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Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us

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Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us [Paperback]

Robert D. Hare PhD (Author)
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (202 customer reviews)

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Book Description

January 8, 1999 1572304510 978-1572304512 1
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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Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us + The Sociopath Next Door + Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths Go to Work
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Editorial Reviews Review

"Psychopaths are social predators who charm, manipulate, and ruthlessly plow their way through life, leaving a broad trail of broken hearts, shattered expectations, and empty wallets. Completely lacking in conscience and in feelings for others, they selfishly take what they want and do as they please..." In Without Conscience Robert Hare argues convincingly that "psychopath" and "antisocial personality disorder" (a psychiatric term defined by a cluster of criminal behaviors) are not the same thing. Not all psychopaths are criminals, he says, and not all criminals are psychopaths. He proposes a psychopathy checklist that includes emotional/interpersonal traits such as glibness, grandiosity, lack of guilt, and shallow emotions, as well as social deviance traits such as impulsiveness, lack of responsibility, and antisocial behavior. His writing is lucid and illustrated with numerous anecdotes. The final chapter, "A Survival Guide," is especially recommended: as Hare writes, "Psychopaths are found in every segment of society, and there is a good chance that eventually you will have a painful or humiliating encounter with one." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

This work of pop psychology merits attention because Hare has pioneered in the field of psychopathy, which is still in a formative state. Psychopaths, he asserts, are neither sociopaths nor psychotics but rather are people who are well aware of the difference between right and wrong and ignore the distinction. Additionally, they are egocentric and have no feelings of empathy, guilt or remorse. They view others as potential victims, and they leave a trail of unhappiness behind them in those who have succumbed to their deceitful manipulations. Whether nature or nurture underlies their aberration is still uncertain; they are almost impossible to treat, according to Hare, because they are convinced that they have no psychological or emotional problems. Although, as he notes, much of the literature on psychopathy is scientific, Hare here presents material in a form accessible to lay readers.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 236 pages
  • Publisher: The Guilford Press; 1 edition (January 8, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1572304510
  • ISBN-13: 978-1572304512
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (202 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,784 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
239 of 246 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The creepy folk February 10, 2005
Format:Paperback|Amazon Verified Purchase
Robert Hare's book is a landmark publication and very frequently referenced by other professionals, which speaks to the respect in which his colleagues hold his research and writings. This is an excellent book. It is well-written, lucid, and aimed at the lay person. His clarification of the terms "psychopath," "sociopath" and "anti-social personality disorder" are quite useful.

My only problem with the book is that Hare's examples come largely from the criminal world, where many psychopaths end up, and in which he worked for many years. Because of this, we may lose sight of the fact that many "psychopaths" are NOT criminals, but produce enormous chaos and emotional mayhem in the lives of others -- others who do not understand this disorder and cannot make sense of what has happened to them.

Psychopaths by their very nature are con artists, but not all are thieves and murderers. Some are just emotionally abusive, cruel, manipulative, controlling and bring families, employees, employers and acquaintances to ruin in a hundred other ways.

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 empathetically to others.
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154 of 159 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Psychopaths at the back door - the facts revealed December 21, 2005
Format:Paperback|Amazon Verified Purchase
After reading this extremely sobering text, and it is strongly suggested you do, you will recognize someone in your past, present or future to be a psychopath. 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.

Hare provides many case histories from thousands of interviews with psychopaths and their victims. The renowned psychopathic checklist that he and his team developed over many years has proved to be a worthwhile tool in diagnosis. Most of these case histories are terrifying and ultimately sad as the psychopath invariably leaves a wake of destruction wherever they are and with whom they come in contact. These predators are the grand seducers because they have developed a strategy to detect one's weaknesses, doors of opportunity, to attain their every desire, whether money, sex or power. These characteristics seem obvious on first reading, but are a little more difficult to spot in actual physical contact.

The psychopath is usually glib and superficial, egocentric and grandiose and most importantly feels no guilt or remorse after committing an illegal or terrible act. Most often they are impulsive, deceitful and highly manipulative. Lack of responsibility for their actions and consistent antisocial adult behaviour are tell tale signs. Interestingly, most can be charming, good talkers and mesmerizing - a lot share the attribute of the intense, cold stare, an excessive eye contact used to intimidate. As the title suggests, all are without conscience and move through life in the pursuit of self-gratification, no matter what the cost.

What is sobering about this study is that our understanding of the condition is poor compared with other mental illnesses. Psychopaths do not respond to treatment and if incarcerated and set free, are more than likely to re-offend. As treatment is not an option at this time, the best we can do is have the knowledge to identify the psychopath and apply survival strategies to ensure the least amount of damage to others and ourselves. Hare gives us a "survival manual" at the back of the text, including an extensive bibliography to continue our personal research into the condition.

This book is a must read for anyone working in welfare, legal, rehabilitation and education, including law enforcement. All too often we are appalled and confused by certain behaviours, and this information clears this confusion and provides tools to deal with it. Excellent resource.
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244 of 257 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't be devastated by one of these people - READ June 3, 2006
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Without Conscience has a lot of information that will help someone distinguish an everyday Psychopath from the rest of the population. Yes it speaks of famous cases, it speaks of prison inmates, but it also covers the ground that most of us walk on every single day. Grocery stores, work, church, school, etc.

Not all Psychopaths are criminals, nor do all of them turn physically violent. In truth most of them are our neighbors, friends, family members, spouses, and even our own children. Most Psychopaths stay so low key that it's hard (next to impossible) to pick up on what is happening until it's too late. By then you are in over your head, financially and emotionally devastated. I know, because I was a target of one of these people.

If I had known what a Psychopath was, and had already read this book, I would have known to avoid the individual at all cost. This book covers every thing to help us make an intelligent decision about the type of person we may be dealing with. If you have doubt of any person in your life, read this book. Better safe than sorry. Believe me, the Psychopath won't care about what he or she does to you. You have to protect yourself from them.

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.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Thorough, interesting and cocumented
Very thorough in depth description of psychopathy and well documented to work around all the misperceptions of the condition. Very informative.
Published 22 hours ago by Ted Wilsonville
4.0 out of 5 stars shortest review.
Well written, easy to read considered it is written by a professor on the matter.
Good reading mostly until the last chapter who felt a bit boring and uninteresting. Read more
Published 3 days ago by Erik
3.0 out of 5 stars Alright
Interesting topic, good research. The author is quite repetitive, though, which was a bit irritating.

Decent book overall. Read more
Published 14 days ago by Elizabeth Mohican
3.0 out of 5 stars Long on anecdotes, short on science
This might be an excellent book for someone who must personally recognize and deal with a psychopath. That's the biggest plus for it. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Betty Louise Marks
3.0 out of 5 stars Kindle version is missing the ends of many chapters
I would give this book 4 stars for content and zero stars for production quality of the Kindle version. The kindle version is missing the ends of many chapters. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Carol Deppe
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic and useful
This is the best ten bucks I've spent in a long time. I tore through this book so quickly - it was engrossing. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Kate
5.0 out of 5 stars Insanely good!!!
I loved it, it is very well written and for a psychology major, it is full of useful information for those studying behavior like i am. Read more
Published 2 months ago by meena
5.0 out of 5 stars There is no cure
While you may be perceptive about people, there is one group you must study about in order not to get suckered in:sociopaths. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Michael P. Maslanka
5.0 out of 5 stars Beneath the Mask
Since 1999 when Hare's book was first published, thousands and thousands of women in support groups all over America discovered there really was a way out of the turmoil that was... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Phyllis Antebi Ph.D
3.0 out of 5 stars Without Conscience by Robert Hare, PhD
The subject matter was very good and well written. Due to a publisher error many of the bottom lines of pages were cut off so I complained and received a refund. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Avid Reader
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