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Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us

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Sort by: Showing all of 16 review with 5 star rating   See All Ratings
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  • Posted October 18, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Mad or Bad -- Still no final answers

    Excellent review of research and various models of psychopathy, both past and present. Extensive discussion of terminology and definitions, which is very important, since 99% of the time the term "psychopath" is used the wrong way, and likewise a large percentage of psychopaths are never described that way, either through poor (or lack of) diagnosis or through misunderstanding or hesitation (including on the part of professionals). Especially chilling -- descriptions of child psychopaths. This is something that begins much earlier than people think, which makes it even more mysterious. Then we get into questions of good vs. evil. Psychopaths are not "crazy" in the usual sense; in fact they may be quite resourceful and productive -- "highly functioning" in fact. But there is something missing -- a conscience, empathy, caring, concern... and so the question becomes, are they crazy in a different way, or just plain bad, i.e. evil? Or are they more like a different species -- an alien life form? Did they at some point make a conscious decision to be, or become, the way they are? (The strong implication is no.) So they are, in a sense, seriously damaged human beings who don't know that they are damaged, and think other people are, basically, chumps and deserving victims. Then the question becomes, how to avoid getting tangled up with and victimized by them -- and many useful suggestions and observations are offered. But it's also acknowledged that psychopaths can have a mesmerizing effect on others, especially on people with low ego strength and self esteem -- so they are most likely to become victims. There is also discussion, in general terms, of the cost to society of having these individuals in our midst -- a cost that could be reduced, but seems unavoidable. The bottom line on psychopaths seems to be that they are like mad dogs -- it may not be their "fault" that they're the way they are, but they have to be dealt with somehow, and denial and avoidance of the issue on the part of society just aggravates the problem.

    In reading this I could not help but think of numerous encounters I've had over the years with people who appeared to be psychopaths or who certainly had psychopathic tendencies. And as the author points out, they can be highly amusing, entertaining, fascinating, and so on. There is something strangely attractive in their ability to remain unmoved by normal human concerns -- a kind of strange aloofness or perfection. But after the encounter you wind up feeling somewhat used, as if you've lost something. But the psychopath just goes on his (or her) merry way, without a care in the world. Sound familiar? I think we've all run into people like this -- or read about them in the paper, or seen them on TV. And they really are just about everywhere, in all walks of life, which is even scarier.

    15 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 30, 2014

    I Also Recommend:

    Empty, pathetic and destructive, they run the gamut from the emo

    Empty, pathetic and destructive, they run the gamut from the emotionally frozen, disengaged, cruel parent to the serial killer -- all marked by one thing, their inability to relate sympathetically to others.  As Hare suggests, it is dangerous to label individuals without proper clinical research including intense interviews and applying the "Psychopathic Checklist" before a likely diagnosis can be made. However recent research has shown that there are literally millions of psychopaths in jail, mental institutions or simply walking the streets. They can be in your work places, a problem child or sharing your bed. It's a frightening thought, and this book has been written to outline the essential characteristics of the psychopath and a general "survival guide" to help us recognize and prevent the majority of harm to oneself and our loved ones.  This book will put you on the right path. Always remember 1 out of every 25 people have this mental disorder, so your chances of meeting or already knowing one are very high. Take precautions now before it's too late.   

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    THE landmark work on those without conscience!

    This book is definitely the place to start in your study of psychopathy. Many other works give further examples of what this author has outlined, but his work is by far the best. His book is cited EVERYWHERE this topic is mentioned, and for good reason--it's the classic. It's sad but true, but all the "normal" people in the world need to understand the psychopaths, in order to avoid falling prey to them.

    8 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2007

    Alarmingly Enjoyable

    While trying to learn about controlling parents who use children as pawns and lie and hurt people without remorse, I stumbled across this book. It is unbelievably educational. While I refuse to use it as a diagnosing tool 'since I am a lay person' I have shared the book and highlighted many pertinent facts that might actually help a family in need. The saddest fact that it reiterates is that psychopaths/sociopaths seem to be incurable and no treatment exists for the adults or their innocent child'ren' victims. This is a MUST read if you just want to understand the mind of a person who is so cleverishly disquised as somewhat of a kind person but has the cloak and daggar of a reprehensible one in their soul. I think all family doctors, lawyers and judges NEED to read this book so maybe they can recognize these types of people and suggest pschological testing before it affects the well-being of the children. Too many parents are getting away with creating horror in the lives of others IN FRONT of their OWN children, thus being and unconscionable role-model.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 22, 2006

    You might just be dating a pyschopath

    The book is excellent. Very well written. I'm not much of a reader, but I would actually fall asleep at night reading this book. Hare goes into great description of the world of a pyscopath and provides great examples. If you have children dating / marriage age - definetly read this!!! It's scarey to think you have been involved with one.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2004

    Extremely lucid, expertly written!

    I have read books left and right by former FBI profilers such as John Douglas, Robert Ressler, Roy Hazelwood, Russ Vorpagel and others in an attempt to understand the psychopath. Nothing brings it home like this book! It proves that being a psychopath and being a serial criminal are not necessarily one and the same although the seeds are there. The very words of the individuals interviewed in this book are very telling. I would highly recommend this to anyone wishing to understand the psychopath. It practically concludes that the human psyche is extremely predictable at the level of these disturbed beings. The good in people comes in all forms. But the warped mind can be pathetically too predictable! That's why I'd tremble if I had an FBI profiler on my tail! He'd know more about me than I did! Much the same way Andrei Chikatilo reacted to his interviewer in Citizen X.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 4, 2003

    Survivor's Guide

    If you are the well-to-do parents of a daughter of marriageable age you will be smart, in fact, wise to read this book as there could be a Trust Bandit waiting in the wings who will sue to collapse trusts, commit extortion by threatening that you will never see your daughter again as well as turn her into a puppet who may remain under mind control for the rest of her life. This book may be the most important that you may ever come across. There is help for those whose daughters have cut off their families, former friends, other relatives and former advisors. They are parents who have encountered some of these painful experiences. Dr. Hare and his colleagues are wonderful and caring people who may know of or refer you to survivors and sympathetic counselors..One cannot say that about the psychopath who is completely lacking in empathy and who look upon people as objects only.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2011

    Spot On

    Having been married to a psychopath that destroyed nearly everything in my life, this book was essential in my path to recovery. It helped me to understand why this man did the things he did, that there wasn't anything in my response to him that likely would have changed anything, and that the man that ruined every aspect of my life was not all that uncommon. Robert Hare is a leader in this field, and that is why I chose his book to begin with. I have since read many others on this topic, but I continually return to this book for reference. I highly recommend this book.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 2, 2005

    Absolutely fabulous

    This book is not only amazingly well written and impossible to put down, but it handles the subject of psychopathy beautifully. Hare's extensive research and knowledge on the subject makes for a fantastic read and I would suggest it to anyone interested in the subject.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 9, 2000

    Fantastic

    This is a brilliant and readable book that explains and describes pyschopaths. Psychiatrists have described Bill Clinton as a psychopath, so just on that score everyone should read this book to understand his behavior. And if not for that, since at least 1 out of 100 people are psychopaths, the odds are you'll run into one someday. This can be a guide to how to deal with them.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 11, 2009

    Without Conscience

    A thought provoking book on the study of individuals without conscience. Eye opening with accounts from case studies.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 22, 2014

    I Also Recommend:

    I was raised to believe that a loving God made every being equal

    I was raised to believe that a loving God made every being equal even as I was taught about the devil.
    This book details decades of serious research and is a riveting read – and an important one that re-educates the world to the stark fact that equality is not a given.
    Some predators became deranged through bad treatment in childhood. Others are simply born with a less efficient capacity for empathy, just as some babies are born with other mental deformities.
    ‘Without Conscience’ urges a too-kind, too accepting public to become discerning and then to instruct their vulnerable children to become knowledgeable too. It teaches about the profile of a predator, warning signs and ways to protect oneself. Education is the best crime prevention tool.
    I used to feel guilty when I felt suspicious of a person. Now I congratulate myself and step aside as quickly as possible. Forewarned is forearmed.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 13, 2013

    Without Conscious is a must have for anyone who has come into co

    Without Conscious is a must have for anyone who has come into contact with a psychopath/sociopath, as well as, anyone who wishes to not fall victim to one. Dr. Hare delivers his research on the subject matter in an easy to follow and understand approach making this book a quick read. When many people hear the term psychopath they immediately visualize Charles Manson or the likes, however, the majority of psychopaths blend in with society and this book offers glimpses into the other, more common types. Basically, a well written and very informative book that I would recommend to everyone. 

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2012

    Wonderful forensic appearing book. I don't envy Dr. Hare's perso

    Wonderful forensic appearing book. I don't envy Dr. Hare's personal experiences with psychopaths but totally admire and give him big props for all of his tenacity and hard work in exposing such filth!
    Dr. Hare's readings are WELL worth reading and learning from!

    This book is a must have!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 2, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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