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The Big Idea for Thursday, February 14, 2013

What can we learn from psychopaths? That's the provocative question at the heart of Dr. Kevin Dutton's provocative book The Wisdom of Psychopaths: What Saints, Spies and Serial Killers Can Teach Us About Success.

So what is the link between success and psychopathy? In order to create the greatest happiness for the greatest number, Dutton argues, someone needs to bite the bullet. That is the definition of utilitarianism. Dutton's insight is that we need a psychopath who isn't afraid to pull the trigger to make it all happen. In other words, we need psychopathic qualities in our leaders as well as in other professions that involve "dirty work." A functioning psychopath can channel certain traits to become a productive member of society, even perhaps a CEO. 

Then there is the dark side of psychopathy. Psychopaths are by definition narcissistic and highly manipulative. When you add charm to the equation it is not difficult to see how psychopaths are able to get away with abhorrent behavior. In today's lesson, Dutton walks us through the telltale signs of psychopathy, in order to help us determine whether we have encountered these behaviors in our relationships. 

 

Perspectives

  1. 1 Are You Dating a Psychopath?
    Jonathan Fowler and Elizabeth Rodd Big Think TV
  2. 2 Valentine’s Day: Its Gory, Unromantic Secret History
    Pamela Haag Harpy's Review
  3. 3 Is Love Different Across Sex and Orientation?
    Kayt Sukel World in Mind
  4. 4 What Is Love?
    Big Think Editors
 

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