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Snakes in Suits summary

Paul Babiak and Robert D. Hare

When Psychopaths Go to Work

4.1 (88 ratings)
19 mins

Brief summary

"Snakes in Suits" by Paul Babiak and Robert D. Hare is a captivating study of psychopaths in the workplace.
It delves into the traits and tactics of these unscrupulous individuals and provides valuable insights on how to protect oneself from their harmful behavior.

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    Snakes in Suits
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    Not all psychopaths are violent serial killers.

    For most people, the mention of the word “psychopath” evokes images of serial killers and evil villains from movies, like the disturbing character of Dr. Hannibal Lecter. But how accurate of a depiction is that, really?

    Some one percent of the general population fit the criteria of the personality disorder known as psychopathy. We will dive into the traits of such individuals soon, but first we must acknowledge that there is some truth to the Hollywood image: psychopaths do tend to be more violent and prone to criminality than the general population.

    Though they represent only one percent of the general population, they are responsible for over half the serious and violent crimes that occur in society. Their violence is especially chilling since it tends to lack any emotional component; rather it's usually a cold means to an end.

    However, not all psychopaths are violent criminals and, in fact, the definition and diagnosis of psychopathy is a complicated and difficult matter. Perhaps the best description can be extracted from a diagnostic tool called the Psychopathy Checklist Revised (PCL-R).

    The checklist states that psychopathic behavior is exhibited as abnormalities in four domains of personality. In each domain, the specific psychopathic traits can be identified as follows:

    In the interpersonal domain, psychopaths are superficial, deceitful and grandiose.

    In the emotional domain, psychopaths lack empathy, remorse and the ability to take any responsibility for their actions.

    In the lifestyle domain, psychopaths tend to lack life goals and act in a very irresponsible and impulsive way in general.

    Finally, in the antisocial domain, psychopaths typically have a history of lacking behavioral control, evidenced by delinquency in adolescence and adulthood.

    These traits paint a compelling picture of remorseless, impulsive predators who take what they want and care little for the rules of society.

    However, a word of caution: readers should not jump to conclusions about themselves or someone else being a psychopath based on these criteria, as only qualified professionals can make such diagnoses, and even perfectly normal people may exhibit several of these traits.

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    What is Snakes in Suits about?

    Snakes in Suits (2006) examines what happens when a psychopath doesn’t wind up in jail, but instead puts on a suit and gets a job. The book outlines the tactics these predators use, how they damage companies and how you can protect yourself.

    Snakes in Suits Review

    Snakes in Suits (2007) offers a revealing exploration of corporate psychopaths and how they manipulate their way to the top. Here's why you should definitely read this book:

    • Backed by extensive research and case studies, it provides valuable insights into the characteristics and tactics of psychopaths in the workplace.
    • By exposing the dangers of corporate psychopathy, the book serves as a wake-up call for organizations and individuals to protect themselves from such manipulative individuals.
    • Its engaging storytelling and real-life examples make it a compelling read, ensuring that you won't find a dull moment throughout the book.

    Who should read Snakes in Suits?

    • Anyone who thinks their boss, colleague, subordinate, friend or partner may be a psychopath
    • Anyone who wants to know how to protect themselves or their company from the destructive influence of psychopaths

    About the Author

    Paul Babiak, Ph.D, is an organizational psychologist who specializes in management development. His work has been featured in the New York Times and Harvard Business Review.

    Robert D. Hare, Ph.D, is an emeritus psychology professor at the University of British Columbia and considered one of the world’s foremost experts on the phenomenon of psychopathy.

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    Snakes in Suits FAQs 

    What is the main message of Snakes in Suits?

    The main message of Snakes in Suits is to understand and identify psychopaths and other manipulative individuals in the workplace.

    How long does it take to read Snakes in Suits?

    The reading time for Snakes in Suits varies depending on the reader's speed, but it typically takes several hours. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Snakes in Suits a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Snakes in Suits is a valuable read for anyone interested in understanding workplace dynamics. It offers insight into the dark side of corporate culture and provides tools to navigate it effectively.

    Who is the author of Snakes in Suits?

    The authors of Snakes in Suits are Paul Babiak and Robert D. Hare.

    What to read after Snakes in Suits?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Snakes in Suits, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • The Lucifer Effect by Philip Zimbardo
    • In Sheep’s Clothing by George Simon Jr.
    • Making a Psychopath by Mark Freestone
    • The Wisdom of Psychopaths by Kevin Dutton
    • The Confidence Game by Maria Konnikova
    • It's Not You by Ramani Durvasula
    • The Charisma Myth by Olivia Fox Cabane
    • 7 Strategies for Wealth & Happiness by Jim Rohn
    • Win Every Argument by Mehdi Hasan
    • Rethinking Narcissism by Craig Malkin