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  • The Psychopath Test

  • A Journey Through the Madness Industry
  • By: Jon Ronson
  • Narrated by: Jon Ronson
  • Length: 7 hrs and 33 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (605 ratings)

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The Psychopath Test

By: Jon Ronson
Narrated by: Jon Ronson
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Editorial reviews

Shortlisted for Non-Fiction Book of the Year in the Specsavers National Book Awards 2012, the best-selling audiobook The Psychopath Test is written and narrated by award-winning British journalist and documentary filmmaker Jon Ronson. Take a closer look at the subject of madness from every angle – the diagnosed, the doctor and the imposter. Ronson gives a humorous and insightful look at a subject still plagued by stigmas and stereotypes. He reveals a way to perform the psychopath “test” on anyone – from your boss, neighbor or your lover and be surprised how their answers compare. Available now from Audible.

Publisher's Summary

Shortlisted for: Popular Non-Fiction Book of the Year – Specsavers National Book Awards 2012

This is a story about madness. It all starts when journalist Jon Ronson is contacted by a leading neurologist. She and several colleagues have recently received a cryptically puzzling book in the mail, and Jon is challenged to solve the mystery behind it. As he searches for the answer, Jon soon finds himself, unexpectedly, on an utterly compelling and often unbelievable adventure into the world of madness.

Jon meets a Broadmoor inmate who swears he faked a mental disorder to get a lighter sentence but is now stuck there, with nobody believing he’s sane. He meets some of the people who catalogue mental illness, and those who vehemently oppose them. He meets the influential psychologist who developed the industry standard Psychopath Test and who is convinced that many important CEOs and politicians are in fact psychopaths.

Jon learns from him how to ferret out these high-flying psychopaths and, armed with his new psychopath-spotting abilities, heads into the corridors of power...Combining Jon’s trademark humour, charm and investigative incision, The Psychopath Test is a deeply honest book unearthing dangerous truths and asking serious questions about how we define normality in a world where we are increasingly judged by our maddest edges.

©2011 Jon Ronson (P)2011 Macmillan Digital Audio

Critic Reviews

“Ronson’s gift is his ability to illuminate impenetrable worlds. Hare’s checklist is already the subject of criticism, but Ronson details many studies showing how bad psychiatry has been at diagnosing mental illness.”(Nature Magazine)

"In case you get really worried about a member of your party, then we’d suggest packing Jon Ronson’s The Psychopath Test, a compelling adventure into the world of madness. Funny and revealing this book will change the way you look at your boss, boyfriend or bank manager forever." (The Guardian)

"Ronson’s gift is his ability to illuminate impenetrable worlds. Hare’s checklist is already the subject of criticism, but Ronson details many studies showing how bad psychiatry has been at diagnosing mental illness." (Nature Magazine)

What listeners say about The Psychopath Test

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Could easily have been condensed.

I found The Psychopath Test to be fairly entertaining and informative. I'd suggest to any potential reader that it would be well worth reading Dr Robert Hare's "Without Conscience" (also available on Audible) before or along with TPT. Ronson regularly references Dr hare's work regarding the study of Psychopathy.

The Psychopath test is filled with plenty of interesting stories which serve well to get the information across without presenting it in a dry or boring manner. I found it to be particularly informative in regards to the process used to identify the various forms of mental disorders over the last few decades, and the impact this has had on the medical and pharmaceutical industry. I believe most readers will find this aspect to be quite interesting.

I definitely found that the book inspired curiosity and raised many questions in areas which I had not expected to be considering when I started reading the book. This is a definite positive.

I did find Ronson's narration to be rather bland and slightly tiresome, and found my attention waning and wandering on a number of occasions throughout the book as a result. A number of times I also often found myself questioning where a story or recounting of events was headed, and what relevance it had to the overall topic. This often gave parts of the book a 'padded out' kind of feeling. I think TPT could have been condensed somewhat and that a few of the stories could have been culled in order to change the pace of the book for the better.

I enjoyed The Psychopath Test for the information it contained and the questions it raises within the reader on a number of topics. However I would not recommend a potential listener to do so while driving, especially on a long trip.

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11 people found this helpful

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Good, but perhaps slightly overstays its welcome?

Is there anything you would change about this book?

This is a decent book, and one of Ronsons most famous works. That said, for my moeny it is one of the less entertaining ones. The central focus of the work leads to less levity, less breadth of scope, and overall less fun than (for instance) Men Who Stare At Goats, his compendiums of random stories, or even the online shaming book (can't recall the title).

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

This is, much like Louis Theroux, ego-journalism. As such, the only character you walk away with any real sense of is Ronson, as he involves himself deeply in the story rather than standing back and trying to be transparent. This isnt a bad thing per se, he has a likeable style and persona.

What three words best describe Jon Ronson’s performance?

playful, neurotic, curious.

Did The Psychopath Test inspire you to do anything?

It inspired me to avoid ending up in a mental hospital, and certainly not to travel back to the past and be hospitalised (although this was never high on my bucket list, i must admit)

Any additional comments?

Ronson is a gifted writer and likeable journalist-nerd-author, and while this book is full of interesting observations on mentla health and humanity, i missed the sense of fun and breadth of subject matter contained in his other books. For my money, his more general collections of essays are the best listens purely for the variety and episodic nature (that lends itself better to listening over multiple sittings without losing track of complex narrative arcs).

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3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Amazing!

Any additional comments?

Can’t speak highly enough about this book. This was the first book by Jon Ronson that I listened to and still definitely my favourite. It’s non-fiction, but reads sort of as though it’s fiction. Amazing. 5 stars!

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worth a listen

got pretty obsessed for first 3/4 of book but got a bit distracted towards the end.

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Facinating

Wow scarey interesting stuff! I was greatly disturbed and entertained by the contents of this text.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Very interesting, but quite disturbing

What did you like most about The Psychopath Test?

Learning about the very dodgy history of psychiatry. Man.. Talk about the cure being worse than the disease.

What did you like best about this story?

Learning how to identify the crazy people to avoid!

What does Jon Ronson bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

He has a delivery that keeps you entertained even when the experiences mentioned are incredibly harrowing

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Don't take your kids

Any additional comments?

Good book, not for the faint of heart.

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absolute fascinating

loved every minute of this book. wonderful insight and extensive research. you cant help but wonder where you are on the checklist. well done Jon! also lovely narration......could not stop listening

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Excellent as usual!

This is the second book of Jon Ronson's that I've listened to so far and both have been fantastic! He's a great writer- highly entertaining and very informative :)

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Fantastic!

Loved it. Fascinating. Jon Ronson's voice is lovely, so easy to listen to. Time to catch up on his other work now!

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Waffle

Time wasting ramblings of an anxious man. Bored me in the first 30 mins. Totally lost interest to listen to the rest of the book. Too much side detail and thick description which adds nothing.

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