Customer Reviews for

The Sociopath Next Door

Average Rating 4
( 193 )
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(90)

4 Star

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2 Star

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(16)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

33 out of 36 people found this review helpful.

this is a self-help book, not a diagnostic text book

I think this book is wonderful. Of course the intent is not to get people out there labeling, slandering, and harrassing people they think are sociopaths. That would be sociopathic, wouldn't it?! This book is not a sword, its' a shield! The idea is to understa...
I think this book is wonderful. Of course the intent is not to get people out there labeling, slandering, and harrassing people they think are sociopaths. That would be sociopathic, wouldn't it?! This book is not a sword, its' a shield! The idea is to understand what it means when someone behaves this way, and know that it's not you, you can't change it, you can't cure them, and what you see may not even be real. And that the only solution in dealing with someone who is seriously wronging you in the ways described, is to remove yourself from them, stay away from them, to preserve yourself. And that there's absolutely nothing wrong or selfish about keeping yourself safe. (Which is something many a sociopath will try to convince you of.) As far as the inclusion of political figure reference. I have NO clue whether she was referring to Bush or Clinton or neither. But the fact is, both have been accused of lying, and that is a hallmark of a sociopath. Does that mean everyone who lies is a sociopath? Of course not. Are Bush or Clinton sociopaths? Who knows. Maybe, maybe not. It's impossible to know the full social workings of a celebrity, because of the very nature of celebrity. (Personally I think they're both immoral baffoons, but that's neither here nor there for the topic.) I think it's like others have said, that the author was merely pointing out behaviours which can be signs of trouble. And how they can present themselves in all walks of life, at all levels. Again this book is not meant as a psychology text book or a diagnostic tool. It is good for one thing, and one thing only - understanding the nature of why some people might operate the way they do, and to pull the scales from the eyes of those of us who previously didn't know that sociopaths do not change, that their behaviour is inherent, and it's not our fault, and not our responsibility, and beyond our control. Thereby freeing us. I can say that I felt a great relief after reading this book. Not because disillusionment is pleasant. But because enlightenment is calming.

posted by Anonymous on August 21, 2007

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Most Helpful Critical Review

20 out of 22 people found this review helpful.

Soft Psychology in a New Age Package

I found this to be a highly readable study of a difficult subject-people without consciences-but in the end I was put off by its marshmallow spiritualism. Simply put, what does Buddhism and the Dalai Lama (however admirable) have to do with such an extreme condition as...
I found this to be a highly readable study of a difficult subject-people without consciences-but in the end I was put off by its marshmallow spiritualism. Simply put, what does Buddhism and the Dalai Lama (however admirable) have to do with such an extreme condition as psychopathy? I felt a little as if I was standing in the Born-Again choir watching damned souls writhe in Hell. Dr. Stout's advice-Stay away from those in such straits. Well, yeah. More troublesome was the post-mortem and from-a-distance typecasting of everyone from Genghiz Khan to Charlie Manson as pure psychopaths. The concept that, while nature may make some people hard, environment may make normal people just as bad, seems lost on the author. There are conditions in life, including narcissitic personality, the affective disorders, plus plain old self-centeredness, that create effects quite similar to psychopathy. This, along with the possibility that a weak conscience under extreme conditions might lead to no conscience, (sociopathy), is not explored. Overall, a disappointment. Read Dr. Hare's WITHOUT CONSCIENCE for more concrete insights into the subject. The ultimate fictional account of the condition, one of the scariest books ever written, is William March's BAD SEED. Go to your library for this one-it's out of print- or see the great movie with Pattie McCormick.

posted by Anonymous on January 8, 2006

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2006

    Good to know

    Excellent read for someone looking for a light, quick understanding of sociopaths. They are not all criminals, and specially not scary looking. Now I know to follow my instincts. I recently dealt with such a person, for a short time thank God, however it did leave me feeling very disappointed and pretty 'mad at the world'. I can only image what years of such a companionship must do to someone. The book offers 13 ways to deal with a sociopath, the number one gets you to win half of the battle. Good stuff to know.

    11 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2006

    very helpful info everyone should know about

    I found this book fascinating although it took me a while to get into it. This book is easily read and written for the average person. I recommend it and would make my friends and family aware. You never know when someone sociopathic will cross your path and you need to know how to defend yourself. My reason for reading it was purely self defense, but after I got halfway through, I found out I had dated at least one sociopath. Also my good friend recently ended a 7 year relationship with someone we can now see was a serious sociopath. He used all the tricks on her, extreme flattery, compulsive liar, unfaithful, history of sexual harrassment, really didn't bond with his children, took advantage of everyone, from family to business associates, yet sought pity from everyone, and had no friends. That relationship drained and devasted her and left her wondering how she could have been so blind. But all along she kept ignoring her instincts and giving him the benefit of doubt, the benefit of conscience. I am sending this book to her in the hopes she can see that it wasn't her 'fault', and no, she is not dumb by any means. She just trusted someone who didn't deserve it and who was a master manipulator.

    10 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 28, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Informative

    I enjoyed this book. I thought it was well-written, in simple language that anyone can understand. I liked the way the author wove her personal experiences into the factual information.

    I found the information both interesting and entertaining. Martha Stout gives us great insight into human nature.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 15, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    "The Sociopath Next Door"

    The information in this book is something I feel everyone should know about. I felt that it was not an easy read and a bit confusing at times. The book contains useful information about recognizing the sociopath in everyday society not just the serial killers on the news. You'll be shocked to find out that your idea of a sociopath might not be accurate. And even more shocked to find out that you actually have worked, lived with, or are related to a sociopath.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 9, 2013

    Big Help Identifying and Understanding Sociopaths

    Our daughter's counselor correctly identified our son-in-law as a Narcissistic Sociopath. This book was good for providing insights on the behavior patterns of sociopaths. I like the stories about different types of sociopaths. We were able to identify at least 5 out of 7 of the traits in him. It helps while working on getting her out of the abusive situation and on with her life. The statistics on how many in our society are sociopaths is startling. If you suspect someone (boss, boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife, suitor, etc.) then read this book. Best advice: if they are, get away from them fast!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2014

    I highly recommend this book, and the way that she touches base

    I highly recommend this book, and the way that she touches base with this personality disorder in the psycho-dynamic perspective is a lot 
    different but precise than what I have heard from reading about this mental illness from other psychologists. I also think that she does a good
    job explaining the other side of the coin, or the victimology perspective, and making that connection that from sociopathy leads into victimology,
    so what exactly are we to do? This is where you should read the book and find out!

    Though this is from the psycho-dynamic perspective, as well as a little bit of the cognitive-behavioral, I would have wanted to learn more about the neurological point of view and exactly what the inactivity of the left frontal regions of the brain really are.I would have liked to learn and understand better the differences of how someone who is just not nice or toxic compared to someone who really is a sociopath, and debunking a lot of the misconceptions, such as now a true sociopath never admits that they are one. 

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 10, 2014

    Intriguing!

    Strong insight to the why and how of sociopathy.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 25, 2013

    Definitely recommend. Helpful!

    Wow,this book brought my life to reality in print! Helped me understand what I went through and why. I had forgotten so much just so I could get through life and cope. It reminded me of why I cannot hate my mother,she wouldn't care anyway!
    It's very helpful now as we try to deal with an ex daughter in law who uses her children as tools, not her flesh and blood.
    Very eye opening, glad to have this book. I haven't finished it yet so I hope it continues to provide insight.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 24, 2013

    Interesting and creepy.

    I bought the hardcover rather than the Nook version, as it is on sale for less than $8 now. I wish it went a bit deeper at times, but it gives you an overview of sociopathy. It does not mention that there are some sociopaths who are not criminals and who try not to harm other people (read Confessions of a Sociopath for that), however. The author gives some good examples and a guide to identifying and protecting yourself against sociopaths.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 3, 2013

    Fascinating

    Good read though a little scary!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2013

    Parts of it were a little dry, but I liked the stories of sociop

    Parts of it were a little dry, but I liked the stories of sociopaths and the insight into their minds.

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  • Posted December 31, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    This book is both disturbing and enlightening. I think very few

    This book is both disturbing and enlightening. I think very few people actually understand what a sociopath is. It is spooky to contemplate that fact that there are a significant number of people in our society with no conscience whatsoever. It does, however; help you to understand the seemingly bizarre behavior we sometimes encounter. I think nearly anyone will find this book very interesting. There are a few places that it becomes a bit academic and dry, but the most part; it is filled with facts, examples, and stories that illustrate this strange reality of human psychology. Very educational and good information for people to be aware of.
    Michael Travis Jasper, author of the novel “To Be Chosen”

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  • Posted September 17, 2012

    A good read for the lay person

    The best thing about this book is that it is written for the everyday person and not for professionals. The study of sociopaths us given in real life vignettes followed by simple analyses. It is more entertaining than clinical.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 14, 2012

    Highly Informative - Worth the Read

    Absolutely essential reading for those who have encountered people in their lives who are, without mincing words, evil. These people are walking among us and and look like "normal" human beings, when, in fact, they are absolutely dangerous to our mental and physical health. Their brains are different and they do not think like the rest of us. This book is an easy and enjoyable read, with examples and explanations. It explains how these people think and how they use and manipulate people, so you can be aware and protect yourself from becoming one of their victims. You can use the knowledge in this book to increase your psychological arsenal against harmful people.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 25, 2012

    Easy read, chilling reality. I only wish there was a little more

    Easy read, chilling reality. I only wish there was a little more hard science or at least hard data (psychology is technically a soft science after all, and this book is written for the mass market. Although at times it reads a little more like a Reader's Digest extract than I would prefer, I would strongly recommend it to everyone.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 22, 2012

    Very interesting

    Very interesting and disturbing. Learned a lot from this book. Could be a little text-bookish at times. Should be a must-read for society.

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  • Posted March 14, 2012

    Highly recommended.

    I am just a lay person. I have no psychiatric, psychological, or social work experience what so ever, but the book did help me confirm that some people have what I call "perceptional deficits" or "blind-spots" that they will never realize that they have. It also helped me understand that sociopaths might have an "itch" that can never be scratched and that they will incessantly use people to temporarily satisfy their needs. I would recommend reading the book if only to gain a better understanding of people who your gut tells you that something is wrong. From my point of view, this book can provide a perspective, but it is not a means to arrive at a definitive opinion about someone's character. Leave that to a professional, it would take a long time, a knowledge of symptoms, and a deep understanding of a person's actions to arrive at a conclusion.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2012

    Enjoyable

    Fascinating and scary topic

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  • Posted September 22, 2011

    A MUST READ

    I read this book wanting to know more about what a sociopath does and is. Very well written and what I found out was that I had been dealing with a "text book" sociopath. Now, everytime this person tries to communicate with me, I can easily see the manipulations and the "game". Her advice is great, ignore and stay way far away. A must read for anyone that suspects a sociopath has entered their life.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 12, 2011

    A Real Eye-Opener

    Initially, I read this book out of curiosity: The description of Doreen Littlefield sounded very much like a friend's disastrous first spouse. However, I learned some things about MY OWN life! "Poor Luke" was almost a carbon copy of a former neighbor of ours who was generally thought of as a nice guy. Fortunately, he has moved away. More chillingly, I recognized many of these sociopathic traits in a woman that I once considered to be one of my best friends. I would have described her as "complicated" But, until reading Dr. Stout's book, I never dreamed that she might not have a conscience. My husband and other friends have expressed concern for my well-being; even without meeting her they could tell something was wrong. Actually, I've felt guilty about wanting to cut this non-friend out of my life until this author explained it to me. Although it's a little deflating to realize that your BFF is not a friend at all, it's also kind of a relief...I'm not disloyal or crazy. This problem has a name (sociopathy) and there's something I can do about it (get the heck away from her)! Of course, there is no blood test or anything for a sociopath, but if someone close to you is sending out red flags, it's important to listen to your instincts. Your intuition is telling you that this person is NOT safe to be around!

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