The Sociopath Next Door - Martha Stout, Ph.D.

The Sociopath Next Door

By Martha Stout, Ph.D.

  • Release Date: 2005-02-08
  • Genre: Psychology
Score: 4
From 291 Ratings


Who is the devil you know?

Is it your lying, cheating ex-husband?
Your sadistic high school gym teacher?
Your boss who loves to humiliate people in meetings?
The colleague who stole your idea and passed it off as her own?

In the pages of The Sociopath Next Door, you will realize that your ex was not just misunderstood. He’s a sociopath. And your boss, teacher, and colleague? They may be sociopaths too.

We are accustomed to think of sociopaths as violent criminals, but in The Sociopath Next Door, Harvard psychologist Martha Stout reveals that a shocking 4 percent of ordinary people—one in twenty-five—has an often undetected mental disorder, the chief symptom of which is that that person possesses no conscience. He or she has no ability whatsoever to feel shame, guilt, or remorse. One in twenty-five everyday Americans, therefore, is secretly a sociopath. They could be your colleague, your neighbor, even family. And they can do literally anything at all and feel absolutely no guilt.

How do we recognize the remorseless? One of their chief characteristics is a kind of glow or charisma that makes sociopaths more charming or interesting than the other people around them. They’re more spontaneous, more intense, more complex, or even sexier than everyone else, making them tricky to identify and leaving us easily seduced. Fundamentally, sociopaths are different because they cannot love. Sociopaths learn early on to show sham emotion, but underneath they are indifferent to others’ suffering. They live to dominate and thrill to win.

The fact is, we all almost certainly know at least one or more sociopaths already. Part of the urgency in reading The Sociopath Next Door is the moment when we suddenly recognize that someone we know—someone we worked for, or were involved with, or voted for—is a sociopath. But what do we do with that knowledge? To arm us against the sociopath, Dr. Stout teaches us to question authority, suspect flattery, and beware the pity play. Above all, she writes, when a sociopath is beckoning, do not join the game.

It is the ruthless versus the rest of us, and The Sociopath Next Door will show you how to recognize and defeat the devil you know.


  • Sociopathy and our conscience

    By Lawrence Here
    Fine book that not only clearly defines the working mind of sociopathy, but as importantly explains the value that our conscience adds to living a full, fruitful, and happy life.
  • Excellent To Be Sure - But Take With A Grain Of Salt

    By Kenny Saskatchewanobie
    "Forewarned is forearmed," is the great benefit to the reader of this book. It's so important in this world to know just exactly what you might be dealing with when you are investing time, making commitments, and even giving trust to people. You need to have awareness so you are not 'played the fool' by people who have personality disorders. The Author, Martha Stout, has given her well-researched book to us with qualified insight. My one reservation, be it on my own to decipher, is that I, being a Bible-believing Christian, was slightly grimacing over a few tie-in's intermingling Faith and conscience. I simply have a different viewpoint from the author's and in no way takes away from the overall value of this book.
  • Very good book

    By Élias de Kelliwic’h
    Very good book that everybodu should read. If you want to be convinced: just read the 1* comment from the sociopath on this book. He is the perfect example of what is wrong with them. He is a sociopath but it’s OUR problem and WE should have to deal with it and fix him. At no point he even consider trying to work on himself to fix it even if he KNOWS he has a problem. He is alsway right and we are always wrong and should deal with it. Pretty eye opening, isn’t it? Do yourself a favor and read this book to save yourselve time and insanity by trying to make sense how understand why sociopath are behaving like that (you can’t).
  • Very Much Appreciated

    By Voice Gal
    As a person who is being haunted on a daily basis by a sociopath, your brilliantly written book has given me profound insight on this perpetual bully's inner workings, as well as how to protect myself and enjoy all of the wonder and love in my life. Very much appreciated. Traci G
  • The Sociopath Next Door

    By Xiorro
    I've worked professionally with addicts & also have a post-doctoral degree in psychiatric epidemiology. So my interest and knowledge of the topic is fairly comprehensive. Still in all, I found the author's presentation of this complex disorder to be very enlightening. I've already suggested the book to a friend who is going thru a very excruciating experience with her boss. And now that I think back my painful experience with a peer is most likely the result of sociopathy. I can't say enough about the richness and depth of information Dr. Stout brings to this topic. It should provide tremendous insight to victims & others.
  • Agree with "Really"

    By Sgtjbd
    I agree with "Really", down below with What he/she said. Not every sociopath Is bad and I've noticed a lot Of people i know only are read it So they can avoid people like That. For someone to focus On really wanting to avoid Someone like this is only Making themselves more paranoid. Its just easier to go online to Look for red flags of an abusive man Or red flags of a con artist. And also agree with someone else's comment Above that most sociopaths are in the Helping and caring field such as nurses, Dentists, police, lawyers and politicians Thats just a few to name..
  • Very insightful

    By Vought72
    I found this book extremely helpful and insightful. I only wish that I had found it years ago.
  • Offensive

    By LinzRea
    This book makes people who revert to being a sociopath as coping mechanism as a result of childhood trauma seems to not even be considered. Maybe some of these people understand the way they are, but do not like the way they are, but their brain just works that way. I just find this book to be slanderous to anyone suffering from such personality disorders. It's insensitive.
  • Great Book

    By Brad 4444
    Very Helpful to those who are dealing with people such as these.
  • Pretty good...

    By Sweetfanger
    If you want to know more about sociopathic people this book is informative enough. But If you want to know more about dealing with such people this doesn't say much. Maybe because the best way to deal with them is to simply banish them from your life as fast as possible? That is the professional advice I was given by my doctor. I followed it and am happier for it.