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The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry

Key insights from Jon Ronson's

The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry


Key insights from Jon Ronson's

The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry

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7 minutes

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Immerse yourself in the stories of those who are labeled insane and the dubious practices of those who diagnose them.

A few years ago, several dozen prominent neurologists and academics began receiving a similar package in the mail: a beautifully printed book with a note. The message to the recipients advised them that they’d been selected to crack a mysterious code, but no one knew where the packages had originated from. “The Psychopath Test” is the story of the journey to crack that code and how it informs the diagnosis and treatment of psychopaths. What do we know about the industry of diagnosing madness?

Read this Snapshot if you:

  • Wonder how mental illness is diagnosed — and if there might be mistakes in the process
  • Want to go behind-the-scenes of mental health facilities
  • Are interested in how the mentally ill are treated
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Introduction

The curious case of a strange book, with its exquisite illustrations, fine paper, missing words, and elliptical aphorisms, baffled all those who received it. Some pages had been left blank; others had shapes carefully cut out. One of the recipients, a London neurologist named Deborah, called author Jon Ronson to put his investigative skills to work and figure out the source of the books, along with why the book urged its recipients to crack a special code. Ronson’s journey took him to several countries in Europe and North America, chasing down scant leads and looking into...

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