If you have known someone who seems evil and yet civil at the same time. Someone you can't quite put your finger on, but you know something is just "not right" this book may hold the answer. It helped explain (although without solution) my psycho ex to me.
A disappointment. Just like The Road Less Traveled, Peck starts out with great promise of psychological insight, but then falls into the familiar perspective of pervasive Christianity. This book even covers the use of exorcism as a cure for demonic evil(!) Its one redeeming portion covers a fascinating character that gets the better of him in what turns out to be a contest of wills in the guise of therapy.
I have read this book twice - several years ago for the first time. It was given to me as a gift and the first time I read it I was a new Christian could not finish it. I could not or did not want to think about human evil the way it was described in this book. It was too heavy, too "real" and too sad for me to comprehend. I felt the evil and negativity of the case studies reviewed overtaking me. It remained only half read for over a decade, but sat on my bookshelf beckoning me to begin again. The second time I read it was just last year as a much more spiritually mature person. I found it to still be quite sad but also quite profound in it's insight and teachings. Dr. Peck is an excellent author and knows what he is talking about. I commend him for the courage to address to truly complicated issue.
Interesting perspective, one I'd never heard of. I'm not sure I completely agree with Peck's definition of evil - or at least not that all of the "people of the lie" are evil. I do highly recommend this book, however. I learned so much and changed some of my former beliefs when Peck brought up his case studies (the names of his patients were changed) and explained them in detail. It was fascinating and too bad all parents don't read it to see the constant pattern of mistakes, manipulative mindsets & cruelty they could avoid. If they did and took Peck's advice to heart, maybe less children would be damaged - sometimes to the point of not being able to function in a healthy & happy way. OTOH, one of Peck's main points is that many of the parents of his patients refused to see what they were doing to their children. An endless cycle through generations - but sometimes it can be stopped, there is hope!
This book was VERY VERY useful to me, in trying to deal with my husband's ex! Honestly, when a non-'evil' person manages to immerse him or herself into your every being and you cannot - for the life of you - imagine why and how they can be so horrible (and how they can live with themselves!), this book can shed some SERIOUS light. I feel like it was written for me!
Since I did not want to do research I did not like this book. I did not like the way the case stories were told and there was too much of the book taken up in presenting the author's opinion. He was trying to show these people as evil but this book was more a text book than a book just for reading.. As I said I did not want to do research and had I known this book was written in the manner that it was I never would have ordered it.
I like M Scott Peck, but this book was not as influencial to me as the Road Less Travelled. Best Seller.
In this 300,000 copy best-seller he uses the same approach in a strikingly original analysis of human evil; he points the way to healing it, starting with ourselves.
FROM THE PUBLISHER
With his classic best-selling bookThe Road Less Traveled, Dr. M. Scott Peck has introduced over three million readers to an integration of the deepest insights of psychiatry with those of religion. In People of the Lie, an absorbing and equally inspiring companion volume, Dr. Peck utilizes the same approach to probe brilliantly the essence of human evil. People who are evil attack others instead of facing their own failures. Peck demonstrates the havoc these People of the Liework in the lives of those around them. He presents, from cases encountered in his psychiatric practice, unforgettably vivid incidents of evil in everyday life. This disturbing, fascinating book offers a strikingly original approach to the age-old problem of human evil.
Another great book...new insights on evil people...they can very successful - even leaders in the community or church. Basically, an evil person seeks to thwart another's spiritual, mental or physical growth - the attack can be quite subtle.
Great psychiatric case histories...