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As far as just the facts ma'am...Navarro does a good job giving a detailed, no frills outline of psychopathy. It reminded me a little of watching one of those films in high school where everything is boiled down to rudimentary facts..."if a, b, c, d are present then you may be dealing with a psychopath. You're life is in danger. Get help immediately..." He knows his material and presents it in an easy to understand format for any level of reader, though a bit bland and blunt, very textbook.
Navarro gives a criteria checklist at the end of each chapter, containing over 100 items; when you're done tallying your own score, or your neighbor's and friends, you are convinced you are all psychopaths -- a problem inherent in these armchair psychology books. But before you schedule analysis, or turn your neighbors into the FBI, consider what Professor Robert D. Hare has to say. Hare is the criminal psychologist responsible for the Hare Psychopathy Checklist-Revised which has been adopted worldwide. Hare's assessment tool, in contrast, uses a list of 20 criteria:
"On average, someone with no criminal convictions scores 5. It’s dimensional" says Hare. “There are people who are part-way up the scale, high enough to warrant an assessment for psychopathy, but not high enough up to cause problems...“psycho-pathy”, the diagnosis, bleeds into normalcy."
If you are seriously interested in this subject, I highly recommend Hare's book Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths. I sat in on several of his presentations while I was working in the field, and he was always fascinating. Navarro refers to Hare and the PCL-R often in this book.
Navarro is precise and accurate, narrates the book clearly, and his professional record clearly gives him authority in this field. He also responsibly advises readers with concerns to get professional advice. While he drops a few names that we all relate to heinous crimes, (Ted Bundy, Henry Lee Lucas, Jerry Sandusky, John Wayne Gacy) I felt he missed the chance to tie in the predators with their profiles which would have more narrowly defined the many traits on his lists. His professional/cautionary approach make this book read more like an informative report than the really chilling and interesting read it could have been.
50 of 56 people found this review helpful
Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?
I would recommend the book to anyone interested in being informed about the characteristics of dangerous people. A written copy of this book could be advantageous, however. Each chapter is summed up with a list of over 100 characteristics of each dangerous personality type, followed by an equally long test intended to help identify if a person is dangerous. If you want to tally results, that is difficult to do using an audiobook. If you simply want to hear the information, this audiobook is well done. After listening to this book, I have requested a library print copy in order to do the tests.
What was one of the most memorable moments of Dangerous Personalities?
This is not a work of fiction, so I can't specify a memorable moment, but the summation of the book which lists ways to protect oneself from possible harm is a good wrap up. I agree with the quote from Louis Pasteur that Navarro offers: "Chance favors the prepared mind."
Which scene was your favorite?
This question is not applicable to a work of non-fiction.
What did you learn from Dangerous Personalities that you would use in your daily life?
Many of the safeguards against dangerous personalities are common sense things we learned as children, such as not getting into a stranger's car, but there are other cautions that had not occurred to me. What impressed me the most was Joe Navarro's consistent and repeated warning that dangerous people do not change but normally escalate their behaviors and that getting away from them and detaching are the best options. He gives ideas for how to do that. As an FBI profiler who interacts with these individuals, he has the knowledge to back up his advice.
Any additional comments?
This is not a psychological report but a lay person's tool for understanding how to assure protection for harmful people. As Navarro states: For our purposes, iIt is not necessary to understand WHY someone is dangerous or how he became dangerous, but only to recognize the danger and exercise self-protection.
10 of 12 people found this review helpful