My sister is a Psychology teacher. She is very enthusiastic about her subject and is constantly telling me about interesting social experiments. But the thing I'm always most interested in is her stories about psychopaths. Those rare beings who are slippery and hard to diagnose - who apparently fill the upper echelons of our society - business leaders, surgeons and politicians. She told me about a book she was reading on sociopaths - another name for psychopaths. I was intrigued so I read it myself. Confessions of a Sociopath isn't by M.E.Thomas - it's a pen name apparently. Despite her detailing her life in which she sounds like a dangerous person herself, she claims it is more dangerous for herself to "come out" as a sociopath. Her reasoning is that if she were ever to commit a crime (and she has no moral and instinctual reason not to), then they might throw away the key on discovering her psychological nature.
The book goes through the author's life detailing what she was like as a child, incidents when she purposefully "ruined" people or messed with them emotionally as well as talking about her own ability to fall in love. In this way the book confirms and also rejects many of the beliefs and understanding we have about sociopaths. They, the author argues, will act well, or badly depending on the way they were brought up. How they are taught to act towards people. Because at the end of the day, we can all do horrible things. The question is whether you do them out of extreme emotion or out of cold mental calculation. Would you rather have a judge be a psychopath who is able to give a cool factual analysis of a situation, or be an "empath", who might be swayed by pity and moral rage into giving people an unduly harsh sentence? Sociopaths are, the author argues, an important and useful part of society. They are risk takers who push things forward. At the same time we must remember that despite being someone who follows religious laws and tries to live a positive lifestyle, the author admits that her nature is to look for people to "ruin".
At times I felt that this book repeated itself and could possibly have been better structured. However it is fascinating to see into the mind of someone so different to myself. It's rare that you get to read a book by someone who identifies themselves as something so taboo. Therefore I give this book a 6/10.