Are there more good popularly accessible books on sociopathy/psychopathy?

I understand that there is some discussion on those terms, specifically between diagnosis criteria and common use. But whatever you call it, I believe I have one in my family, as the people in my thread on my brother’s kids can attest. I’ve read The Sociopath Next Door, which was written for a very general audience, and some fit and some didn’t.

The thing is, this is a person I have got to deal with and I don’t have a choice about it. I’ve been pacing the floor tonight because I’m terrified that since he’s convinced my dad he needs to stay over at his house after his wife’s death that he’s going to murder our father, okay? (I’ve taken what steps I thought were reasonable, the point is that I have a certain need and please don’t tell me I shouldn’t be diagnosing people via the Internet and such.) I am an educated person but do not have a medical or psychology degree. I do have access to interlibrary loan (I’m a public librarian.)

What titles could I read to feel more in control of the situation and give me more tools to predict future behavior?

Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us is one that I highly recommend to my students. There are aspects that are technical, but not overly so IMO. It’s written by Robert Hare, who’s widely considered the leading expert in the field, and who Martha Stout (who wrote The Sociopath Next Door) cites a lot.

There’s also Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths go To WorK, written by Paul Babiak, an I/O psychologist, and Hare. It examines the work place, but it’s still good in terms of a general overview of the behavior.

I have Bad Men Do What Good Men Dream, which has a section on psychopaths, but I haven’t read it yet.

These sound great, thanks. (I note they are all lost or “still out” from the library - perhaps I should form a support group.)

Not on sociopathy per se, but a very good and oft-recommended book on recognizing and dealing with dangerous situations of different kinds is Gavin deBecker’s The Gift of Fear. He describes how to analyze situations and ways to predict if violence will occur. It’s written in an intelligent but accessible way.

One particular emphasis that I remember is the ways that people are socialized to “be nice” and how manipulative people can take advantage of that, pushing someone to behave in ways that they want or else they’d look “mean,” which it sounds like you’re worried about with your dad. This might help you watch out for bad signs.

I read that one back in grad school, but I could probably do with a reread. (It was very useful in telling me to get the hell away from a library patron who ended up trying to follow a coworker home!)

Exactly what I was going to recommend - Without Conscience is the gold standard for a good general understanding of psychopathy. Dr. Stout’s book is a good appetizer on the subject, but Without Conscience is the main course.

While you’re waiting on the books, this is a pretty good article on Dr. Hare and psychopathy:

Dr. Robert Hare: Expert on the Psychopath