Wednesday, October 17, 2012

There's a Test?

It's tempting to say I read THE PSYCHOPATH TEST: A JOURNEY THROUGH THE MADNESS INDUSTRY because it's the political season --- It's mid-October 2012 --- and the election is in a few weeks. There's Mitt Romney, Barack Obama, and whatnot. Or maybe because Halloween is just around the corner is the reason. Or because I've got somebody in my neighborhood in mind to evaluate. Or, actually, several.

None of that's true, however. I read this because the author, Jon Ronson, was on NPR --- Was it Diane Rehm or Radio West with Doug Fabrizio? I don't know. He was engaging. Is so engaging. So I bought my Kindle version of the book and read a lot of it while walking our greyhound around the neighborhood.

I know, I know, I risk others evaluating me as a psychopath in doing that, especially as I scoop up after the dog's leavings with plastic bags while I'm messing with my Kindle. And anyway the neighbors who see me don't have the checklist they need to evaluate me properly. So they probably do think I am a psychopath, but it's another disorder I have altogether. For they probably haven't read the book and don't have the knowledge that's in it. I now have and possess "the list" to administer the psychopath test. :-).

This book, however, makes it plain that "the list" is not all you need. In fact, it makes very clear how very addictive labeling people is. We do it, but we don't necessarily do it well. I recommend you read this book, especially if you're interested in the topic. As I mentioned before, the author is very engaging. You'll follow Mr. Ronson around continents ferreting out prospects to complete his research. Convicted murderers, psychiatrists, history buffs, etc. You won't be disappointed in the narrative. "'As a group they tend to be more charming than most people,'" says Martha Stout, from the Harvard Medical School.

Not that I should know.

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