Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Charismatic Sociopath!

This review is from: The Sociopath Next Door (Paperback)

Dr. Martha Stout's "The Sociopath Next Door" starts out as a riveting analysis of the part of humanity (4%) that permeates our existence right under our noses. Dr. Stout's case studies of sociopaths as a clinical psychologist gave the book the scientific heft needed for credibility. In describing the traits of sociopaths as charismatic, it helped further my own body of work on Charismatology ("One of the more frequently observed of these traits is a glib and superficial charm that allows the true sociopath to seduce other people., figuratively and literally--a kind of charisma that, initially, can make the sociopath seem more charming or more interesting than most people around him, p. 7)

In part, there could even be a case made that she is describing President Obama as a sociopath on page 93 when she says, "Insidiously, when such a `savior' abducts the normal population to his purposes, he usually begins with an appeal to them as good people who would like to improve the condition of humanity, and then insists that they can achieve this by following his own aggressive plan."

The groundbreaking news comes on page 107, when Dr. Stout reveals the core motivation and warning signs in sociopaths being the need for pity and for people to feel sorry for them. It is pity not fear that sociopaths are after.

However, the scientific pattern established up to this point changed around page 171. "At least 96 percent of us are fundamentally thus (Filled with Conscience). What we will end up doing with the species survival problems created by the other 4 percent (sociopaths) is, at present, unknowable. From this point to the end of the book, it sounded like another person wrote it. Dr. Stout goes to great lengths to vindicate her sense of humanity as well as attempt to convince the 96 percent of the population that having a conscience is better than not having one at all. Her careful analysis seeps into a cacophony of internal dialogue, waxed poetry and girlish innocence. If sociopathy is a combination of biological predilections and environment influences, she makes a better case for sociopaths being born not created through their own choices. Once more, she describes the tragic end to all sociopaths as part of their fate, but feels compelled to warn moral bound individuals of impending doom if these sociopaths are not stopped.

Through Dr. Stout's sermonizing, she loses her sense of objectivity, which turns "The Sociopath Next Door" into an emotional rant by a doctor who claims "End of Times" at the hands of sociopaths. She admits that all humans have the ability and propensity towards sociopathy when humans are perceptually turned into "Its." She uses Osama Bin Laden as an example. Most conscience bound individuals would separate the likes of Osama Bin Laden from the rest of humanity labeling him an "It" and as such rendering any heinous destruction upon him without compunction.

Could a child be born with a heart of gold and the cruelty of the world make his heart grow cold? If so, would the catalyst for becoming a sociopath be marked by the 4 percent of the population who are already sociopathic or the other 96 percent filled with conscience? The numbers alone favor the latter.

The few nuggets revealed in "The Sociopath Next Door" are valuable enough to read the entire book. In this instance, you have to sift through a lot of chaff to get to the wheat.

Edward Brown
Core Edge Image & Charisma Institute

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Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Charisma of Body Language

This review is from: Body Language Secrets: A Guide During Courtship & Dating (Paperback)

R. Don Steele's, "Body Language Secrets: A Guide During Courtship and Dating" is a good introductory book for becoming better aware of the nonverbal language that goes on between men and women during potentially romantic settings. A key take away of the book is to look for "clusters" of behavior from the person you are attempting to engage. Is their body in an open and receptive position? Are they smiling? Exercising friendly touching? Pupils dilated?

Steele outlines why all these factors are important in assessing one's interest without verbalization. If over 50 % of communication is nonverbal, it behooves us to align our thoughts with effective nonverbal communication. To do otherwise, leads to extreme miscommunication and failed attempts at connecting. To be as attractive as possible, it is essential to manage one's physical and kinetic expressions.

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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Charisma: The Power of Personality

This review is from: The Sins of the Father: Joseph P. Kennedy and the Dynasty he Founded (Hardcover)

Kessler's,"The Sins of the Father," is a page turner, not merely for the colorful and bombastic life of Joseph P. Kennedy. But, a gut check for those fraught with extreme ambition and a thirst for power. Joseph Kennedy answered the age old question, "How far would you go to achieve ultimate power?" His life's response was, "To the ends of the earth." That he did and more.

In addition, Kennedy is an excellent case study on a small percentile of individuals steeped in an insatiable desire to achieve great success at all costs. The statement,"Men do not differ an any respect from other animals, but survive, according to their aptitudes, by adapting themselves to exterior conditions which prevail at the moment of their birth,"(P. 102). The gene pool, environment, and conditions that create a Joseph Kennedy is more prevalent in contemporary times than they ever were.

"The Sins of the Father" is the potential for greatness and vile we all have within us. The ending words speak volumes to our best and worst--"...He did not care about his reputation. What he cared most about was having power. Through the political dynasty that he founded, Joseph P. Kennedy achieved that for generations to come. If he hurt and corrupted others in the process, it was because no one had the courage to challenge him. For that, they only have themselves to blame" (p. 428).

Related: Charisma

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Art of What Works Builds Charisma Empire

William Duggan's, "The Art of What Works..." has become one of the guiding principles by which the Core Edge Image & Charisma Institute (Core Edge) bases its innovations. The other principles of Core Edge are: Albert Humphrey's "SWOT" analysis and Michael Treacy and Fred Wiersema's, "The Discipline of Market Leaders." It is essential to take these three bodies of works collectively, if you are to build a 21st Century enterprise.

"The Art of What Works" provides the foundational principles by which contemporary "break-throughs" are made. Duggan's ideas work within any industry. Take for example, the musician "Prince". While his music is defined as transformational, his musical success is laid by the prior success and styling of Jimi Hendrix, James Brown and Sly Stone. Now, Duggan's doesn't provide the myriad of examples by which using past contributions to tweak contemporary innovations, but you begin to see the patterns of possibilities by laying his concept within any social phenomenon. The great contributors, past and present, used "hybrid' approaches towards achievement, which lays bear the idea of "pure" innovation within any industry. Nothing is really "new' nor created in a vacuum. Duggan's analysis of success trumps those of Napoleon Hill and Dale Carnegie, because it's based on historic or factual reality over metaphysics. The notion, "It is what it is" takes precedent over theories that fail to look behind what is qualifiable and quantifiable.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Neeson Exudes Charisma in a Machiavellian Way

This review is from: Taken (Single-Disc Extended Edition) (DVD)

"Taken" is one of those movies for your personal library. Liam Neeson does a convincing job of demonstrating the virility and vitality of the aging Baby Boomer. He's what Jason Bourne grows up to be. Neeson's character doesn't knock you over with quick quips and a bevy of beauties. He's merely a dedicated former government agent who has learned some "tricks" of the trade. The screenwriter did an excellent job of creating a "He-man" without becoming a cliché'. By Neeson recovering his daughter where his ex-wife's new rich husband isn't able to rise to the occasion, says the man who can really protect his family with sheer prowess is the better man. How could the ex-wife go back to a normal life when the real man (Neeson) lives across town? Of course, all this is subtle subtext.

The salient point is that Neeson is amoral, doing what is appropriate for the situation to affect an ideal outcome. Neeson does the unthinkable in ways that are believable. No extraordinary special effects, no superhuman feats only possible for a man 20 years younger. In short, just plain old "Americana." Man encounters challenge. Man meets challenge head-on. Man triumphs!

I highly recommend "Taken". Neeson exhibits the subtle charisma of a Harrison Ford.