Summary of The Wisdom of Psychopaths

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The Wisdom of Psychopaths book summary


7 Overall

6 Importance

8 Innovation

7 Style


“Functional psychopaths” surround you. They’re steely, cool under pressure and devoid of empathy, but these “saints, spies and serial killers” excite the imagination. Sadly, though, it’s the semi-psychotic politicians, lawyers or law enforcement agents who disproportionately hold positions of power and who prove to be masters at taking advantage of others’ weaknesses. University of Oxford research psychologist Kevin Dutton backs up his provocative theories with hair-raising research references. You’ll learn why psychopaths in suits can control their tendencies, why those wielding chain saws cannot and why that renders the former more dangerous than the latter. Dutton could have made his prose a bit tighter, and you have to be a big fans of metaphors to appreciate his style, but if you’re on the rise in your career and want to understand your extra edge – or if you would like to avoid being on the receiving end of someone else’s edge – getAbstract recommends Dutton’s innovative, entertaining, well-documented treatise.

In this summary, you will learn

  • What traits psychopaths share and
  • What separates serial killers from CEOs, surgeons and other successfully “functional psychopaths.”

About the Author

Social influence expert Kevin Dutton, PhD, is a research psychologist with the Center for Evolution and Human Sciences at Magdalen College, University of Oxford. He also wrote Split-Second Persuasion.



Are You a Psychopath?
Carefully consider this riddle. Your solution might give you some indication of whether you’re a psychopath. A young lady attends her mother’s funeral. She encounters a strange man – her true soul mate – with whom she falls immediately in love. He leaves before she...

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    Joe McAlpine 5 years ago
    great read. Very thought provoking. This made me think about where I fit in on the psychopath scale!

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