Jon Ronson’s “The Psychopath Test” is filled with interesting, and often frightening, information about the lives of various psychopaths and the doctors that diagnosed them. Ronson seamlessly strings together several interviews from psychopaths, psychiatrists and even scientologists to create a book that is highly fascinating and engaging.
Armed with a list of psychopathic traits — lack of empathy, promiscuity, inflated sense of self-worth and more — Ronson explores what he considers to be the two different types of psychopaths: those that end up in jail for their heinous crimes and those who he deems “Wall Street psychopaths.” This second category comprises those that, due to their lack of empathy and powerful desire for wealth, rise to the top as successful CEOs. In wha may be the most interesting point of the book, Ronson explains how although less than one percent of the general population are psychopaths, almost four percent of CEOs show psychopathic tendencies.
Ronson’s style of writing is humorous and light, adding a nice balance to the content of the book, which can be heavy at times. His plain writing style makes The Psychopath Test accessible to almost everyone, even those who don’t know anything about the subject to begin with.
While Ronson’s journey into the mind of the psychopath makes for a very compelling read, the book ends on an oddly sensitive note leaving the reader with many unanswered questions and several loose ends. Overall, however, the book is a fascinating read, as Ronson ventures into territory unknown to most readers.