A Critique on "The Sociopath Next Door"

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Down the street, in our workplaces, seemingly under our beds- Harvard Medical Professor Martha Stout’s Sociopath Next Door: The Ruthless vs. The Rest of Us sends the reader into a state of frightful paranoia when she mentions that a staggering 1 in 25, 4%, persons is, in fact, a sociopath. A sociopath, as Stout asserts, is a person with the lack of a conscience, thus a person not concerned with the suffering of others, to worry only about itself. She goes on to tell us that, because the rate of sociopaths in our society is so high, we must have already met hundreds without knowing it, due to the elusive and enigmatic nature of this psychological disease. However, a rational thinker can clearly see the flaws in the conceptions …show more content…
Moving on, any skeptic reading this book would surely have a plethora of questions for the professor. How, exactly, does one come up with the statistic of 1/25 in regards to the ratio of sociopaths to “normal people?” This question is rather baffling because, in the book, Stout states that there are many sociopaths which feign emotion for the sole purpose of progressing in life. How, then, do these people, faking a conscious, admit themselves to being a full-fledged sociopath when they have been lying to themselves and others around them for the bulk of their lives? Stout either did not factor these individuals into her statistical evaluation, which would mean a great number more of sociopaths than perceived through this book, or that Stout, with this knowledge, made a conjecture. In any case, especially in the latter, this statistic cannot be trusted and should therefore not be taken as hard fact. Another gaping problem in this book is the lack of perspective provided by Stout in regards to a true sociopath, one that admits they have not remorse, no conscience; one who only wants to win. It would have been an eye-opening experience to truly view the world through the eyes of a sociopath, which could have been accomplished through the course of a simple question and answer style interview. While this book is clearly not perfect, it does have its redeeming qualities. The simple