly judged by our maddest edges.
©2011 Jon Ronson (P)2011 Macmillan Digital Audio
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Erin on 02-15-13

Couldn't stop listening!

Ronson has a very unique speaking style and I was absolutely transfixed by it! He has an ability to make serious, frightening and sometimes disturbing topics somehow hilarious. At times I was surprised to find myself so amused and entertained by a book about psychopathic behaviour. As some others have mentioned, this book is not a serious review of the "Madness Industry" but instead a collection of fascinating interviews and bizarre stories that the author discovers along his journey. The way Ronson describes himself as a bit quirky, introverted and anxiety-prone makes him seem like an unlikely interviewer for his many subjects, which I think makes his encounters with these individuals all the more entertaining! A really great listen. I plan to listen to more books written and/or narrated by Ronson!

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

By Peter on 03-26-13

i failed.. twas a relief

i do not envy poor Ronson for having to spend so much time with some of these people.. however i am glad that he endured.. to bring such a wonderful insight into the thoughts socio-elite.. they lurk around every corner.. hide in all the crevices.. or just stand there.. out in the open.. saying "hey,look at me".. but seriously.. fascinating stuff

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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By Graeme on 08-30-11

It is indeed utterly compelling.

The blurb for this book says it is "utterly compelling". Those were precisely the words I wanted to use to describe this book, so I've rather had the wind taken out of my sails.

I found this book especially interesting as I and family members have experienced mental illness. I was dumbfounded by the story of how the third edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of mental health problems was put together. However, that's by no means to say that personal mental misfortune is necessary to be fascinated by The Psychopath Test.

Ronson makes the process of journalism rather more transparent than other writers and his thoughts and feelings are often to the fore. His journeys to meet people are described and his thought processes are laid out as he interviews them. I find that interesting as someone who occasionally harbours journalistic pretensions, but I think anyone would enjoy getting some insight into how journalism is carried out.

If you're already a fan of Jon Ronson then I think you will be delighted by this. I would warn that it is a fair bit darker than his other books. You may guess that to be probable from the subject matter. There's fewer quips. But it is as interesting as his other work.

If you're new to Ronson I'd probably recommend "Them: Adventures With Extremists" though I don't know if that comes in an audio version. But if you're curious about this book in particular for any reason then please do make the leap and get downloading. You won't regret it.

In the book you are given a widely used checklist of traits that are thought to be part of a psychopaths make-up. One thing that you'll almost certainly find yourself doing is asking yourself: "do I know any psychopaths?" I am pleased to say I don't think I do. But with 1% of people thought to be psychopaths (rising to 3-4% as you reach the higher echelons of income and status) you may well find that you do.

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6 of 6 people found this review helpful

By Rob on 06-23-11

Deft storytelling, good observations

I've long been a fan of Ronson's work. He's a rare breed of journalist these days - one who will spend years researching a topic - and this commitment shows. The Psychopath Test is about his investigations into what a psychopath is and how psychopaths have been perceived. Characteristically, the investigation leads Ronson to question his own behaviour as an investigator and the integrity of journalism in general. It's a thoughtful and humane book.

My only criticism is that Ronson repeats some points several times throughout the book. My suspicion is that this might have been more necessary in print than it is in audio. It's mildly annoying in an audiobook, but hardly a dealbreaker.

Ronson isn't an actor and this is evident from his reading. I think this adds to the charm of the book: its nice to hear him describe his own anxieties in his own slightly anxious voice. That's what the book's about, after all.

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6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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By C.J.R Flanagan on 02-03-14

Could easily have been condensed.

I found The Psychopath Test to be fairly entertaining and informative. I'd suggest to any potential reader that it would be well worth reading Dr Robert Hare's "Without Conscience" (also available on Audible) before or along with TPT. Ronson regularly references Dr hare's work regarding the study of Psychopathy.

The Psychopath test is filled with plenty of interesting stories which serve well to get the information across without presenting it in a dry or boring manner. I found it to be particularly informative in regards to the process used to identify the various forms of mental disorders over the last few decades, and the impact this has had on the medical and pharmaceutical industry. I believe most readers will find this aspect to be quite interesting.

I definitely found that the book inspired curiosity and raised many questions in areas which I had not expected to be considering when I started reading the book. This is a definite positive.

I did find Ronson's narration to be rather bland and slightly tiresome, and found my attention waning and wandering on a number of occasions throughout the book as a result. A number of times I also often found myself questioning where a story or recounting of events was headed, and what relevance it had to the overall topic. This often gave parts of the book a 'padded out' kind of feeling. I think TPT could have been condensed somewhat and that a few of the stories could have been culled in order to change the pace of the book for the better.

I enjoyed The Psychopath Test for the information it contained and the questions it raises within the reader on a number of topics. However I would not recommend a potential listener to do so while driving, especially on a long trip.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

By Bec Booton on 11-10-15


Any additional comments?

Can’t speak highly enough about this book. This was the first book by Jon Ronson that I listened to and still definitely my favourite. It’s non-fiction, but reads sort of as though it’s fiction. Amazing. 5 stars!

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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