The Wisdom of Psychopaths
by Kevin Dutton
Published in September 2012
Thibault’s Score: 4/5
Kevin Dutton does a great job at explaining what a psychopath is and outlining the many circumstances where psychopaths outperform their neurotypical peers.
The brains of psychopaths are structured very differently than the brains of other people. They do not feel the same emotions that neurotypicals feel, and the emotions that they do feel are highly attenuated. This is both a blessing and a handicap.
Psychopaths struggle with finding a sense of morality, and can, if pushed, turn to violence and criminality. This is why many serial killers are psychopaths.
Just because nearly all of the most violent murders and rapists are psychopaths doesn’t mean that the majority of psychopaths are dangerous. Most psychopaths live completely normal and productive lives.
Psychopaths tend to cluster towards society’s extremes: they are both the most dangerous and poor people, along with the most helpful and productive. The world’s top CEOs, surgeons, lawyers, soldiers, and law enforcement officers tend to score high on many tests indicating sociopathy. Their jobs require nerves of steel and a cool unflinching focus.
A lot surprised me about this book. Major religious figures, such as saints, often display sociopathic tendencies. The most focused buddhist monks’ brains look like he brains of psychopaths on MRI scans - they may have, through meditation, turned themselves into benevolent psychopaths.
There is much that we can learn from psychopaths, and Kevin Dutton does a fantastic job of showing what and how we can learn from these incredible individuals.
This is an absolutely fantastic book. It is eye opening, and a must read, especially for people who have experienced anxiety or trouble with emotional control.
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