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Psychopaths are ‘More Successful’ in Life, Says Expert Author – What?!?

The Good Psychopath?
(Photo by Phil Bray/MGM Pictures/Universal Pictures/Dino DeLaurentiis)

Before you think this guy wants us to start behaving like Hannibal Lecter,  read on.

The Telegraph, a leading British newspaper, has a story today about how people can succeed more frequently in life by utilizing behavioral traits associated with psychopathic people.

Theo Merz writes about a new book published by Oxford University psychology professor Kevin Dutton.     His new book, “The Good Psycopath’s Guide to Success” details how certain behaviors found in psychopaths can actually help with work, and relationships.

Psychopaths, such as Ted Bundy, and the fictional Hannibal Lecter in Silence of the Lambs, and other such people,   possess five distinct behaviors that if used correctly,  can benefit anyone.

They are fearlessness,  ruthlessness,  self-confidence, focus,  and lack of empathy. These traits enable psychopaths to carry out their deeds with clarity and are what often make them so difficult to catch.   These traits also tend to reflect their intelligence.    But Dutton writes,  if used for GOOD purposes, they can make our lives better.


Donald Trump, Mark Cuban, and other famous business tycoons possess these characteristics, says Dutton.

Fearlessness enables people to pursue jobs, relationships and other endeavors without being afraid they will fail.  Ruthlessness allows someone to pursue or complete a task despite opposition or resistance from others – doing the tough, but necessary things.  Self-confidence ties these two together, the ability to believe you’re going to succeed. It’s the ability to strike out on one’s own.

Focus is obviously necessary to succeed, especially in work and business.  Dutton says psychopaths actually are very good at blocking outside distractions to complete their agenda. A psychopath would make a good military leader,  first-responder, or do well in pressure-packed situations that require decisive, quick decisions.

And lack of empathy allows one to complete tasks or especially pursue business ventures that require tough,  unpleasant but necessary decisions. They won’t cave in to emotional pressures.

Dutton says the difference between Lecter and “normal” people is the ability to know WHEN and how MUCH of these traits to utilize.     He says a businessperson, for example, or someone in a relationship, has to know when to NOT turn off the empathy meter to avoid overly hurting someone.

The reason people like Bundy were so destructive is because their use of these traits was dysfunctional or abnormal.  If misused at the expense of others, or if linked to mental illness, they can be devastatingly bad.

He says these traits would be useful for people who find themselves trapped in dysfunctional or damaging relationships.   Utilizing more “psychopathic” traits would allow them to more easily break away and pursue healthier lives and relationships.

Dutton says we’re all psychopaths.  It’s just a matter of what degree we utilize the tendencies.

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