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What careers attract the most and fewest psychopaths

January 2, 2013 | By Abraham | 22 comments

In his book The Wisdom of Psychopaths: What Saints, Spies, and Serial Killers Can Teach Us About Success, Kevin Dutton lists the top vocations that psychopaths are drawn toward and, conversely, the vocations that the fewest psychopaths go into…

(via Boing Boing, Barking Up the Wrong Tree)

22 Comments

    1. Bartman says:

      I’m guessing because these are based on statistics of known psychopaths.
      These are observations of existing data, not predictions.
      In other words, detecting patterns in past lottery numbers is no guarantee of predicting a winning lottery number.

      Just sayin’.

    2. grngeekgirl says:

      Erm… well, what do you think we should do, give all people with sociopathy the chair? Only a fraction of people who qualify as having the disorder become murderers or something. Many don’t even break laws.

    3. damon says:

      Hi Jeff, It’s not against the law to be a psychopath and it cant be helped.There are many pro-social psychopaths who live harm free lives. It is estimated that 1 in 100 people are psychopaths.
      Consider a person who flies drone aircraft for the military in order to pay the bills. Most of them have no idea what ripped flesh and exposed bone looks like yet they know that innocent men , women and children are victims of their bombs. Are they psychopaths ? regards :)

  1. ObjectiveReality says:

    A couple of the more common psychopathic traits are surface charisma and a flair for improvisation – it means they tend to be a) fairly likeable in person (if they can be bothered) and b) pretty good at lying and faking their way out of sticky situations, at least in the short term. Hence tricky to catch when they’re criminal.

    Also “psychopath” doesn’t equal criminality. The tendency not to care about others means that criminality may seem more attractive to them than to other people, but it’s not a given.

  2. B says:

    I beg to differ. I work front desk at a hair salon filled with plenty of stylists. There is nothing sane about those women.

    1. Damaia says:

      Crazy doesn’t immediately mean psychopathy. Creative people tend to be a little more unhinged in my experience, but they’re a different kind of crazy from CEOs.

  3. Joe says:

    I wanted to be a lawyer when I was in junior high, and I wanted to go into business when I was in high school. I am now going to college for journalism and broadcasting. Should I be worried, or should my loved ones?

  4. Al says:

    Where has he got these stats from.. theres a lack of any refferencing in this book
    where can someone retreve data regarding known psychopaths and their prevous employment

  5. Tink says:

    I don’t know about the research behind this list, though this isn’t the first time claims about psychopathy and jobs have been made. I remember hearing a while ago that actually a larger proportion of people than we expected actually fulfil the criteria of sociopathy, and of these many were working in certain fields.

    Arguments about where it’s coming from aside (and defining psychopaths and sociopaths technically), this list is not inherently surprising. Jobs that give someone a lot of prestige or power, preferably without having to ‘care too much’ about people would easily be attractive to psychopaths. Then there’s the fact that many top-ranking jobs actually pretty much select for charm and self-confidence, ruthlessness, being calculating, single-minded determination, commitment to work over interpersonal relationships as important qualities in that role.

    It’s not that a psychopath can’t be a hairdresser, but rather that psychopaths can excel at work in certain often highly-regarded fields particularly because they don’t have the emotional attachments that others do, allowing them to focus on a gruelling career with no guilt or desire to have a better work/life balance.

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