Review: The Psychopath Test – Jon Ronson

“What if society wasn’t fundamentally rational, but was motivated by insanity? This thought sets Jon Ronson on an utterly compelling adventure into the world of madness.

Along the way, Jon meets psychopaths, those whose lives have been touched by madness and those whose job it is to diagnose it, including the influential psychologist who developed the Psychopath Test, from whom Jon learns the art of psychopath-spotting. A skill which seemingly reveals that madness could indeed be at the heart of everything.”

The Psychopath Test – A Journey Through the Madness Industry is a non-fiction book, written by the Welsh journalist Jon Ronson. The book features interviews, thoughts and people that Ronson came across during his journey of learning about psychopaths and how to spot them using the Hare Psychopathy Checklist.

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As I rarely come across this type of journalistic non-fiction in my home library, I have to admit that I didn’t have any expectations to go from when reading this book – or when reviewing it.

However, I can say that I enjoyed it a lot, as it was both an informative and at times suspenseful read.

Coming from a background of lots and lots of school books, I have gotten used to how non-fiction is often written dryly, only including facts and no emotion. Usually, I actually enjoy objective literature, as it gives room for me to make my own opinions. However, the first thing I noticed in The Psychopath Test was how alive, Ronson narrates his actions and experiences. It felt like I was reading fiction, but the names, events and locations mentioned were very much real. To my surprise, I greatly enjoyed this way of narrating non-fiction, as it made otherwise mundane people and interviews more exciting with Ronson narrating them like events of a story.

The most obvious way that Ronson does this is by pulling himself into the story. He is not just a journalist, but a man, who becomes friends and enemies with the people he meets. Ronson becomes the protagonist of the book, and this personal inclusion of himself is what I loved the most about it.

Another interesting feature was one, I only realized had been there, as I was reading the second half of the book. Throughout the narrative, Ronson includes tiny paragraphs of reflection on what he learns about psychopaths, but more so on what he realizes about himself and society. He constantly finds psychopathic traits in himself and the people around him, and thereby starts to question the idea of self-diagnosis and putting people into certain boxes. It is interesting how Ronson, as he gains more knowledge through books and interviews on psychopathic behavior, becomes increasingly doubtful of his own mental state.

While I didn’t find the book as hilarious as the reviews on the cover promised, I did find it extremely entertaining (and sympathetic even) how Ronson includes his own bad sides, bad quotes and naive opinions in the narrative. He does not try to sugar coat his own personality or interviewing skills. He portrays his flaws to the audience, and this makes him seem human and likeable. And he probably narrated it like that, because he knows this. (Could that be a sign of Item 5 on Hare’s checklist: Cunning/manipulative?)

I wasn’t quite sure where the book was heading, as I was reading it. However, I found that this was okay, because the narration was so enthralling. Ronson was able to show both good and bad sides of the people he interviewed, which made them more realistic, while also adding suspense. On an end note, I would like to mention how I found Ronson’s small paragraphs of meta comments incredibly fun and quirky.

The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson (English), 292 pages, Picador

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Teaser Tuesdays #10

Current read: Classic Tales of Horror – Edgar Allen Poe

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Teaser:

“True! – Nervous – very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why will you say that I am mad?” p. 167

 

 

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of A Daily Rhythm.

It’s a New Year, It’s 2018!

Phew,
What happened? Where did I go? Was 2017 even in the calendar? Did I miss something?

2017 has been quite the rollercoaster for me, so I am happy to take a first step into a new and hopefully great year – where I may or may not take more care of this blog of mine.

The lack of posts the last year was a result of the extreme lack of reading books – no books? No books to write about.

I managed to finish reading my first book of 2018 on the fourth of January, so I am taking that as a good sign! However, my pessimistic brain tells me otherwise.

Happy New Year, everyone! Let 2018 be great for us all!

Shia

Game-Related Books

As some may know, I loves games, and hope to study game design (or something along that line) in the near future. I have recently come to own a few game-related books, and thought I would share them with you here on Fighting Books.

Reality is Broken – Jane McGonigal

reality

In this book, Jane McGonigal, a woman I look very much up to, explains alternate reality games, examples of these, and how to create them yourself. What is more important is that she discusses how these kind of games can not only be viewed as entertainment and an escape from reality, but also how they can improve the world and the lives of the people playing them.

Buy the Book

Introduction to Game Analysis – Clara Fernández-Vara

analysis

This book contains a framework on how to study, research and analyse a video game. It mentions different areas you can analyse (context, game overview, formal elements), and explains how to take this knowledge and use it to write the analysis.

Buy the Book

The Well-played Game – Bernard De Koven

wellplayed

Instead of focusing directly on the new game technologies out there, this book focuses on games in general (board games, sports, kids play, etc.) and offers a guide to how games work. Bernard De Koven focuses on social play, and what it means to play well together.

Buy the Book

Ready Player One – Ernest Cline

ready

Differing from the above mentioned books, Ready Player One is a fictional science-fiction novel about the virtual reality game OASIS, and the boy Wade Watts, who participates in the puzzles of this game. Since I have not yet read the book, I can not give a very detailed description of the plot, but I look very much forward to reading it.

Buy the Book

gamebooks

Fighting Books: New Layout!

I’m Back!

After five months without posting, I decided it was finally time to get back to blogging once again – especially now that my summer vacation has finally started.

So here I am, with a whole new layout for Fighting Books, because why not?

Here are before and after screenshots of the blog:

Before

before

After

after

As you can see, the blog became a tad more minimalistic and bright, less pink and more mint, and it will from now on (hopefully) have feature images on each post.

Do tell me what you think!

I also finally got to make an Instagram account specifically for Fighting Books, which you can find here:

Fighting

@fightingbooks

Go follow Fighting Books on Instagram, if you’re interested!

As always, have a great day,

Shia

New Books: February 2016

Hi

I may or may not have spent a lot of money on 15 books, just to have books for the next many months to come.. But well, books are nice!

The books I got:

  • Harry Potter (Box set) – J. K. Rowling
  • Fifty Shades of Grey (Box set) – E. L. James
  • Ready Player One – Ernest Cline
  • Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock – Matthew Quick
  • Passenger – Alexandra Bracken
  • Business Model generation – Alexander Osterwalder et. al.
  • Value Proposition Design – Alexander Osterwalder et. al.

Shia

TBR 2016

tbr 2016

I have honestly never had much of a TBR (to-be-read) list in my life, since I never knew of enough books (or could control my varying preferences in books). But for some reason 2016 would be the year, where I finally pulled myself together to create a list of the books I would like to read this year.

The list may not be long enough to last for the entire year, since my reading challenge of 2016 is reading at least 24 books (minimum of two each month), or it may be too long – I can’t predict my future reading patterns, haha! The below mentioned books are the ones that I really hope to read in 2016.

My TBR List of 2016:

  • Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
  • Ready Player One – Ernest Cline
  • Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock – Matthew Quick
  • Passenger – Alexandra Bracken
  • The Hollow Kingdom – Clare B. Dunkle
  • Through The Woods – Emily Carroll
  • Introduction to Game Analysis – Clara Fernández-Vara
  • Business Model generation – Alexander Osterwalder et. al.
  • Value Proposition Design – Alexander Osterwalder et. al.
  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – J. K. Rowling
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – J. K. Rowling
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – J. K. Rowling
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – J. K. Rowling
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – J. K. Rowling
  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince – J. K. Rowling
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – J. K. Rowling
  • Fifty Shades of Grey – E. L. James
  • Fifty Shades Darker – E. L. James
  • Fifty Shades Freed – E. L. James
  • Skammerens Datter (The Shamer’s Daughter) – Lene Kaaberbøl
  • Skammertegnet – Lene Kaaberbøl
  • Slangens Gave – Lene Kaaberbøl
  • Skammerkrigen – Lene Kaaberbøl

I will also add this list to a new page on the blog, which I will call “TBR” – I may or may not add books to this list through the year.

Shia

New Books: January 2016

Hello

Here’s another haul post, since I held my birthday in January, instead of December and therefore received some more books!

All of the books are in Danish, whereas the first two are books full of Vietnamese and Japanese recipees. The last book is a comic that has been partly edited by one of my good friends, which is awesome.

The books I got:

  • Lêlês gadekøkken – Anh Lê
  • Wagamama – Hugo Arnold
  • Muld & Mille: Lotusdammens vogter – Niels Roland

Shia

New Books: December 2015

Hi!

I received a lot of great books from my mom on my birthday and christmas this year, and as usual December is the time of the year, where I get the most new books.

All of the books in this haul, except one, are based on graphics and visuals, whereas some are concept art books, and other are comics. The last book is an acedemic book created as a framework for people to analyse video games.

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The books I got:

  • The Art of Spirited Away – Hayao Miyazaki
  • Through the Woods – Emily Carroll
  • This Books Loves You – Pewdiepie
  • Pig the Pug – Aaron Blabey
  • Introduction to Game Analysis – Clara Fernández-Vara

Shia