Format Hardcover
Publication Date 04/03/19
ISBN 9781643130224
Trim Size / Pages 9 x 6 in / 336

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Tyrannical Minds

Narcissism, Personality, and Dictatorship

Dean A. Haycock

An incisive examination into the pairing of psychology and situation that creates despotic leaders.

Not everyone can become a tyrant. It requires a particular confluence of events to gain absolute control over entire nations. First, you must be born with the potential to develop brutal personality traits. Often, this is a combination of narcissism, psychopathy, Machiavellianism, paranoia and an extraordinary ambition to achieve control over others. Second, your dangerous personality must be developed and strengthened during childhood. You might suffer physical and/or psychological abuse, or grow up in a trying times. Finally, you must come of age when the political system of your country is unstable. Together, these events establish a basis to rise to power, one that Joseph Stalin, Adolf Hitler, Mao Zedong, Saddam Hussein, and Muammar Qaddafi all used to gain life-and-death control over their countrymen and women. It is how Osama bin Laden and the leaders of the Islamic State hoped to gain such power.   “Getting inside the heads” of foreign leaders and terrorists is one way governments try to understand, predict, and influence their actions. How can we explain these urges to dominate, subjugate, torture and slaughter?  Though these men lived in different times and places, and came from vastly different backgrounds, many of them share similar, abnormal personality traits and, in some cases, mental disorders, including “The Dark Triad:” malignant narcissism, psychopathy and paranoid personalities. Tyrannical Minds reveals how recognizing these traits can provide insight into their motivations and actions, potentially allow us predict their behavior—and even how to stop them.

Dean A. Haycock, PhD, is a science and medical writer, who earned a Ph.D. in neurobiology from Brown University and studied at The Rockefeller University in the laboratory of Nobel Laureate Dr. Paul Greengard. He has been published in many science publications and is the author of Murderous Minds; Characters on the Couch: Exploring Psychology Through Literature and Film; The Everything Health Guide to Adult Bipolar Disorder, 2nd and 3rd Editions; and The Everything Health Guide to Schizophrenia. He also is the co-author of Avoiding and Dealing with Complications of LASIK and Other Eye Surgeries (with Ismail A. Shalaby, MD, PhD). He lives in New York.

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Endorsements & Reviews

“Part true crime, part neuroscience and a page-turner from start to finish.” Kirkus Reviews (Praise for Murderous Minds)
“A gem. I became completely immersed in it and lost myself in the world Haycock created at the nexus of science, story, history, complete with downright wondrous narrative yarns to boot.” James Fallon, Ph.D., author of The Psychopath Inside (Praise for Murderous Minds)
“An informed and masterful account.  Haycock's balanced and scientifically sound coverage is admirable and refreshing. Highly recommended.” Robert D. Hare, Ph.D., author of Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us (Praise for Murderous Minds)
“In this fascinating page-turner, neurobiologist Haycock tries to uncover the correlation between brain abnormalities and violent behavior, and whether one guarantees the other.  Certain to begin an important conversation.” Publishers Weekly (Praise for Murderous Minds)