Monday Book Review: the sociopath next door

I just finished reading the sociopath next door by Martha Stout, Ph.D. on the recommendation of fellow writers. It sounded interesting and I was hopeful it would prove useful for my nano novel this year.

I did take a lot of notes. I did find parts of it interesting. However, when my husband came across me reading it this weekend he took one look at my face and said “bored out of your mind?”

well kind of honey.

The problem is dear Doctor Stout repeats herself, a lot. I understand the definition of conscience, in fact I understood it very thoroughly after her third description. The problem is she explained it multiple times a chapter.

In addition, she used a lot of the same sentences over and over. Did you know 4% of the population are sociopaths, that’s one in every 25 people. Don’t worry you might forget that statistic, she tells you several times a chapter, just in case.

Given that she is a therapist with twenty plus years of experience, specializing in PTSD of survivors of sociopaths, I really expected a lot more case studies. She used a few, but several she made up as amalgamations. I wanted less pontificating and more hard stories. More tales from the dark side on how these people really function.

Towards the end she talks about asking her patients “If you could be completely free of conscience, no moral scruples or guilt at all, what would you do with your life?”

My answer? Not feel guilty. I love my life. I live it in a way that meets my own moral compass.

What about you? What would you do?

4 thoughts on “Monday Book Review: the sociopath next door

  1. This review seems like you have been as kind as possible. The book sounds horrible! Too much repetition and indirect telling are my two pet peeves. Oh well. Hopefully you got something out of it.
    If my moral compass were removed I would do a lot less for others and more just for me. But I’m not so sure I would be happy. I have found through experience that following my moral compass is like rewarded common sense. What good would it be to do all those things I want to do for me if I had no one to share them with in the end. It’s common sense to do things for others and share in what they enjoy, because it also creates that in your own life – you find those that do things for you and share in what you enjoy as well. It would be a very flat life without that give and take, I suspect…but I’m not likely to ever find out!

    Liked by 1 person

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