How is everyone’s 2020 so far? Have you made resolutions on New Year’s Eve that looked way more fun in the light of glittering champagne and the countdown heard in the background?
Well, you’re not alone. Shocking, I know, but in the spirit of creating and accomplishing New Year’s resolutions, I too made a list of things that need improving. For me, as perhaps for many of you, translating the cute bullet point list to action is something that hardly ever happens.
This year, however, is different! This year, I am plunging into the magical and obscure world of self-help books, life coaching, repeated affirmations and psychological tricks that will help me reach all my goals.
Watch out 2020!
I’m coming for blood, and the book I’m starting out with is quite fitting – The Good Psychopath’s Guide to Success by Kevin Dutton and Andy McNab.
With a 3.82 score on Goodreads, and an inescapable presence in libraries ever since it’s release in 2014, this book was bound to catch my eye eventually.
A book about what?
The Good Psychopath’s Guide to Success is part of a trilogy narrowing in on psychopathic behaviour but unlike the other two, it instructs its readers on how to use their ‘inner psychopath to get the most of [their] life’. One part psychology, two parts anecdotes and one part personality tests for the reader, this reading experience is rich in perspectives and styles while following the red thread of psychopathy.
Speaking of psychopathy, Dr Kevin Dutton emphasises the difference between a GOOD PSYCHOPATH and a BAD PSYCHOPATH all throughout the book.
Along the ten chapters, the reader is shown how to be aware of the natural inhibitions that keep us from reaching our goals, and what a good psychopath would do instead.
What makes a good psychopath?
Granted, the bad psychopath is the one most people think of. The one with the chainsaw, the criminal smile and no remorse, whereas the good psychopath, is the one that keeps calm in the face of crisis and takes decisions with no hesitation and second-guessing. Andy McNab, the co-author of this work embodies such a person. As a SAS hero, ‘McNab is a diagnosed psychopath’, but the good kind. The kind that can adjust ‘qualities such as ruthlessness, fearlessness, conscience and empathy to get the very best out of himself’ and fit within the circumstances.
Along the ten chapters, the reader is shown how to be aware of the natural inhibitions that keep us from reaching our goals, and what a good psychopath would do instead. We learn to see the qualities specific to psychopaths (charm, lack of scruples, lack of fear, impulsivity, self-confidence, focus, coolness under pressure, mental intransigence, charisma, diminished empathy, and lack of conscience), as graded buttons on the control panel of our minds. We are shown how to spot the situations in which to dial them up or down. And find out which professional and career environments are best suited for Good Psychopaths.
The nitty-gritty of psychopathy
Bear with me for a bit of psychology jargon, that I managed to easily understand thanks to the dual-faceted writing of this book.
At the core of human behaviour lies the ‘communication’ between the amygdala – the centre for emotions and the prefrontal cortex – the centre for reason and the rest of the body. These two centres are the basis for decisions at the neuronal level.
As the prefrontal cortex has more recently developed in the human brain, it allows the amygdala to take over in times of stress, it being the last defence in case of crisis.
Light holiday reading, perhaps?
Counter-intuitive as it may sound, this book is perfect to read at the beginning of a new decade when everything still seems possible (the second half of January is already too late) because it inspires readers to find new resources within themselves to tackle those pesky New Year’s resolutions.
If you are curious to learn what is the right amount of self-confidence in persuasion, why are babies always getting what they want, where do you score on the scale of psychopathy, or if you simply like a quick psycho-analysis of movie and tv series characters, then this book is right for you!
Do you want more pop psychology?
This ends our swift submersion into the depths of self-help for now, and while I can’t tell you to expect overnight fame and glory after reading this book, I am willing to test the waters myself and try out these teachings in the following month and check back with the results.
Don’t worry, this year we’re all getting fit, successful and happy!
Cover: Isaac Smith