Surrounded by Psychopaths: How to Protect Yourself from Being Manipulated and Exploited in Business (and in Life)

Thomas Erikson. St. Martin’s Essentials, $26.99 (272p) ISBN 978-1-250-76388-4
Leadership coach Erikson (Surrounded by Idiots) devotes this unsettling and occasionally odd book to putting readers on their guard against the manipulative psychopaths “walking around among us just like everybody else.” There are a lot of these “predators in human form,” according to Erikson, perhaps “between 2 and 4 percent of the population.” Warning that “after you read this book, you might find it difficult to sleep at night,” Erikson clearly aims to titillate as well as educate, and the former aim tends to undercut the seriousness of the enterprise, as do the plentiful, and self-serving, references to his previous book. Nonetheless, he does provide plenty of supporting research he’s conducted into his subject, particularly the 20 key items on the psychopathy checklist, including “glib and superficial charm,” “callousness and lack of empathy,” and a “grandiose (exaggeratedly high) estimation of self.” The book also adds the topical note that there are undoubtedly a “large number of psychopaths in very high positions in the governments of many countries.” Some readers may be, as Erikson hopes, both entertained and enlightened, but more will be left unsure what to make of this. (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 08/28/2020
Release date: 10/06/2020
Genre: Nonfiction
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