Making a Psychopath Book Summary - Making a Psychopath Book explained in key points
Listen to the Intro

Making a Psychopath summary

Mark Freestone

My Journey Into Seven Dangerous Minds

4.5 (92 ratings)
24 mins

Brief summary

Making a Psychopath by Mark Freestone is a compelling exploration of the factors that shape the minds of individuals who commit heinous crimes, presenting insights from neurobiology, psychology, and criminology.

Table of Contents

    Making a Psychopath
    Summary of 6 key ideas

    Audio & text in the Blinkist app
    Key idea 1 of 6

    Psychopathy is a mental health condition that is a risk factor for violent crime.

    To start things off, there’s someone you should meet. His name is Ben.

    When Ben was a young man, he and a few of his accomplices got themselves arrested after attempting a raid on an armored money truck – a rather ill-thought-through scheme concocted by Ben’s stepfather. Needless to say, things didn’t go according to plan.

    Ben served his sentence and was eventually released. But, after only two weeks of freedom, he immediately began plotting revenge against his stepfather, who he believed had set him up. Ben got a bag and filled it up with a whole toolset’s worth of hammers, saws, and knives. Then, he went to pay his stepfather a visit.

    But, as luck would have it, Ben never arrived at his stepfather’s place because, along the way, he bumped into an old friend from school who convinced him to go out for a drink. After a few pints, Ben spilled the beans about his murderous plans, and upon hearing this, his friend, fortunately, managed to persuade him to reconsider.

    The two friends drank late into the night, and eventually set off cheerily for home. Before they parted ways, in a moment of profound misjudgment, the friend teased Ben for being, as he put it, “a pussy” for not going through with the murder. At which point, having taken offense at the slight, Ben pulled a hammer from his bag and proceeded to beat his friend to death with it.

    Now, Ben, if it isn’t already clear, is a psychopath. All the signs were there: he showed little remorse, never taking responsibility for his crimes; he committed a heinous act of violence for little more than a bruised ego; and, he exhibited a warped sense of self-righteousness by feeling entitled enough to hurt those who wronged him.

    Stories like Ben’s are exactly why psychopaths have such a fascinating appeal to the public. Ben’s behavior was so inexplicable, that the story’s almost unbelievable. How is it possible that someone could casually commit such an atrocious crime when the rest of us would feel guilty just thinking about it?

    Well, the short answer is that psychopaths like Ben lack something very important that normal people possess – they lack the ability to feel that other beings have value in their own right. From this one little shortcoming, we can explain all the typical characteristics of psychopaths from their lack of empathy to their tendency to hurt and manipulate others.

    Still, the fact that Ben was a psychopath doesn’t explain everything. It explains how he could murder his friend in cold blood, but it doesn’t really explain why he did it. To understand that, you’d have to look at Ben’s particular psychological makeup, such as his super-brittle ego and hair-trigger impulsivity.

    The fact that Ben was a psychopath made him far more disposed to commit murder than a healthy individual. But, to explain why he decided to kill this particular person on this particular day, just saying “he’s a psychopath” doesn’t cut it.

    Want to see all full key ideas from Making a Psychopath?

    Key ideas in Making a Psychopath

    More knowledge in less time
    Read or listen
    Read or listen
    Get the key ideas from nonfiction bestsellers in minutes, not hours.
    Find your next read
    Find your next read
    Get book lists curated by experts and personalized recommendations.
    Shortcasts New
    We’ve teamed up with podcast creators to bring you key insights from podcasts.

    What is Making a Psychopath about?

    Making a Psychopath (2020) is a thrilling foray into the disturbed workings of the psychopathic mind. With the help of a series of case studies, it addresses many of the misconceptions about psychopaths that we often see in the media. Taking an empathetic approach, it humanizes the people who have this disorder and considers their prospects for recovery.

    Making a Psychopath Review

    Making a Psychopath (2021) explores the intriguing world of psychopathy and why people should take notice. Here's why this book is definitely worth reading:

    • It delves into the inner workings of psychopathic minds, giving readers a rare glimpse into their thoughts and actions.
    • With its meticulous research and expert analysis, it offers a comprehensive understanding of psychopathy, making it a valuable resource for psychology enthusiasts.
    • The book challenges common misconceptions about psychopathy, stimulating critical thinking and promoting a better understanding of this complex personality disorder.

    Who should read Making a Psychopath?

    • Fans of the show Killing Eve
    • Lovers of true crime
    • Anyone who wants to know whether their boss really is a psychopath

    About the Author

    Mark Freestone is a reader in mental health at Queen Mary University of London. He’s a leading expert on psychopathy, with over 15 years of experience working in some of the UK’s highest-security prisons, alongside the most notorious and violent criminals of recent times. He was also brought on as a consultant for the TV series Killing Eve, where he helped to craft the personality of the show's antihero, Villanelle.

    Categories with Making a Psychopath

    Book summaries like Making a Psychopath

    People ❤️ Blinkist 
    Sven O.

    It's highly addictive to get core insights on personally relevant topics without repetition or triviality. Added to that the apps ability to suggest kindred interests opens up a foundation of knowledge.

    Thi Viet Quynh N.

    Great app. Good selection of book summaries you can read or listen to while commuting. Instead of scrolling through your social media news feed, this is a much better way to spend your spare time in my opinion.

    Jonathan A.

    Life changing. The concept of being able to grasp a book's main point in such a short time truly opens multiple opportunities to grow every area of your life at a faster rate.

    Renee D.

    Great app. Addicting. Perfect for wait times, morning coffee, evening before bed. Extremely well written, thorough, easy to use.

    People also liked these summaries

    4.7 Stars
    Average ratings on iOS and Google Play
    31 Million
    Downloads on all platforms
    10+ years
    Experience igniting personal growth
    Powerful ideas from top nonfiction

    Try Blinkist to get the key ideas from 7,000+ bestselling nonfiction titles and podcasts. Listen or read in just 15 minutes.

    Start your free trial

    Making a Psychopath FAQs 

    What is the main message of Making a Psychopath?

    The main message of Making a Psychopath is...

    How long does it take to read Making a Psychopath?

    The estimated reading time for Making a Psychopath is...

    Is Making a Psychopath a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Making a Psychopath is worth reading because...

    Who is the author of Making a Psychopath?

    The author of Making a Psychopath is...

    What to read after Making a Psychopath?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Making a Psychopath, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • The Wisdom of Psychopaths by Kevin Dutton
    • Snakes in Suits by Paul Babiak and Robert D. Hare
    • The Upside of Your Dark Side by Todd Kashdan and Robert Biswas-Diener
    • Dangerous Personalities by Joe Navarro
    • Read People Like a Book by Patrick King
    • The Charisma Myth by Olivia Fox Cabane
    • The Silent Language of Leaders by Carol Kinsey Goman
    • Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman
    • The Myth of Normal by Gabor Maté with Daniel Maté
    • Discipline Is Destiny by Ryan Holiday