"Let's say you're about to hire somebody for a position in your company. Your corporation wants someone who's fearless, charismatic, and full of new ideas. Candidate X is charming, smart, and has all the right answers to your questions. Problem solved, right? Maybe not.
Psychopaths may enter as rising stars and corporate saviors, but all too soon they're abusing the trust of colleagues, manipulating supervisors, and leaving the workplace in shambles. In Snakes in Suits, corporate psychologist Dr. Paul Babiak teams up with psychopathy expert Dr. Robert Hare to focus on the psychopath's role in modern corporations. They found that it's exactly the modern, open, more flexible corporate world that is the perfect breeding ground for these employees.
Snakes in Suits reveals the psychopath's secrets, introduces the ways in which they manipulate and deceive, and helps readers see through their games. It is a compelling, frightening, and scientifically sound look at exactly how psychopaths work in the corporate environment, teaching you how they apply their -instinctive- manipulation techniques to business processes. It's a must read for anyone in the business world, making you aware of the subtle warning signs of psychopathic behavior-before it's too late."
Must read for all of us Wage Slaves In Corporate America or industry, or any trade really! This book has helped me to see the real underpinnings of 'office politics'. And speaking of politics, it applies there too. Anywhere there is a hierarchal pyramid, and psychological manipulation tends to become the status quo.
It is a jungle out there, and this is a great travel guide.
A must read for every working person This books gives a wealth of insight into how to deal with psychopaths in the work place. It clearly outlines how the psychopaths with the use of lying, manipulation and charm often easily manages to get pass the screening interviews for high powered jobs in the workplace. It describes the whole process by which the company and the whole workplace becomes toxic due to the psychopath's influence and it offers the steps and solutions to counteract in order to protect oneself and also for businesses to protect themselves.
Yes a powerful book, that adds to the other book by Robert Hare called "Without Conscience"....more info
You must read that book This book explains how psychpathic personalities can easily get passed interviews with impressive results. How they can dress up their resume and work experience, and how they create divisions and generate conflict within the organization.
In reading that book, you will acquire the knowledge required to identify and protect yourself before you get burned by these remorseless and conscienceless individuals. Highly Reccomended! ...more info
Corporate Psychology of sociopaths A little bit of sociopath goes a long way. In corporations (and governments), they have the uncanny ability to rise quickly while contributing little, and hurt many good people as they go. Robert Hare is one of the pioneering psychologist researchers in the field and author of the Hare Psychopathy Checklist (see Goodsearch or Wikipedia)
Everyone can benefit from a better understanding of how sociopaths operate, and nobody can run a large organisation effectively without being informed and forearmed against these most dangerous people, who leave a trail of destruction behind them.
One is left with no doubt that many great corporations have been undermined or destroyed by their own employees, particularly sociopaths.
The other side of the coin doesn't seem to be mentioned- the importance of cherishing integrity- which led to the success of Templeton and Warren Buffett. Funny world where integrity is now a gimmick!...more info
Organizations, selection and retention of psychopaths This is a very illuminating book by two authors well equipped to write on the topic, for example,Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us][ASIN:0471351474 PSYCHOPATHY Theory and Research (The Wiley Approaches to Behavior Pathology Series) The book has been extensively reviewed so there is no need to go into the details again. There are, however, to my mind four things that can be further drawn from reading this book. First, the prevalence of psychopathy in the population has probably been seriously underestimated in the psychiatric literature. There are likely to be many many more psychopaths who are functioning so well in the everyday environment that they are not drawn to the attention of the mental health authorities. We have to realize that psychopaths are not necessarily serial killers.
Second, there is a strong case to be made that the prevalence of psychopaths can be higher in many sections of modern organizations, where the recruitment and selection processes practiced in modern human resources offices can select people like psychopaths who appear confident, capable and can adjust to the demands of the modern stressed organization, especially when the conscientiousness of the psychopath is allied with a high level of ability. Thirdly, the climate in modern organizations in the past decade has been likely to exacerbate the tendency to hire and promote such individuals. The emphasis on competition and the heightening of motivation by stress and competition within as well as outside the organization, is the perfect playing field for people who are willing to do anything, without empathy or remorse, to do harm, physically or psychologically, to other people. Finally, the apparent change in the global economic climate, which has brought with it some calls that organizations change their management styles and value cooperation rather than competition, will not in fact do anything to change the prevalence of psychopaths in the workplace. They are so well entrenched in the system and adept at dealing with change that they may in fact grow more powerful. As they undoubtedly are embedded in the HR sections, they can continue to damage the organization psychologically and can, indeed, expand their size.
If anyone reading this claims not to have met a psychopath in their work experience, then they are either very fortunate or they have not been sufficiently tuned to the skills of such people. Look again at the person who is ingratiating and "nice" and work out how that person got to where they are in your organization. All organizations are affected, not only those in commerce and business and manufacturing. Indeed, organizations such as universities (especially universities?), not-for-profit organizations and local government may be riper for the effects than those where there may be more awareness of just who may be malevolent in intent.
This book is well worth reading and learning from. It is a primer on survival. ...more info
Excellent Reading I felt this book was extremely well-written with clearcut examples of psychopathic cognition and behavior. It provides a judicious blend of anecdotes as well as scientific data which are presented in a highly understandable and palatable form. Mandatory reading for management who all too often excuse calculating and callous behaviors in supervisors and peers, chalking them up to "management style." Makes psychopathic/sociopathic behaviors much easier to identify. This book was so compelling, I found it difficult to put down. Highly recommended! I look forward to reading "Without Conscience." ...more info
All that Glitters isn't Gold In a world of ego and image ... illusions are rampant everywhere ... and no more deceptive or blinding than those corporate superstars who are lethal in the lengths they go to serve their own needs. One may think that a dangerous person will look the part ... but when it doesn't we can all get taken. This is one book to read to be an extra buffer against being bitten by a snake in and out of the office.
Interesting to Note: Even Medical Doctors have been their own medical Angel of Death by killing their patients, not out of euthanasia but their own serial sprees. Do not be fooled or decieved by a job title....more info
Boring Good information in a somewhat boring presentation. If you are looking for something to put you to sleep, this should do it....more info
Required reading for people who live in the real world If you've ever watched in horror while a charming BS artist methodically tore the guts out of your group, your division, your company (... or your country for that matter) and wondered how on earth they managed to pull it off in broad daylight, this book will help you solve the mystery.
There really are human snakes among us and Babiak and Hare explain in detail what motivates them, how they operate, how to recognize them and, most important, how to neutralize their poisonous effects before it's too late.
No one ever said life was going to be a rose garden and there's a whole breed of individual whose sole function in life seems to be to insure it's not for the rest of us.
Just read the headlines. It's an epidemic: Enron, WorldCom, and their close cousins the neo-cons etc.
When the student is ready, the teachers appear. It looks like it's finally time for our society to recognize these people for what they are, acknowledge that they're not going away and deal with them with something other than wishful thinking and denial.
This book is bad news for the charismatic white collar criminal class. It's about time. ...more info
What about when the HR Director is the psychopath? This is a great book for any work environment but especially large organizations where getting ahead is strongly reinforced. I have noticed everyone mentioning the value of this book for HR in their reviews. Within the organization I worked the HR Director was (still is) the psychopath! She has gotten rid of everyone who posed a threat to her through lies and manipulation and she sucks up to executive management who continue to promote her and give her raises. Just don't know if we should automatically exclude the HR department in the potential for psychopathic chaos....more info
Not What You'd Expect If you were seeking anecdotes and interesting real life accounts of psychopaths or psychopathic behavior in the workplace you'll be very disappointed. This reads as a psychology major's study guide to a niche - how to maybe-but-not-really identify the rare and elusive psychopath in the workplace. Boring technical analysis and VERY repetitive information flow.
It contains an easter egg however: a useful guide for the hiring process in corporations, although other books that directly tackle that subject might do a more thorough job, and you wouldn't have to sift through pages of sand to find the gold....more info
More people should read this book. This is an edifying work which sheds light on a workplace reality which many, while facing that reality, either do not fully appreciate or appreciate too slowly. Like others who have submitted reviews, I had previously read Without Conscience (which is an excellent introduction to the world of psychopathology for the layman). As I read through Snakes in Suits, there was clearly a considerable amount of repetitive information. While the book was initially disappointing in this regard, it was also necessary for the benefit of others who had not previously read Hare's Without Conscience.
Overall, a worthwhile read that effectively presents an interesting topic in a manner that most can understand and appreciate. It should be mandatory reading for all professionals (HR, security managers, employment counsel, etc.) who deal with employment relations issues.
A must read for the business world I found this book to be really interesting and helpful. I only wish that it was a little longer. Unfortunatly, the truth is that we can all get better at recognizing a business pyschopath, but there is no real clear cut way to handle them. They all work differently, and there is no surefire way to handle each situation except leave. I will reccomend this book to all of my friends....more info
Must-Read for Management and Businesses to function efficiently. Loved the book, it explains how psychpathic personalities can easily get passed interviews with impressive results. How they can dress up their resume and work experience, and how they create divisions and foster conflict within the organization.
If you've ever worked somewhere and wondered just how a deceitful, manipulative, and arrogant coworker or boss succeeded in keeping his job, this book is for you. It's also a great read for anyone new to the work world, or just out of college.
It gives you the knowledge required to identify and protect yourself before you get burned by these remorseless and conscienceless individuals. Highly Reccomended! ...more info
An excellent read This is an outstanding book. One of the pieces of advice, however, is not to engage. This is easy if they do not suspect that you are 'on to them'. If they do, then they will up the ante while they try to woo you with a whole lot of sweetners that you dont need. If you ignore these they will then come after you with their friends and continue to harass you. Ignore them again and they will start to bad mouth you in a big way....more info
One of the Most Essential Works on Psychopathy "Snakes in Suits" is one of the most essential works on psychopathy, as well gives the reader the working knowledge of how psychopaths operate in the job industry, especially in the corporate workplace. Not only will this book to help the reader to understand how corporate psychopaths operate, but it will give a great deal of insights and helpful tips on how to deal with them and how to protect oneself from them.
I give high praises to Hare for this work on the subject. This book is well written and easy to read as well an eye opening experience. I surly would recommend this book.
Psychopaths are ruthless, emotionless, and consciousness individuals to which they only serve themselves at the expense of others. All words coming out of their mouths would be lies, and if you are appeared as "important" or special to them, it is a safe bet that they are using you.
With this book as a tool and a guide, the readers would be able to identify each pathological individual and understand them more clearly as well to protect oneself from them. I would recommend the readers to study other works that discussed with the certain aspects of the study on the psychopaths, including Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us (by Robert Hare), The Mask of Sanity (by Hervey Checkley), The Sociopath Next Door (by Martha Stout), In Sheep's Clothing: Understanding and Dealing with Manipulative People (by George Simon), and Andrzej Lobaczwski's Political Ponerology (A Science on the Nature of Evil Adjusted for Political Purposes). With these works, one will have a good deal of working knowledge of the phenomenon of psychopaths in our world, in our governments, in our workplace, in our neighborhood, and even in our homes....more info
Read it and believe it The tendency is to read a book like Snakes In Suits AFTER you've had a close encounter of the psychopathic kind - sort of in the spirit of a post-mortem. The ideal would be for everyone to read books like this one BEFORE the excellent advice offered is actually needed. Even I, sister of a clinical psychologist, mother of a psychology major, myself a former medical student and amateur student of deviant personalities, got well and truly tagged and only just now relieved myself of the stress and heartache and monetary loss of a psychopathic employee.
Part of the reason the victims of psychopaths don't recognize or appreciate their imminent danger is that when we think of psychopaths we visualize a knife-wielder with neutron eyes. In most cases, nothing could be farther from the truth. These people often give the appearance of being attractive, funny, intense and sincere, religious, efficient, enthusiastic, and in possesion of a particularly well-defined moral code. All these things are the accoutrements that enable them to appear to be what we want them to be, and to hide what isn't there: a conscience, affection, empathy, and an acknowledgement of the rights of other human beings.
I think we've heard it all before; what we need to do is BELIEVE it. Read the book. Don't engage in a witch hunt, but learn what to look for. Keep your distance until you have lost all doubt about the agenda of someone you have recently met, no matter the circumstances of the meeting. Learn how to disengage yourself from one of them if you do get involved (think of being wound all around tight with barbed wire) and remember that nothing they have to offer can ever make up for what they will take from you. ...more info
Interesting but ...... This is an interesting read but it does not go as far as it needs to. In our culture today, almost all of us are "psycopaths" as described here....more info
OK, so how do we deal with them? The book offers an in-depth description of psychopaths in the corporate workplace, and makes them easy to identify anywhere in fact. The advice given in this respect is indispensable. The authors advise that good Human Resource practices are the first (and possibly only) line of defense against allowing these monsters into companies and agencies. However, the book comes short on strategies for how to deal with the psychopaths already among us.
In fact, the authors' advice on dealing with psychopaths can be boiled down to these two tenets: be a good and ethical employee no matter what, and know when it's a good time to leave the company/agency. Being something of a fighter myself, I found this type of counsel unsatisfactory, but also very impractical. I believe that psychopaths may be even more prevalent than the authors intimate. They are indeed everywhere, and one can hardly afford quitting a job every time a psychopath is encountered. I realize that we can't bring violence to the psychopath for his/her actions, but as workers, we need real and practical strategies for dealing with this class of people. For this failing alone I am forced to give a 4 star rating to the book instead of a 5.
One good strategy for dealing with the few psychopaths I have encountered has been that of exposure, or bringing to light the underhanded actions of the psychopath. Avoid being alone with the psychopath. Whenever possible, have witnesses present. The authors recommend that you keep detailed documentation on everything that happens, but I would add that it is better if several people keep such documentation. Another strategy is to connect with other workers in the same situation. Psychopaths thrive on fragmenting workplace communities and isolating individuals. They try to make you feel alone when in fact you are not alone. Once you connect with fellow employees undergoing psychopathic manipulation/attack, and you decide on a plan of action, their game is nearly up. And their "game" is that of promoting themselves by using and discrediting the reputations of other workers. Once you can discredit the psychopath and cast a few, well-deserved aspersions on his/her character, you really have them where they live. Therefore, you should never pass up any opportunity for showing them up--even if it involves scandal. A reputation-ruining scandal befalling a psychopath is itself a godsend for everyone else concerned, and may save many careers and even lives.
Depending on your situation, the methods and tactics of the criminal detective may apply--especially to any efforts that concern evidence gathering. If you wish to use recording devices, check the pertinent legislations for your state to make sure you are not breaking any laws. It may be illegal to use recording devices without notifying the parties concerned, but not always illegal in the same way or to the same extent everywhere, so check your local and state laws before you proceed in this vein.
The book focuses on the psychopaths' effects on the corporate and therefore private sector. As a public sector employee myself, it was easy to recognize a lot of the behaviors ascribed to psychopaths in some of the people I have worked with. I was left wondering if there is any literature on the prevalence or effect of psychopaths in the public sector. After reading this book, it is my "educated" guess that researchers may find a prevalence of the supposedly more rare female psychopath within public sector workplaces.
Female psychopaths may be found in roles that no one may have thought of, such as that of the social worker, teacher, nurse, psychologist, or education consultant--roles that have been traditionally associated with more caring and nurturing female professionals. At least, such has been my experience. If anyone knows of any book on the subject of the female psychopath, please drop me a line.
Book to be in the every company's first day Orientation program we know politics and often we are the victim of them and many go on doing them with a feeling of sin and hopelessness believing that this is the only way one can survive. This book is for all the 94% of the population who are not psychopaths. This books written in simple language with wonderful examples and It surely gives you the ability to recognise the psychopaths and most importantly how to survive the dangerous psychopaths who always hides in the magic of slogans to bite the next victim. ...more info
A great title for a great book The work of psychopath researchers Babiak & Hare has been reviewed in several periodicals over the past year, including Business 2.0, New York Times: Year In Ideas, Harvard Business Review and Fast Company, among others. Babiak is an Industrial-Organizational Psychologist with years of experience in the business world---he was the first to identify the "corporate psychopath"---and Hare is the world renowned author of Without Conscience, a seminal work on psychopaths. Their long awaited book, Snakes In Suits, has finally come out and it was well worth the wait.
Snakes In Suits is a page turner, written in an engaging and entertaining style, all the while conveying lots of new information on the topic. The book is structured in a somewhat unique way, as well, making it both a good book for the general reader as well as a must-have for the business reader. The fact that it is also well indexed is a plus, making it easier to refer back to topics in the future.
The authors make the point early on that "serial killer" psychopaths, those who make the headlines and crime show plot lines, make up only a small percentage of those in society who actually have a psychopathic personality. And, the rest of these people are living and working in the cubicle right next to us. To their credit, the authors carefully avoid the sensationalism that often characterizes books and articles on this topic. Their approach is even handed, balancing scientific evidence with an easy-reading style.
Each chapter begins with a case---drawn from the authors' real-life experience, no doubt---that includes dialog among the players (psychopath and victim alike). The reader becomes the "fly on the wall" watching and listening to what is going on. With the case in the back of my mind, I found the accompanying text much more meaningful. Although the authors do not suggest this, I found that if I reread the case after finishing each chapter, the deep, dark picture of the psychopath became even more chillingly clear. The chapters present the latest knowledge about the psychopath, with sidebars sprinkled throughout for those wanting more technical information or supporting evidence (from research, newspaper articles, comments from judges and criminal justice researchers). [One particular fact I had not heard before was that there are actually 3 types of psychopath: the "manipulator," the "bully," and the "puppetmaster." Their similarities and differences are covered in this book.]
The book starts out with a review of the traits of the psychopath, but unlike other books on this topic, it does not stop there. These authors continue with their own multi-step model of manipulation (3 steps for psychopaths in society, 5 steps for their corporate counterparts) that psychopaths use to manipulate their victims (which fall into the cleverly labeled categories of Pawns, Patrons, and Patsies). I found the model (and their non-technical terminology) very helpful in understanding how people can actually get away with the types of abuse, fraud, and deceit often attributed to psychopaths. In subsequent chapters, they refer back to these steps and offer advice (both personal and business-related) to help identify and deal with potential psychopathic manipulators---or snakes.
Throughout, the authors bring the point home quite clearly that psychopaths are both parasites and predators, and their targets are not only individuals (the rich, the famous, the naive), but also companies (the large, the sophisticated, the uninformed). They explain how psychopathic traits (they call them talents) can make them look like ideal leaders, capable of misleading well-meaning executives who are not familiar with psychopathic manipulation techniques. Part of the problem for companies in our fast-paced world, the authors argue, is the fact that psychopathic manipulation, when layered over with charm and charisma, can look like strong, confident leadership. Thankfully, the book offers advice on how to recognize them before it is too late, and how to beef up hiring and promotion practices in order to protect the company and its employees.
Babiak & Hare are masters of the catchy title with Snakes In Suits (wish I had thought of it). In a chapter titled, "Hot Buttons and Weak Spots: Personal Self Defense" they offer (compassionate) advice to the reader on how to identify aspects of their own personality and life situation that might make them more attractive and vulnerable to psychopaths. Likewise, in a chapter titled, "The Fifth Column: Psychopaths in Our Midst" they suggest things to do if you are dealing with a psychopathic boss, subordinate, or coworker on the job. I found both quite useful.
They also weave among the chapters the case of "Dave." Is he a psychopath, a narcissistic corporate climber, or just what the doctor ordered? I'll leave it up to you to decide.
If you've ever experienced a boss or coworker from "hell" and wondered if he/she had psychopathic tendencies, this book is for you. If you are just interested in the topic of psychopathy, this is a must read as well. I recommend this book; read it once and refer to it often.
A Guidebook to a Strange World Except for one brief, horrible period, I've spent most of my life
avoiding bureaucratic organizations of the sort where Snakes in Suits thrive. So I read this book with a fascination like you might bring to a National Geographic special about the grisly customs of some group on the other side of the world.
Apart from the sheer shock and porn value of the stories, the authors have done a great service. We need to bring an awareness of Psycopaths and Sociopaths into the foreground of public discussion. It would be especially important as we see the rise of the class known as 'political operatives'-a whole profession that seems rooted in mercenary immorality.
The book could have been better written and one wishes there were an editor more actively involved, but this is gripping non-fiction and very likely to change the way you think about things.
In Suits, Jeans, or Khakis... :-) Dr. Babiak and Dr. Hare have done an excellent job with an estoteric, compelling, and potentially volatile subject matter. Their case histories, along with real-life examples, will provide the reader with an educational introduction to psychopathic behavior.
In an era when many jobs are outsourced, and more of us are made to do with less, the hiring decision becomes even more important. "Slow to hire, and quick to fire" might be the mantra of the new world economy. The authors have detailed how hiring managers and HR departments need to access potential employees, and not only for the very small minority who will actually be "psychopathic."
The authors made a salient statement, and I will paraphrase it. "We found that HR departments and interviewers did not prepare enough before the actual interview, and did not have enough questions prepared in advance... Often, items on the resumes and references were not verified until much later, if at all..." With the exception of the excellent book, "Ask The Headhunter," I have not seen the focus thrust back upon the actual hiring authorities.
Practical advice was given how to evaluate talent. This can assist either party during the hiring decision. But most of all, this book, while it addresses a specific personality disorder, teaches us more about human behavior. Hopefully, we will learn more about our own behavioral patterns. This work would be a very good read for someone new to the workforce, along with anyone who wants to survive in our rapidly changing culture. As the authors concisely and adroitly mentioned near the end of the book, "The more we understand and know ourselves, the better we can understand others."
Thank you for the opportunity to review this provocative book....more info
when rational discussion doesn't work, read this book After 8 years working with someone I just could not understand no matter how many ways I tried to look at the situation, this book finally helped me make sense of my work environment. The authors were so clearly describing the situations I found myself in at work, that by the time I came to their suggestions for handling it, I had no alternative but to quit the job.
I'd recommend this book to anyone who finds themselves in a toxic work environment they are struggling to make sense of. The insights into human nature the authors convey here would have saved me years of struggling against a personality that would not yield to rational discussion.
Psychopaths or evil people? After working for large corporations for several decades, I ran across more than my share of psychopaths. However, in all fairness we referred to them as them evil, ruthless people. The book wasn't written that well, however some very good points were made about the corporate world, how psychopaths operate and how cold and ruthless their mode of operation is. The only thing that surprises me or disappoints me is that a book like this wasn't written 20 years ago and nobody seemed to recognize the problem. ...more info
A How To Book on Relationships at Work and Saving Your Career Most of us in the world of work have to deal with individuals who are always 'working' those they work with. If you have ever had someone you worked with who you know had alterior motives and you felt were constantly pulling the rug out from under you, you now have book that tells you the full story.
Snakes in Suits discusses Psychopaths and their movtivations, agendas, approach and even how they are manipulative and tend to continue to 'win' as they approach work each and every day. People are either to be manipluated, abused or used to gain advantage in their careers, no matter what the cost is in the long run to those they come in contact with. The book does an amazing job of weaving a short story, throughout the book at the beginning of each chapter that keeps you wanting to read on. Then each chapter is an analysis of the approach and way of the psychopath, the outcomes the results along with tactics to mostly know who is and is not and what to do about it.
There are some solutions that are recommended, among them adoption of superior Human Resources policies and procedures, however, even here a Psychopath can still find ways around the police of an organization, as the authors mention. This takes Suttons book about the "No (you know what) Rule" and gives it meat.
This book can be a career saver to many who have to deal with psychos or just plain selfish, self minded individuals who carelessly cause damage to those who come to work for all the right reasons. Companies would do well to have this as a management book, a training book, so that companies can identify, train and or outplace those who disrupt the workplace for their own ends.
I recommend Snakes in Suits to everyone from the Executive Office to Employee Relations and even Recruiting. Save your career and the careers of others who really add value to the world in which we must work....more info
Starts well, but very repetitive. This book contains some good information, but it is very repetitive and includes a lot of superfluous information. The back-and-forth style (the book intermixes standard textbook-like prose with mini-stories and sidebars through-out) also makes it difficult read in multiple sittings.