Book Review Essay

1554 Words Apr 4th, 2013 7 Pages
The Sociopath Next Door
Author: Martha Stout

Book Review
By: Nicole Hanks
April 8, 2013

“1 in 25 ordinary Americans secretly has no conscience and can do anything at all without feeling guilty. Who is the devil you know?”
“A chilling accurate portrayal of evil—the decent person’s guide to indecency.” Jonathan Kellerman

If a sociopath lives next door, don't go over for coffee. In fact, don't admit to them that you drink coffee, don't talk to them, and for the love of all that's holy, don't ever ask if you can borrow a cup of sugar. Not even if you're baking a cake that is guaranteed to find you true love, a promotion, and give you the winning lotto numbers. Do not make nice with a sociopath. Or so you'll think after reading Martha
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According to Dr. Stout, who is backed up by quite a bit of research, sociopaths make up about 4% of the population. My math skills suggest that if you're with twenty-four other people, statistically, one of you would be a sociopath. Maybe more, depending on who your friends are. Dr. Stout gives some interesting examples of sociopaths and how destructive they can be. The sociopath doesn't necessarily become a world leader or an evil CEO. Dr. Stout argues that they can easily be a parent exerting influence over children, a noisy neighbor, or really anybody who seeks to wreak some havoc on other people's lives.
They seem to be bored a lot, which probably explains why they're so intent on making other people miserable. The drama that's created by a sociopath trying to take over the condominium or on the more extreme level, hurt or maim, seems to keep them entertained. Dr. Stout remarks that sociopaths have a curious charm about them, and a spontaneity that makes them interesting, saying that "someone who is unfettered by conscience can easily make us feel that our lives are tediously rule-bound and lackluster," and that joining them makes up for our dull existence. Not all sociopaths are criminals, but all of them are lacking that conscience that keeps actions and behaviors more or less in check by an underlying compassion for others or simple guilt. The sociopath can be

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