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Books

The Psychopath Test

The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson, Picador, $32.99.
Remember Al "Chainsaw" Dunlap? The Packer family's corporate cost-cutter of the early '90s? Well, he's exhibit A in Jon Ronson's new investigation into the madness industry — specifically, whether many leading CEOs and politicians are in fact diagnosable psychopaths.
Lord knows how Ronson persuaded him but he even, hilariously, agrees to sit the official Psychopath Test and passes with flying colours.
Item 1: Superficial charm, tick. Item 5: Grandiose sense of self worth, tick. Impulsivity? Lack of remorse? You betcha.
The point being not Dunlap's sanity or goodness, but how an industry-standard 20-point test has gained such credence in the psycho-business, where amateurs — like the author — are trained to "spot" for psychopathy.
As with all Ronson's work (The Men Who Stare at Goats), he uses slapstick and satire to make his argument so it feels, often, like he's joking, but he's not.
Behind the laughs, he's asking a serious question about who can claim to be normal in a world looking for madness.

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