The Wisdom of Psychopaths

  • by Kevin Dutton
  • Narrated by Erik Bergmann
  • 8 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In this engrossing journey into the lives of psychopaths and their infamously crafty behaviors, the renowned psychologist Kevin Dutton reveals that there is a scale of “madness” along which we all sit. Incorporating the latest advances in brain scanning and neuroscience, Dutton demonstrates that the brilliant neurosurgeon who lacks empathy has more in common with a Ted Bundy who kills for pleasure than we may wish to admit, and that a mugger in a dimly lit parking lot may well, in fact, have the same nerveless poise as a titan of industry.
Dutton argues that there are indeed “functional psychopaths” among us different from their murderous counterparts - who use their detached, unflinching, and charismatic personalities to succeed in mainstream society, and that shockingly, in some fields, the more “psychopathic” people are, the more likely they are to succeed. Dutton deconstructs this often misunderstood diagnosis through bold on-the-ground reporting and original scientific research as he mingles with the criminally insane in a high-security ward, shares a drink with one of the world’s most successful con artists, and undergoes transcranial magnetic stimulation to discover firsthand exactly how it feels to see through the eyes of a psychopath. As Dutton develops his theory that we all possess psychopathic tendencies, he puts forward the argument that society as a whole is more psychopathic than ever: after all, psychopaths tend to be fearless, confident, charming, ruthless, and focused - qualities that are tailor-made for success in the 21st century. Provocative at every turn, The Wisdom of Psychopaths is a riveting adventure that reveals that it’s our much-maligned dark side that often conceals the trump cards of success.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

The Monk or Serial Killer Next Door

Kevin Dutton (Split-Second Persuasion: The Ancient Art and New Science of Changing Minds; Why the Science and Religion Dialogue Matters) has just published a very informative volume titled The Wisdom of Psychopaths: What Saints, Spies, and Serial Killers Can Teach Us about Success. In this very interesting book, Dutton provides a more contemporary, nuanced view of psychopathy. He reveals it as a continuum of context driven behaviors (Ruthlessness, Charm, Focus, Mental Toughness, Fearlessness, Mindfulness, and Action) that can be turned up and down at will. He shows how psychopathic behaviors are characteristic of the saint and sinner, monks and serial killers alike. This book helped me to better understand why psychopaths are able to function ably in the work environment and find success. Certainly, it has brought psychopathic behavior into clearer focus for me. A wonderfully absorbing, engaging approachable work of prose, Dutton’s most recent book is well worth reading.
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- Lynn

cobras don't get anxious or depressed

? is our world just full of anxious depressed people
? are there some among us who avoid these pitfalls
? what would it be like to be hard wired against those problems

dr. kevin dutton has written a snappy book to look into that
in chapter after chapter he jets off to speak with "world experts"
he's on a very public mission to redefine the term psychopath

as you might expect he sees it as "a spectrum disorder"
( i suspect he's borrowing a tool from the autism/asperger's people )
he then demonstrates possible positive aspects of the condition

the most interesting of the "experts" are the ones that disagree with him
robert hare and steven pinker may be more insightful than the author
they seem to have a thoughtful wisdom that dr. dutton has yet to acquire

in one chapter they talk about the character of men that abuse women
they are carefully divided into cobras (psychopath) and pit bulls (anti-social)
it is a very insightful and perceptive way to look at the problem

psychopaths,as defined by dr. dutton, have been with us forever
education and IQ and family support separate the murderers from the CEOs
if you work with successful driven people you've met them many times

dr. dutton now has several videos all over you tube these days
his haircut and verbal cadence betray a subtle psychopathic style
? well could it be that it takes one to know one / perhaps

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- Raleigh

Book Details

  • Release Date: 11-01-2012
  • Publisher: Macmillan Audio