Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths Go to Work

Front Cover
HarperCollins, May 9, 2006 - Business & Economics - 336 pages
84 Reviews

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.

We'd like to think that if we met someone who was completely without conscience -- someone who was capable of doing anything at all if it served his or her purposes -- we would recognize it. In popular culture, the image of the psychopath is of someone like Hannibal Lecter or the BTK Killer. But in reality, many psychopaths just want money, or power, or fame, or simply a nice car. Where do these psychopaths go? Often, it's to the corporate world.

Researchers Paul Babiak and Robert Hare have long studied psychopaths. Hare, the author of Without Conscience, is a world-renowned expert on psychopathy, and Babiak is an industrial-organizational psychologist. Recently the two came together to study how psychopaths operate in corporations, and the results were surprising. They found that it's exactly the modern, open, more flexible corporate world, in which high risks can equal high profits, that attracts psychopaths. They 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.

Snakes in Suits is a compelling, frightening, and scientifically sound look at exactly how psychopaths work in the corporate environment: what kind of companies attract them, how they negotiate the hiring process, and how they function day by day. You'll learn how they apply their "instinctive" manipulation techniques -- assessing potential targets, controlling influential victims, and abandoning those no longer useful -- to business processes such as hiring, political command and control, and executive succession, all while hiding within the corporate culture. It's a must read for anyone in the business world, because whatever level you're at, you'll learn the subtle warning signs of psychopathic behavior and be able to protect yourself and your company -- before it's too late.

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This book was hard to read to the end. - Goodreads
There's some good advice, and interesting insight. - Goodreads
The author has clearly not researched the topic much. - Goodreads
Good issues to be aware of, mixed writing. - Goodreads
Disclaimer: I skimmed through this book for research. - Goodreads
The writing didn't grip me. - Goodreads

Review: Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths Go to Work

User Review  - Eleanor Cowan - Goodreads

Learn all you can! Either learn beforehand about manipulators without conscience who will take all you have built up - or discover after the fact as you pick up the dreadful pieces. This is an ... Read full review

Review: Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths Go to Work

User Review  - Mick Pletcher - Goodreads

This book was horrible. The author has clearly not researched the topic much. For one thing, he generalizes all psychopaths to be lucky to have made it to the positions they did by fraudulent means ... Read full review

References to this book

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About the author (2006)

Paul Babiak, Ph.D., is an industrial and organizational psychologist and president of HRBackOffice, an executive coaching and consulting firm specializing in management development and succession planning. His work has been featured in the New York Times, Washington Post, Harvard Business Review, and Fast Company. He lives in Dutchess County, New York, with his wife.

Robert D. Hare, Ph.D., is the author of Without Conscience and the creator of the standard tool for diagnosing psychopathy. He is an emeritus professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia, and president of Darkstone Research Group, a forensic research and consulting firm. He has won numerous awards for his research, lectures widely on psychopathy, and consults with law enforcement organizations, including the FBI. He lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, with his wife.

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