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Wonder Boy: Barry Minkow, the Kid Who Swindled Wall Street

Akst, Daniel | Scribner's, 1990


pp. 270 - 271

“A psychopath [aka sociopath] is someone who can act without regard to conscience, victimizing people again and again without remorse. Psychologists are charming, intelligent, and make superb liars. They are unreliable and tend not to learn from experience. Amoral, they are often criminals . . . . most use people as disposable objects, and the true psychopath is probably incapable of love . . . . the psychopath usually wears a convincing mask of sanity.” Dr. Hervey Clackley described the psychopath as a sad and dangerous creature, “a subtly constructed reflex machine which can mimic the human personality perfectly,” yet lacks the deepest and most important characteristics of humanity. “Most psychopaths are men, and many were hyperactive children who felt helpless and inferior. Often they lacked a parent or strong parental discipline. In later life they frequently turn to alcohol or drugs, are wildly impulsive, boastful, irritable, and aggressive to the point of belligerence. Yet psychopaths are superficially winning and–sometimes–strangely kind. They routinely bounce checks, default on checks and break the law. They have terrible driving records. Perspective and guilt aren’t very helpful to them. They can easily justify hurting others, and they welcome risk. They also excel at manipulating people. . . . . Psychopaths are promiscuous and tend to reproduce themselves. There is evidence that their proportion in society is growing.”