I think I must be a bit of a weirdo in that I quite like learning about anomalies and different sorts of things. Obviously being a sociopath is not normal and it’s outside my realm of experience, thus I find it fascinating as a topic. After a pretty big tragedy struck (not me personally), I found myself wanting answers and wondering how a person could do something like that. And so, I plunked down a $10 gift card and $0.91 to purchase The Sociopath Next Door by Martha Stout on Audible in hopes of gaining an understanding of how people who do not possess a conscience think and also function. Thankfully, The Sociopath Next Door reminded me exactly why I delve into non-fiction quite often.
So, basically The Sociopath Next Door is all about how 1 in 25 people are sociopaths. It shows that not all sociopaths are criminals nor do they all engage in murderous rampages. However, people who have sociopathy do not think like I do. They don’t have that whole guilty conscience thing. Stout chose to focus the book on every day behavior, which to be honest, I liked because then I didn’t get nightmares — I am prone to them when reading about real life terrifying things. ALSO at the end she delves into how to protect yourself from being manipulated by a sociopath with a set of rules to live by. It’s helpful, I guess. I don’t know if I actually know any sociopaths though.
I actually quite enjoyed the way that The Sociopath Next Door was written. It’s on a level that I understand. You see, I took one psychology class in college (aside from educational psychology but that’s another can of worms) and was like ‘this is not nearly as awesome as I had hoped’, thus if there was nothing but jargon I would not have understood a single word. Instead, I was easily able to follow along with Stout and her conclusions. Plus, she makes it interesting by putting in stories about her clients and the sociopaths who victimized them. The sociopaths range from a powerful business man, a principal, and an elderly woman among others. OH OH and she puts in this really great example at the beginning about this guy who has to fly out for a meeting, then heads back to his house to feed his dog, and explores every angle with us readers to decide whether the guy is doing this out of intrinsic self-motivation and driven by a conscience, or doing it out of extrinsic motivation and what others might think. And she relates that whole scenario to factors that determine whether the guy is a sociopath or not. Either way, being a total weirdo nerd, I found the whole thing fascinating and felt as though I learned something by the end — well until I saw that some people cast a bit of doubt on Stout’s findings. Alas, I am not a psychology major so I can’t tell you anything about the validity of Stout’s book.
Of course, I listened to the audiobook because these days that is exactly how I read all my non-fiction. The Sociopath Next Door is narrated by Shelly Frasier. This was my first audio narrated by Frasier and it certainly won’t be the last. She has impressive enunciation. She has a clear voice that’s not unpleasing. Plus, she sounds intelligent while she’s narrating, which is an important quality to me when it comes to non-fiction audiobooks. The Sociopath Next Door is 7 hours and 26 minutes unabridged. It’s produced by Tantor Audio. There weren’t any weird breathing or mouth noises thank goodness, and I was actually impressed with the production quality of this book. I’d definitely recommend this short listen if you want to broaden your horizons and learn something.
Disclosure: Purchased on Audible with one of those here’s $10 for being kickass gift certificates.
Other reviews of The Sociopath Next Door by Martha Stout:
I can’t find any by like actual book bloggers, so if you review this, leave your link in the comments and I will be certain to add it.