Identifying Sociopaths/Psychopaths in Daily Life

“What differentiates a sociopath who lives off the labors of others from one who occasionally robs convenience stores, or from one who is a contemporary robber baron — or what makes the difference between an ordinary bully and a sociopathic murderer — is nothing more than social status, drive, intellect, blood lust, or simple opportunity.”
— From “The Psychopath — The Mask of Sanity,” a Special Research Project of the Quantum Future School.

“Psychopaths show a stunning lack of concern for the effects their actions have on others, no matter how devastating these might be. They may appear completely forthright about the matter, calmly stating that they have no sense of guilt, are not sorry for the ensuing pain, and that there is no reason now to be concerned.” […] “They usually have handy excuses for their behavior, and in some cases deny that it happened at all.”
— From “The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us,” Psychology Today, Jan./Feb. 1994. (.pdf file)

“There is a class of individuals who have been around forever and who are found in every race, culture, society and walk of life. Everybody has met these people, been deceived and manipulated by them, and forced to live with or repair the damage they have wrought. These often charming but always deadly individuals have a clinical name: psychopaths. Their hallmark is a stunning lack of conscience; their game is self-gratification at the other person’s expense. Many spend time in prison, but many do not. All take far more than they give.”
— Excerpt from “This Charming Psychopath: How to Spot Social Predators Before They Attack,” by Dr. Robert D. Hare.

Along with Dr. Hervey Cleckley’s “The Mask of Sanity” [free .pdf file], Dr. Robert Hare has done groundbreaking work on identifying the sociopathic/psychopathic personality in the business world in his books, “Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us” (1993) and “Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths Go to Work,” (with Dr. Paul Babiak, 2006). The brief list by Dr. Hare below comes from Wikipedia:

Factor 1: Personality “Aggressive narcissism”

— Glibness/superficial charm

— Grandiose sense of self-worth

— Pathological lying

— Cunning/manipulative

— Lack of remorse or guilt

— Shallow affect (genuine emotion is short-lived and egocentric)

— Callousness; lack of empathy

— Failure to accept responsibility for own actions

“Then [Dr. Robert] Hare came out with a startling proposal. He said that the recent corporate scandals could have been prevented if CEOs were screened for psychopathic behavior. ‘Why wouldn’t we want to screen them?’ he asked. ‘We screen police officers, teachers. Why not people who are going to handle billions of dollars?’ “
— Alan Deutschman, “Is Your Boss a Psychopath?” Fast, July 1, 2005. [How about potential US presidents?]

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