book hack

The Psychopath Test

Jon Ronson

5 mins

3 key insights

Visual, audio & text

A relentlessly fascinating and entertaining narrative investigation into what makes a modern psychopath, presented as a comedic yarn by a gifted storyteller.

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The Psychopath Test

The Psychopath Test

by Jon Ronson

Overview

It's generally assumed that just under 1% of humans are psychopaths. But who decides which of us fall into that category? Are you a psychopath? Your uncle? That sadistic teacher you had at school? Jon Ronson is here to investigate.

Ronson is a journalist known for his entertaining non-fiction books like Adventures with Extremists and The Men Who Stare at Goats. In The Psychopath Test, the pathologically anxious author journeys into the world of psychopathy, prompted by the unexplained delivery of a mysterious book.

The book's title refers to the PCL-R, a test created by Canadian psychologist Bob Hare that uses a checklist of traits like impulsivity, juvenile delinquency, and lack of realistic long-term goals to define psychopathy. Armed with an open mind and a sense of humour, Ronson ponders how easily one can be mentally categorized.

Favorite quote

I thought about my own over-anxious brain, my own sort of madness. Was it a more powerful engine in my life than my rationality?

- Jon Ronson

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