Last year, while in London, I went to a World Book Night event, and one of the authors who did a reading there was Jon Ronson. I had not heard of him before that night, but after hearing him read a short essay that involved his son trying to discover what the worst swear word was, I immediately picked up two of his books: ‘The Psychopath Test’ and ‘Them: Adventures with Extremists’. Both were fantastic, and Jon Ronson has become one of my favourite writers. He also makes documentaries and short videos which are also worth recommending.
In this video, Jon Ronson summarizes his ‘The Psychopath Test’ book. For some reason, animation has been used to illustrate the encounters Jon had with the subjects of his books. That seems a bit on the psychopathic side, if you ask me. Or is it? Or is it ME who is the psychopath?? It get’s one thinking, and a bit paranoid!
“A Journey Through the Madness Industry
In this madcap journey (on sale May 12, 2011), a bestselling journalist investigates psychopaths and the industry of doctors, scientists, and everyone else who studies them.
The Psychopath Test is a fascinating journey through the minds of madness. Jon Ronson’s exploration of a potential hoax being played on the world’s top neurologists takes him, unexpectedly, into the heart of the madness industry. An influential psychologist who is convinced that many important CEOs and politicians are, in fact, psychopaths teaches Ronson how to spot these high-flying individuals by looking out for little telltale verbal and nonverbal clues. And so Ronson, armed with his new psychopath-spotting abilities, enters the corridors of power. He spends time with a death-squad leader institutionalized for mortgage fraud in Coxsackie, New York; a legendary CEO whose psychopathy has been speculated about in the press; and a patient in an asylum for the criminally insane who insists he’s sane and certainly not a psychopath.
Ronson not only solves the mystery of the hoax but also discovers, disturbingly, that sometimes the personalities at the helm of the madness industry are, with their drives and obsessions, as mad in their own way as those they study. And that relatively ordinary people are, more and more, defined by their maddest edges.
Follow Jon Ronson on Twitter: @JonRonson