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Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us

Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us

4.3 38
by Robert D. Hare

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ISBN-10: 1572304510

ISBN-13: 9781572304512

Pub. Date: 01/08/1999

Publisher: Guilford Publications, Inc.

Most people are both repelled and intrigued by the images of cold-blooded, conscienceless murderers that increasingly populate our movies, television programs, and newspaper headlines. With their flagrant criminal violation of society's rules, serial killers like Ted Bundy and John Wayne Gacy are among the most dramatic examples of the psychopath. Individuals with


Most people are both repelled and intrigued by the images of cold-blooded, conscienceless murderers that increasingly populate our movies, television programs, and newspaper headlines. With their flagrant criminal violation of society's rules, serial killers like Ted Bundy and John Wayne Gacy are among the most dramatic examples of the psychopath. Individuals with this personality disorder are fully aware of the consequences of their actions and know the difference between right and wrong, yet they are terrifyingly self-centered, remorseless, and unable to care about the feelings of others. Perhaps most frightening, they often seem completely normal to unsuspecting targets--and they do not always ply their trade by killing. Presenting a compelling portrait of these dangerous men and women based on 25 years of distinguished scientific research, Dr. Robert D. Hare vividly describes a world of con artists, hustlers, rapists, and other predators who charm, lie, and manipulate their way through life. Are psychopaths mad, or simply bad? How can they be recognized? And how can we protect ourselves? This book provides solid information and surprising insights for anyone seeking to understand this devastating condition.

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Guilford Publications, Inc.
Publication date:
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New Edition
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5.31(w) x 8.18(h) x (d)

Table of Contents

1. "Experiencing" the Psychopath
2. Focusing the Picture
3. The Profile: Feelings and Relationships
4. The Profile: Lifestyle
5. Internal Controls: The Missing Piece
6. Crime: The Logical Choice
7. White-Collar Psychopaths
8. Words from an Overcoat Pocket
9. Flies in the Web
10. The Roots of the Problem
11. The Ethics of Labeling
12. Can Anything Be Done?
13. A Survival Guide

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Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 38 reviews.
GolemDW More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.   
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Jx714 More than 1 year ago
A short conscise read for an accurate and compelling insight into the minds of the mentally inept criminals that walk amoungst us daily. Truly a definitive guide to the soul of the broken and destructive.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
CaitlinS More than 1 year ago
I found this book very helpful. It gives full profiles of different psychopaths. I also found it easy to read and understand. If you find your life being turned upside down by someone this could be the reason. Even if you have the pleasure of not having a relationship with one this could save you tons of trouble.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent book on the nature of the psychopath. Very easy to read and understand; I just wish I had read it before one turned my life upside down.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was required reading for my forensic psychology class, and I'm so glad it was. It is very insightful and explains psychopathy very well. It is really easy to understand. I wish everyone was required to read this to help better educate them on the issues at hand. Although some of the cases are very disturbing, they are true and important to showing the reality and scope of circumstances that are associated with psychopaths.
drakevaughn More than 1 year ago
Robert Hare, the creator of the Psychopathy Test used throughout prisons, documents his clinical and personal experiences with psychopaths in this fascinating book. The focus is mostly upon prisoners and extreme cases, such as serial killers and rapists, and their twisted motivations. Hare is careful to avoid any sweeping conclusions on the cause of psychopathy, concentrating more on its diagnosis. The only downside was the sections on corporate and workplace psychopaths, since most of the examples were antidotal and focused on society rather than individual clinical examinations. Also, some of the book was dated and the concentration on youth violence was hyperbolic as were his views on a deteriorating society. Even so, as a pop-psychology read, Hare breaks down the common characteristics of psychopaths, educating laymen about this affliction. Recommended for casual readers who are interested in a base knowledge concerning psychopathology.
FarMillRiverFalls More than 1 year ago
I found my way to this seminal work on psychopathy through Jon Ronson's book The Psychopath Test. In many ways, by the time I read Without Conscience, I felt like I had already read it before since it was quoted extensively in Ronson's work. But Ronson is a journalist and Hare is the scientist. This is the source material. It's a relief in some ways to know that, having survived encounters with people who seemingly fall into the category of the "high functioning" or non-criminal psychopath, you're not the crazy one and there is an explanation for this pattern of behavior. Of course, the research has advanced since this book was originally published in 1993, and Ronson's work picks up the thread and moves it forward from there. But if you want to understand the literature and the science behind the latest bestseller, this is the place to start.
nemojoel More than 1 year ago
A little repetitive but very interesting. It will make you think twice about those you thought you knew.
Hawnwillow More than 1 year ago
A thought provoking book on the study of individuals without conscience. Eye opening with accounts from case studies.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It is wonderful to be able to read a book such as this! I think it should be required reading for every highschool senior. People like Ted Bundy and Wayne Gacy are, unfortunately, every where. By reading this book one can become more knowledgable, and more safe. I resent the fact that someone said Bill Clint was a sociopath!! (George W. Bush has alot of the charactistics!)...she should keep her opinions to herself!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Required reading for any person that has involvement with sociopaths or psychopaths.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Dr Hare is by far the best in his field when it comes to working with psychopaths. All of a sudden psychopaths are everywhere but he has been working with them and truly understands how they work. Devious minds. It has helped reading his book since I work in a jail setting and have come across a few.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago