How to Spot a Sociopath . . . And Our Next Giveaway

THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED.

The deadline for this giveaway was 11:59 P.M. (Eastern Time) on April 1, 2013. Keep reading to learn more about Confessions of a Sociopath by M.E. Thomas. Subscribe at the top of this page to get updates on our Read It First giveaways.

Spotting a Sociopath
by M.E. Thomas, author of Confessions of a Sociopath

As author and diagnosed sociopath M.E. Thomas says of her fellow sociopaths, “We are your neighbors, co-workers, and quite possibly the people closest to you: lovers, family, friends. Our risk-seeking behavior and general fearlessness are thrilling, our glibness and charm alluring. Our often quick wit and outside-the-box thinking make us appear intelligent – even brilliant. We climb the corporate ladder faster than the rest, and appear to have limitless self-confidence. Who are we? We are highly successful, non-criminal sociopaths and we comprise 4% of the American population (that’s 1 in 25 people!).”

M.E. Thomas put together these real-life scenarios to take you on a journey into the mind of a sociopath, giving you a glimpse – for the very first time – of a group of people “hiding in plain sight.” Can you spot a sociopath? Continue reading and find out.

SCENARIO #1. Veronica is trying to make it to a friend’s wedding, but she leaves too late and gets stuck in a blizzard. Rather than turn back around, she keeps driving, and drives too fast for the conditions. After trying unsuccessfully to pass a truck, her car veers off the road and gets stuck in a snowdrift. She tries unsuccessfully to dislodge the car herself, until she is picked up by a police officer who drops her off at the nearest gas station, suggesting that she stay the night in an adjacent motel. Instead, she flags down the next trucker leaving the station and hitchhikes the rest of the two-hour drive.

COULD VERONICA BE A SOCIOPATH? M.E. THOMAS SAYS “YES.” It’s possible that Veronica is just a very well-meaning friend who knows that it is important for her to attend the wedding and be supportive. In this case, though, Veronica is a sociopath who is attending the wedding so she can show up the bride. She would have turned back, perhaps, if she realized that the whole trip was going to be more trouble than it was worth, but her mind doesn’t register risks the same way that a normal mind might. She saw nothing unusually risky about driving in a blizzard, passing trucks on a snowed-in highway, being stuck in a snowdrift, or hitchhiking with a stranger. And because she is used to things working out her way (or close enough), she may never learn to see those things for the risks that they are.

SCENARIO #2. Alan’s co-worker confesses that she has been on the kidney donor transplant list for the past three years and undergoes weekly dialysis. Alan immediately offers his own kidney. Her doctors don’t even consider him because obvious differences in race and size make him an unsuitable candidate.

COULD ALAN BE A SOCIOPATH? THOMAS SAYS “YES.” This could be altruism (for obvious reasons) or it could be sociopathic. According to Alan, “I’m not 100% sure why I made that offer. I was ready to be tested if it came to that, but of course I assumed it wouldn’t – I assumed correctly. But just making the gesture sealed her to me. I’d be lying if I said I planned it all that way. I knew there would be some advantage of course, but not the extent of it or how useful she would actually end up being to me years later.” I would randomly donate my kidney too, probably, except that I would be worried that there would be a better, more profitable or clutch opportunity to donate my kidney in the future but I would have already blown the opportunity.

SCENARIO #3. Pam is a ballroom dancer. She marries Gary, a gay dancer. She is very proud of him because he makes her look like a million bucks. Gary spends all of her money, wrecking her credit rating.

COULD PAM BE A SOCIOPATH? THOMAS SAYS “NO.” Maybe this is an example of a poor unsuspecting woman being swindled out of her money by a sociopath. In this situation, however, she is a narcissist, and he is just an opportunist gold digger deciding he would rather be rich and in a false marriage than poor and completely free. As a narcissist, the most important thing to Pam is how she appears to others, not the daily reality of her life, and so she is never really victimized. They both got what they wanted: – her the admiration of others; him the money. A sociopath wouldn’t need to marry a gay man to look charming and desirable, but even if she did, she certainly wouldn’t be proud of him.

SCENARIO #4. Alice went to a printing shop late at night and was crunched for time. After doing what she needed to do, she went to leave but realized her keys had been locked in the car. She called a locksmith, but decided to break the driver’s window instead of wasting time waiting for the locksmith to arrive. She also failed to call the locksmith, to do him the courtesy of telling him he shouldn’t bother coming. Alice made it back in time to finish her project by the deadline.

COULD ALICE BE A SOCIOPATH? THOMAS SAYS “YES.” Maybe this is a quick-thinking person with remarkable presence of mind to make tough (and violent) decisions based on a quick cost benefit analysis. In this situation, however, it is a sociopath making an impulsive decision based on the immediate exigencies of a situation. According to Alice, “I had the window fixed the next day with a stolen credit card. The card was taken from a wallet I found in the parking lot of the print shop.”

  • Patricia

    Should be an enlightening book about sociopaths. Never realized that there were
    many kinds.

    • http://www.facebook.com/katerados Kate Rados Hernandez

      I feel like there could be a whole discussion around these sorts of labels. Effective? Dangerous? I don’t know. What I do know is: don’t hitchhike in a snow storm!

  • http://www.facebook.com/kaari.byington Kaari Byington

    love to win this…looks like a good read.

  • http://www.facebook.com/johnnaquick Johnna Quick

    This one sounds really great, I will look forward to reading it!

  • http://www.facebook.com/foreverlll Carrie Seckman

    Cannot wait for this read!

  • Tee

    this looks interesting, would love to win!

  • http://twitter.com/aceteacher Liz

    This sounds like a fascinating book!

  • http://www.facebook.com/tami.meyer1 Tami Meyer

    I didn’t realize that there was such a thing as a functioning sociopath…one that doesn’t kill or do harm in one way or another. This sounds like a very interesting book!

    • Sandra Frida Linnéa Malm

      I think you’re confusing it with Psychopaths. Sociopaths focus on manipulation rather than physical abuse.

  • http://www.facebook.com/cynthyl Cynthy Lamb

    would loove to read this book n understand how socipaths operates

  • Anon

    Sounds very interesting…………….

  • http://www.facebook.com/sarah.w.kauffman Sarah Wire Kauffman

    Fascinating!

  • Libby

    Great voyage inside of the mind and behavior of the sociopath. I know several people who would do or have done things similar to the scenarios.

    • http://www.readitforward.com/ Kira, editor @ Read It Forward

      Libby, I thought the same thing when I read these scenarios – I think you’ll be fascinated by CONFESSIONS OF A SOCIOPATH.

  • myneurotica

    This looks like a very interesting book!!!!

  • Heather

    Thanks

  • shanon hyatt sanchez

    Sounds very interesting-hope to win a copy-Good luck everyone. Have a wonderful weekend and happy Easter to all who celebrate the holiday.

  • http://www.facebook.com/toni.syring Toni Syring

    this sounds like a creepy but very interesting sign of the times book.

  • Angie

    Looks like a fascinating early-summer read!

  • BrendaParker

    Should be an interesting story. I just hope it doesn’t scare me to death! :O

    • MikeHunt

      I have a sociopathic sister, who is functioning in society- they aren’t all murderers, but they are the coldest people on earth -especially when they have drained your resources….this sister actually is socially isolating my father, who has ALzheimer’s, and gets angry with anyone who disagrees with her trying to make them believe he isn’t suffering from anything but old age. She got him to change his will leaving her everything, and since he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, she”s worried that the will will be overturned. My father is scared to death of her…but her “sweet, suck-up act” is so convincing, the social worker who interviewed them fell for her story that his deafness casuses him to not understand a lot of what is being said to him ( when in reality- ALzheimer’s not only affects your short term memory, but also causes you to not understand what is being said to you, becasue of a lack of being able to understand a thought, and it also affect vision)..She’s working on his doctor- who referred him for geriatric testing – to try to get the diagnosis overturned…She works hard at manipulating people. She even had an abnortion and made a really big deal about it among her ‘circle of friends’, when her boyfriend wouldn’t marry her- because he never divorced his first wife. They are still together, after more than 10 years. She has no regrets about the abortion – even though it was her last chance to have a child at her age. And the bofriend? He’s scared to death to leave her…he tried once, and she went into his office, and in front of everyone who was working, she punched him out. Another time she went to his apartment, and started smashing things…when he called police, she attacked one of them, and was charged with assault for biting him…She sucked up to the judge though, and escaped without a criminal record. And this is what one of our national courier companies in Canada have training new employees. . .But hse is really charming to the ‘right people’…

  • Sandie W

    I know of a couple of people that could very well be functional physopaths!

  • Jenny

    If I win it or not I am going to read this book . I have not one yet, so maybe since I really want to read this book it will my turn to hit the luck of the draw. Whatever it looks so intriguing, one way or another I gotta read it.

  • Merry

    In school and loving sociology – anxious to have the opportunity to possibly read more on this interesting piece of society!

  • http://www.facebook.com/jill.bratcher Jill Bratcher

    I always think of “Dexter” when I hear “sociopath” – and expect blood. I stand corrected.

  • JanA

    I have a cousin that is thought to be a sociopath. It would be very interesting to compare and contrast.

  • http://www.facebook.com/lynn.cartwright.90 Lynn L. Cartwright

    This book sounds fascinating! I’ve known two diagnosed sociopaths in my lifetime and had my concerns about some others. They functioned in society but generally left a real mess in their wake. This book would be a terrific read.

    • Nick

      You can’t get diagnosed a sociopath dumbass it’s not a psychological disorder. It’s impossible for you to know two diagnosed aspds since most sociopaths never even know or care that they are sociopaths. That’s like saying you know two wanted serial killers. They can only blend in for a very short amount of time before they humiliate and assault someone. You don’t understand that the term sociopath means to destroy society. Meaning a person actually has to wreak havoc on a lot of damn people to be considered a sociopath. You can’t label every asshole a sociopath, otherwise we would all be sociopaths for cryin out loud!

  • Carol L

    Thanks so much for this giveaway opportunity.
    Carol L

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001907705448 Mary Mcmenamy

    hope to win

  • Tara

    This one sounds soooo good.. they always have the best book reviews around here !!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/debbie.warila Debbie Warila

    It sure seems that there are a lot more sociopaths in our society in recent years. Scary…

    • CamilleToews

      iT’S ALL ABOUT THE “ME” GENERATION

  • http://www.facebook.com/krystlewv Crystal Wall

    This should be very interesting….the kind of interesting that keeps you up at night. I cant wait to read it, I hope it comes to my mail box. If not Ill keep reading the inserts and hope to get it at the library one day soon!

  • Tang

    Sounds interesting

  • Sally C

    “Confessions of a Sociopath” sounds fascinating and is a book I would definitely like to read. Sure would love to win it!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001195485108 Beatrice Pierre

    Very interesting! I would love to read this.

  • Momma Bear

    Totally WILD! A functioning Sociopath .. figures she’d be a lawyer! LOL! omg! I don’t know which part of this makes me laugh more! Just as long as she isn’t a Supreme Court nominee!

    • Sandra Frida Linnéa Malm

      Actually, both Sociopaths and Psychopaths are known to have high end jobs with great pay.

    • Nick

      What are you fucking stupid or something? She’s not a sociopath!

  • Audra T.

    This sounds like a fascinating read! I am really hoping that I win this one more than any other! *fingers crossed*

  • Laura

    This looks interesting.

  • cocchino

    This sounds fascinating. Thanks for the chance to win it.

  • Nick

    Oh man, this book gives me chills just reading the description, as it brings me back to sociopaths I knew in my life. It’s good to see a book out there to help others who have experienced the destruction of a sociopath in their life, as well as spread awareness to those who have yet to come across any in their lifetime. I look forward to reading this.

  • L. McReynolds

    Would love to read this. It may help explain the behavior of someone I’ve become aquainted with but just can’t seem to understand. It’s making me crazy! :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/susan.wiener.3 Susan Wiener

    hope to win. Sounds riveting!

  • http://www.facebook.com/maryjomosier Mary Jo Mosier

    I really hope to win this book. I have family that this relates to :D ( Maybe me)

  • http://twitter.com/LLBahn Lori Bahn

    Never knew there we so many kinds, freaky

  • carmen

    thanks!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000802544342 Ty Williams

    Very interesting to hear and know how sociopaths minds work.

  • http://twitter.com/NemawPam Pam Walters

    Can’t wait to read this one…the more I learn what makes those kind of people tic the better I can understand them.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Cheryl-Burns/100001451776154 Cheryl Burns

    will be an interesting read…

  • http://www.facebook.com/pgsloss Pamela Garner Sloss

    It’s not 11:59PM on 4/1/13. How is it over? I want the book….

    • RadosRH

      You’re absolutely right, Pamela! First thing this morning we went in and conquered the gremlins in the machine. Sweepstakes is back on until tonight 11:59PM ET. Good luck and sorry for the inconvenience! — Kate

  • RadosRH

    Hey guys – Kate here from Read It Forward. Nope, it’s not an April Fool’s prank: we had a technical glitch with some of our timing software, which caused the entry form to magically disappear for some of you. Our apologies and the sweepstakes is BACK ON until tonight, 11:59pm ET. Good luck!

  • Debi B

    This sounds like a book everyone should read.We need to understand people and how their minds work.
    GLTA

  • http://www.facebook.com/carol.abreo Carol Abreo

    Looks like a good read!

  • Barbara Ryan

    I look forward in learning more about Sociopaths and how to spot them.

  • ches

    “She is an accomplished attorney and law professor who writes regularly for major law journals, donates 10 percent of her income to charity, and teaches Sunday School.”

    Riiiiiiight

    • Nick

      A real sociopath would either be robbing someone or running from the cops. Professions such as Lawyer and Professer would be occupied by a narcissistic attention whore, not a menace to society!

  • Gentleman

    Saints Row, anyone?

  • Faye Stitz

    I have 2 sisters who fit the description of sociopaths. . They are really, really mean and self centered people.
    I really wish that these people could be fixed. . but unfortunately, they sem to glide through life, bullying some people, charming thse who are of a higher value.
    ANd if someone has something they want- they eventually get it.
    They are like predators.
    I haven’t spoken to either of them in years, and I dread my elderly father’s imminent passing. He lives with one of them, who – even though he is still alive- has taken over every aspect of his life- especially his finances. She is so concerned he might pass someone a few dollars for even taking him to a doctor’s appointment, she has some deal worked out with her ex-husband so they keep close tabs on him.
    Sad that an old person in his final years, is victimized by someone who is so greedy, a few thousand dollars would give her the incentive to ruin his life.

  • Sharlene Thornton

    I just got my copy of this book in the mail yesterday. I’m so excited to start reading it! Thanks!

  • pjwolf

    Sounds interesting and worth a read. Cool..

  • Betsy

    I just received my copy and am eager to start reading it!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1459952148 Lynda Glenn Richardson

    I want to thank the real person behind the mask of Sociopath. M.E.Thomas isn’t your real name correct? I have high regards for anyone who will speak up and one day maybe their words can help others.

  • Diane

    The author was on Dr. Phil’s show and is completely laughable. A fake. Phony. Not a sociopath. Pitiful. Dr. Phil pointed out that she is not a sociopath. He was scammed by her appearance on his show…..she wanted to schlep her book.

    • Sandra Frida Linnéa Malm

      Being this or that is not so black and white as you might think. You can be a sociopath with just a few traits, or all of them + extras. Dr. Phil didn’t say she WASN’T a sociopath, he commented on a few things that weren’t TYPICALLY sociopathic traits.

      You have a very ignorant and naive way of thinking.

      • Nick

        Me Thomas is obviously not a sociopath. She does not have an ignorant way of thinking, she just knows what a real sociopath is which you obviously don’t. Many people have sociopathic traits but they’re not sociopaths, a real sociopath destroys people’s lives and feels good about it. Unlike the average criminal sociopaths assault and sometimes kill others. Me Thomas looks like she’s never been in a fight her whole life! What a joke she is.

        • JustAnotherWhiteGuy

          Sociopaths don’t have to feel anything about destroying people’s lives, because sociopaths don’t believe other people to be anything more than tools. 1-4% of the population are sociopaths, yet only 20% of criminals are. That leaves quite a large number of sociopaths who are not criminals.

  • http://twitter.com/literarymafia A. @ ALiteraryMafia

    I’d like read this book. I read “The Sociopath Next Door” during my lunch hour. The person who I suspected was a sociopath on my work team asked if I was reading the book because of him (I wasn’t). I was quite surprised by his question as I kept the book under a stack of papers on my desk. He had to have riffled through my desk stuff to even see it. When I pointed that out, he tried to play coy but I could see the look of excitement in his eyes. Note to self…

  • Terry

    I have read most of the book and am having a hard time seeing the upside of having a sociopath as a friend. A very disconcerting narrative.

  • jhon

    thank god for this women i was sick of peaple tinking thy just kil and manipulate , ok some do but only psicopaths raly are adicted to kiling this women wold simply be capable of destroing a rape vitim and having a drink with her frands later but just becuse shes smart enugh to understand the diferance betwen joog and frends i bet im fasinated with sociopaths becuse my life is a full on mess

  • Linda

    Just finished reading this. It looked fascinating and I was so excited to win it.
    It was VERY slow going though. Fascinating subject, but slow reading. Read much like a textbook at times, with no real purpose or direction. Also, so little emotion I had trouble feeling anything for the author or “story”.

  • detoxexpert

    Is it possible for a sociopath to be hypnotized? I’ve been looking everywhere for an answer to this but to no avail.

  • donna

    can sociopaths be affectionate? would it bother a sociopath to see a stray dog or kill a lobster?