Review: The Sociopath Next DoorThe concept of the book is disturbing: four percent of all people in the United States are sociopaths, meaning people who literally have no conscience and who are capable of doing anything to anyone in pursuit of what they want without regret, remorse, or even the slightest twinge of guilt. I've known people like this, you've known people like this, and it's heartening to know that you're not crazy and that people actually do act outside all mores and morals. At least you aren't dreaming it. Given that the author is a psychiatrist who supposedly taught at the Harvard Medical School for 25 years (I'm not doubting her, just noting that I haven't independently checked.), she would have the intellectual and practical background to address the subject.
From that end, I think the book is important, but I found that some of the writing itself was disappointing. For example, there are somewhat stiff phrases of quasi-academic or medical jargon that she uses repeatedly and that stick out like a sore thumb. That may be fine in a technical paper, but is stylistically out of place in a book aimed at the popular market. Also, I noticed that the author would tend to make assumptions in her explanations that didn't necessarily have enough logical basis. For example, the lack of conscience itself would not seem to be a motive for the driving need to play oneupsmanship with others. That may be a common characteristic, but it would seem to be from some other dynamic. (This is from knowing some people who would seem to be textbook sociopaths who saved their activities for going after what they wanted at the expense of all others. Crushing someone just for the sake of doing so would have been a distraction to them.) But overall, it's worth reading to at least raise the question of exactly who lives next door - or is in the next room, office, or chair.