Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Books! The Psychopath Test

I saw Jon Ronson interviewed on The Jon Stewart show, plugging this book, and immediately ordered it on my Kindle. It's a fantastic read, that begins with an international mystery, sails down the river of psychopathy, examines the murky waters of the profitability of mental illness for drug companies and the medical profession, and then brings us right back to the port where we started.

Enough of the sailing metaphors. If you are interested in psychology, crime or good nonfiction writing, this is a fab little book. I originally purchased it because Ronson was so personable on television while discussing it, and his writing style is just as conversational, charming and readable as he was during his interview, even when he discusses psychological diagnoses and the science behind them. The author as quirky, obsessive narrator carries the story.

He examines how psychopathic personalities affect our entire culture, not only in terms of crime, but in terms of politics and economics. Genius stuff. Psychopaths are often the ones in charge of closing manufacturing plants, forming public policy, and starting fatwas. There's more to the diagnosis than Ted Bundy. And can the diagnosis itself be trusted?

A good beach book, if you're a nerd girl like I am! And you live in Ohio, where there are no beaches.

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