Book choice for February 2015

The Psychopath Test [suggested by Uzma Ali]

The Psychopath Test

This is a story about madness. It all starts when journalist Jon Ronson is contacted by a leading neurologist. She and several colleagues have recently received a cryptically puzzling book in the mail, sent anonymously, and Jon is challenged to solve the mystery behind it. As he searches for the answer, Jon soon finds himself, unexpectedly, on an utterly compelling and often unbelievable adventure into the world of madness.

Jon meets a Broadmoor inmate who swears he faked a mental disorder to get a lighter sentence but is now stuck there, with nobody believing he’s sane. He meets some of the people who catalogue mental illness, and those who vehemently oppose them. He meets the influential psychologist who developed the industry standard Psychopath Test and who is convinced that many important CEOs and politicians are in fact psychopaths.

Jon learns from him how to ferret out these high-flying psychopaths and, armed with his new psychopath-spotting abilities, heads into the corridors of power, spending time with an international death-squad leader and a legendary CEO whose alleged psychopathy caused huge fluctuations on the stock market. As well as talking to psychopaths, Jon meets those whose ordinary lives have been touched by madness and those who depend on it to make a living – disturbingly discovering that many of the people at the helm of the industry are sometimes, in their way, as crazy as those they study.

Combining Jon’s trademark humour, charm and investigative incision, The Psychopath Test is a fascinating journey through an unsettling industry; a deeply honest book unearthing dangerous truths and asking serious questions about how we define normality in a world where we are increasingly judged by our maddest edges. [Product description from Amazon]

The book has its own Wikipedia page.

About the Author

Wikipedia page.
Author's website.

 

Shortlisted for this month

This month Uzma's other two suggestions were:

The Blind Owl

The Blind Owl

Originally written in Persian, The Blind Owl is predominantly a love story, an unconventional love story that elicits visions and nightmare reveries from the depths of the reader's subconscious. A young man, an old man and a beautiful young girl perform, as if framed within a Persian miniature, a ritual of destruction as gradually the narrator, and the reader, discover the meaning hidden within the dreams. This unforgettable story contains a unique blend of the mystery of the Arabian Nights and an acutely contemporary sense of panic and hallucination. [Product description from Amazon.com]

The book has a Wikipedia page.

About the Author

Wikipedia page.
Tribute site to the author.

 

Prozac Nation

Prozac Nation

An account, both harrowing and amusing, of the author's dependence on Prozac, prescribed for her after a series of suicide attempts and breakdowns. She describes her experiences and her determination to get herself off medication. [Product description from Amazon]

Once again this book has its own Wikipedia page. It has also been made into a film.

About the Author

Wikipedia page.

 

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