Top critical review
Jesus Christ is manifestly not a psychopath!
3 October 2017
I was so deeply impressed with the Sweet Poison books that I was very keen to pick up "Taming Toxic People"
David Gillespie has a very engaging, informal style which makes his books a pleasure to read. This book needed to be written: too many people have been emotionally rung out by the psychopaths in their workplaces, neighbourhoods and families. As a family doctor myself, I regularly see people at the end of their tether due to the manipulative and destructive practices of the psychopaths in their lives.
"Taming Toxic People" aids in the recognition of psychopaths and provides the reader with tools to deal with them. Most impressive are the final chapters which analyse how our society's current increasing individualism is causing psychopaths to flourish and nurture disturbing traits within all of us. David Gillespie completes the book with a strong exhortation to run against the self-absorbed and self-seeking society around us and, most of all, hold on to our integrity at any cost.
My reason for only three stars is that the first Chapter cites a study analysing historical leaders and scoring them for psychopathy. Gillespie acknowledges that many of his readers would find it surprising that Jesus Christ would score highly on the list for psychopathy. By way of explanation, Gillespie writes "Having psychopathic characteristics does not necessarily mean you use them for evil against your own people. Sometimes the aims and needs of the group will align perfectly with the aims and needs of the psychopath."
This is poor scholarship. Gillespie's defining characteristic of the psychopath is a lack of empathy as well as manifest amorality (e.g. serial lying). By contrast, Jesus Christ held to the truth at the cost of his own life. Furthermore, core proclamations by Christ such as "Come to me all you who are weary and heavy-laden and I will give you rest" (Matt 11:28) and "I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat" (Mark 8:2) are manifestly not the proclamations of a being who lacks empathy.
It is similarly absurd that the Apostle Paul also scores highly on Gillespie's list of historical psychopaths. The gratuitous swipes at other religious religious figures undermines the scholarly integrity of an otherwise engaging, and highly necessary book for our "age of the selfie".