Deep inside me there’s a serial killer lurking somewhere. But I keep him amused with cocaine, Formula One, booty calls, and coruscating cross-examination.

– a comment made by a successful lawyer who was interviewed by renowned psychologist and author Kevin Dutton for his new book, The Wisdom of Psychopaths: What Saints, Spies, and Serial Killers Can Teach Us About Success (affiliate link).

(Want to see where lawyers rank on the top ten list of the most psychopathic professions? Check out the list, after the jump.)

According to the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, a psychopath will typically display these characteristics:

Individuals [with psychopathic personality disorder] are arrogant and self-centered, and feel privileged and entitled. They have a grandiose, exaggerated sense of self-importance and they are primarily motivated by self-serving goals. They seek power over others and will manipulate, exploit, deceive, con, or otherwise take advantage of others, in order to inflict harm or to achieve their goals. They are callous and have little empathy for others’ needs or feelings unless they coincide with their own. They show disregard for the rights, property, or safety of others and experience little or no remorse or guilt if they cause any harm or injury to others. They may act aggressively or sadistically toward others in pursuit of their personal agendas and appear to derive pleasure or satisfaction from humiliating, demeaning dominating, or hurting others. They also have the capacity for superficial charm and ingratiation when it suits their purposes. They profess and demonstrate minimal investment in conventional moral principles and they tend to disavow responsibility for their actions and to blame others for their own failures and shortcomings.

Does this sound like any lawyers you know or work for? Or perhaps it sounds like, well, you! It just might, because according to Dutton, these are the top ten most psychopathic professions:

1. CEO
2. Lawyer
3. Media (TV/radio)
4. Salesperson
5. Surgeon
6. Journalist
7. Police officer
8. Clergyperson
9. Chef
10. Civil servant

That’s right: lawyers are the second-most psychopathic profession in the United States. It’s no small wonder that our loyal commenters seem so… special.

“The Wisdom of Psychopaths: What Saints, Spies, and Serial Killers Can Teach Us About Success” by Kevin Dutton [Washington Post]
Professions with ‘most psychopaths’ revealed: Lawyers, journalists [Digital Spy]
The Legal Field Attracts Psychopaths, Author Says; Not That There Is Anything Wrong with That [ABA Journal]


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