Jon Ronson is the author of The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry, an entertaining and intriguing book on the nature of mental illness and the mental health market. Here is the book blurb from Amazon:
They say one out of every hundred people is a psychopath. You probably passed one on the street today. These are people who have no empathy, who are manipulative, deceitful, charming, seductive, and delusional. The Psychopath Test is the New York Times bestselling exploration of their world and the madness industry.This episode is part of a series of segments on the nature of mind.
When Jon Ronson is drawn into an elaborate hoax played on some of the world’s top scientists, his investigation leads him, unexpectedly, to psychopaths. He meets an influential psychologist who is convinced that many important business leaders and politicians are in fact high-flying, high-functioning psychopaths, and teaches Ronson how to spot them. Armed with these new abilities, Ronson meets a patient inside an asylum for the criminally insane who insists that he’s sane, a mere run-of-the-mill troubled youth, not a psychopath—a claim that might be only manipulation, and a sign of his psychopathy. He spends time with a death-squad leader institutionalized for mortgage fraud, and with a legendary CEO who took joy in shutting down factories and firing people. He delves into the fascinating history of psychopathy diagnosis and treatments, from LSD-fueled days-long naked therapy sessions in prisons to attempts to understand serial killers.
Along the way, Ronson discovers that relatively ordinary people are, more and more, defined by their most insane edges. The Psychopath Test is a fascinating adventure through the minds of madness.
Here are the other segments:
"People need depth, and depth means the possibility of unhappiness and frustration and sometimes torment — though hopefully not madness." — Oliver Sacks
We've all had that moment. The moment where you might see or hear something and you wonder: Am I going crazy? In this hour, TED speakers share their experiences straddling that line between madness and sanity — and question if we're all in the gray area between the two.
- What Do Hallucinations Reveal About Our Minds?, 12:29, with Oliver Sacks
- What's It Like To Have A Psychotic Episode?, 13:22, with Elyn Saks
- Where Do Mental Illness And Creativity Meet?, 4:57, with Joshua Walters
by NPR/TED STAFF
February 06, 2013
TED Radio Hour
18 min 18 sec