05. The Psychopath Test, Jon Ronson (February 11)
A friend had recommended this to us last year sometime. We forgot who exactly it was, but I thought one person and Mark thought another. Mark was right.
His brother-in-law recommended it to us as we discussed reality TV shows and ‘the right amount of crazy’, an idea that’s brought up in the book when the author (reporter) recounts a conversation he’s had with someone in the TV industry: she always asked which kinds of medications the people who applied to be on the shows were on, and only accepted people taking specific medicines (for specific problems). We’d been talking about Prozac at the time.
This is my second Jon Ronson book, and I think he’s a good journalist. This story was read by him on audiobook, and the one comment I’ll make about him, the person, is that sometimes, the way he reads or says something makes him sound like he’s trying to sound innocent. And he IS innocent, but it comes off sometimes as a bit contrarian. I like that he tells us he’s constantly wondering if the things he does are proof that he’s a psychopath. The self-diagnosis that we’re all guilty of is a nice reminder that even though he’s a published author, he’s still as worried, and just as normal, as the rest of us.
This is a great piece of reporting on a very specific issue we have in current society, and I think the idea (and proof, as he reports) that there are a lot of psychopaths, or people who are close to qualifying on the scale, at the top of many big companies and corporations, is pretty right-on. That’s a scary thought, but it makes a whole hell of a lot of sense to this American expat/immigrant, who’d prefer to live anywhere but the USA (or Saudi Arabia).
I’d recommend this to anyone who is sure big corporations rule the US, or interested in what qualifies someone as bat-shit psychopath crazy. I’d really like to meet Jon Ronson.