Confessions of a Sociopath: A Life Spent Hiding in Plain Sight by M.E. Thomas, Audiobook (CD) | Barnes & Noble
Confessions of a Sociopath: A Life Spent Hiding in Plain Sight

Confessions of a Sociopath: A Life Spent Hiding in Plain Sight

3.1 34
by M.E. Thomas, Bernadette Sullivan
     
 

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As M.E. Thomas says of her fellow sociopaths, we are your neighbors, co-workers, and quite possibly the people closest to you: lovers, family, friends. Our risk-seeking behavior and general fearlessness are thrilling, our glibness and charm alluring. Our often quick wit and outside-the-box thinking make us appear intelligent—even brilliant. We climb the

Overview

As M.E. Thomas says of her fellow sociopaths, we are your neighbors, co-workers, and quite possibly the people closest to you: lovers, family, friends. Our risk-seeking behavior and general fearlessness are thrilling, our glibness and charm alluring. Our often quick wit and outside-the-box thinking make us appear intelligent—even brilliant. We climb the corporate ladder faster than the rest, and appear to have limitless self-confidence.  Who are we? We are highly successful, non-criminal sociopaths and we comprise 4% of the American population (that’s 1 in 25 people!).
 
Confessions of a Sociopath takes readers on a journey into the mind of a sociopath, revealing what makes the tick and what that means for the rest of humanity.   Written from the point of view of a diagnosed sociopath, it unveils these men and women who are “hiding in plain sight” for the very first time.
 
Confessions of a Sociopath is part confessional memoir, part primer for the wary. Drawn from Thomas’ own experiences; her popular blog, Sociopathworld.com; and current and historical scientific literature, it reveals just how different – and yet often very similar - sociopaths are from the rest of the world. The book confirms suspicions and debunks myths about sociopathy and is both the memoir of a high-functioning, law-abiding (well, mostly) sociopath and a roadmap – right from the source - for dealing with the sociopath in your life, be it a boss, sibling, parent, spouse, child, neighbor, colleague or friend.
 
As Thomas argues, while sociopaths aren't like everyone else, and it’s true some of them are incredibly dangerous, they are not inherently evil. In fact, they’re potentially more productive and useful to society than neurotypicals or “empaths,” as they fondly like to call “normal” people.  Confessions of a Sociopath demystifyies sociopathic behavior and provide readers with greater insight on how to respond or react to protect themselves, live among sociopaths without becoming victims, and even beat sociopaths at their own game, through a bit of empathetic cunning and manipulation.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Audio
★ 09/30/2013
Pseudonymous author M.E. Thomas paints for the casual observer an illustration of the world of the sociopath. Bereft of the inborn empathic abilities that most people possess, Thomas used her considerable aptitudes to create a functional, albeit predatory, life for herself—a life anchored in rules arrived at through applied reason rather than in morals. Narrator Bernadette Sullivan’s coolly amused tone effectively conveys Thomas’s charming, detached observations about her life. Calm and self-possessed, Sullivan leads us through Thomas’s narrative as the sociopath speculates about the causes of sociopathy, its implications, and the impact it has had on her life. By turns a confession, an examination, and a self-justification, the veracity of Thomas’s narrative is open to question—she is a self-confessed liar and manipulator—but however fictional or distorted the story may be, Sullivan’s presentation of it is undeniably seductive. A Crown hardcover. (May)
The New York Times Book Review - Jon Ronson
Confessions of a Sociopath turns out to be an intermittently gripping and important book…it is a revelatory if contradictory muddle of a memoir in which [Thomas] succeeds in simultaneously humanizing and demonizing herself.
Publishers Weekly
An essential, unprecedented memoir by a law professor who is a clinically-diagnosed sociopath, these revelations from the pseudonymous Thomas deign to counter the label's public image. There are no tales of violent crime or unrecognizably perverse fantasies. Rather, her intelligent, measured prose conveys her message and her mindset yet betrays sociopathic characteristics: "While others were learning to play kickball, I learned to play people." Unlike those without this disorder, she has neither conscience nor remorse, manipulates to fulfill desires, and describes a lifetime of inability to relate to others' emotions. However, she is confident, charming, worries about having kids, and whether "they will be like me, and I worry even more that they will be not be like me." Sociopathic brains are structurally different from others, but the disorder's root causes are unknown. Thomas asserts that we have misunderstood a group that constitutes between one and four percent of the general population, and her arguments against using the diagnosis as an indicator of evil or a pre-emptive reason to imprison are a slam-dunk. This is a critical addition to narratives of mental illness, deepened by the awareness that we're reading someone whose most intense motivation is "acquisition, retention, and exploitation of power". (May)
From the Publisher
Praise for Confessions of a Sociopath

“[A] gripping and important book...revelatory...quite the memorable roller coaster ride.” New York Times Book Review

“Fascinating...part memoir, part psychological treatise, and entirely not to be trusted.” Boston Globe

“The goal of Confessions is to redefine sociopathy—or at least to shake off the stigma associated with it. And Thomas accomplishes both. Through her honest portrayal of herself as a highly capable yet deeply flawed individual, she demystifies her disorder.” Scientific American

“Fascinating stuff, and Thomas delivers...riveting...chilling...Her incisive observations about human nature can be breathtakingly pointed.” Cleveland Plain Dealer

“An essential, unprecedented memoir...intelligent, measured...Her arguments against using the diagnosis as an indicator of evil or a pre-emptive reason to imprison are a slam-dunk. This is a critical addition to narratives of mental illness, deepened by the awareness that we're reading someone whose most intense motivation is ‘acquisition, retention, and exploitation of power’.” Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Fascinating and compelling as well as chilling, Thomas’ memoir offers a window into the mind of a portion of the population that usually remains shrouded in mystery and fear.” Booklist, starred review

“[Thomas] invites us into her courtroom, classroom and bedroom to witness how her behavior has stunted her work life and made her love life difficult...Much here is chilling, but there are also cracks that make you ache for her....A work of advocacy for greater awareness of sociopathy’s reach and conduct.”Kirkus Reviews

Library Journal
Thomas, a diagnosed sociopath, begins this part study of sociopathy, part confessional memoir with narcissistic descriptions of personal style and grooming habits that develop into a complex and layered self-portrait. She describes growing up in a large Mormon family and how her religious practices continued into adulthood, her time as both a music and law student, and how lacking empathy affected all stages of her life, notably her experience with making friends and enemies. Noncriminal sociopaths are, Thomas says, "hidden in plain sight," and her account of this experience doesn't bother with political correctness. She writes with blunt, witty insight on human behavior, particularly sexuality, and is strangely endearing. She smartly overlooks the potential damage to her reputation if a student or colleague reading the book recognized her as the author. Yet the story is too convincing to be a fabrication, and a sociopath isn't likely to feel remorse for expounding intimate details to shed light into the kind of life lived by four percent of the American population. VERDICT A page-turner with broad appeal. Some material has previously appeared on the author's blog, sociopathworld.com; fans will find an enjoyable companion in The Sociopath Next Door by Martha Stout, who offers a psychiatrist's view of the condition.—Chrissy Spallone, Philadelphia Yearly Meeting Lib.
Kirkus Reviews
The biting memoir of a "successful" sociopath, from the pseudonymous Thomas. The author is a lawyer, a teacher and a sociopath--she abjures "psycho" as a little too much--a full-blown example of anti-social personality behavior, with "a pervasive pattern of disregard for and violation of the rights of others"--not in a legally criminal way but certainly capable of inflicting damage. Her self-portrait is not likable, but readers will admire her drawing attention to all the sociopaths out there. "We are legion and diverse," she writes. "At least one of them looks like me. Does one of them look like you?" Thomas treats her life as a case history, reaching for cognizance while pulsing with a frankness that roves between raw self-evaluation--which might be disarming if she had more emotional capacity--and an undiluted meanness toward those she would ruin, the many "gloomy, mediocre nothings populating a go-nowhere rat race." She scours her past to see where her sociopathy was nurtured and genetics to see where it might have found a foothold through nature. She invites us into her courtroom, classroom and bedroom to witness how her behavior has stunted her work life and made her love life difficult. She explains her view of risks and consequences, "but my mind is almost always at peace no matter what I do." Much here is chilling, but there are also cracks that make you ache for her: "Sometimes I can't see people's disgust for me because I'm so single-mindedly inclined to see adoration." A work of advocacy for greater awareness of sociopathy's reach and conduct.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780385362382
Publisher:
Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group
Publication date:
05/14/2013
Edition description:
Unabridged
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 5.90(h) x 1.20(d)

Meet the Author

M. E. Thomas is a diagnosed sociopath and the founder of SociopathWorld.com. But she is not a killer. Quite the contrary, she is an accomplished attorney and law professor who writes regularly for major law journals, donates 10 percent of her income to charity, and teaches Sunday School.

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