If you’re looking for a reading list of the best dark triad books, you’ve come to the right page -and to the right website-.
Here is the current top 14:
- 14. Confessions of A Sociopath
- 13. Trust Me, I’m Lying
- 12. The Psychopath Whisperer
- 11. The Art of The Deal
- 10. Psychopath Free
- 9. The 48 Laws of Power
- 8. Secrets of Power Negotiating
- 7. Women Who Love Psychopaths
- 6. The Art of Seduction
- 5. The Dictator’s Handbook
- 4. Bad Blood
- 3. Casanova’s Memoirs
- 2. The Good Psychopath’s Guide
- 1. Power University
How do dark triad folks think and act?
Well, there is no better way than letting an actual sociopath share that.
The author, a diagnosed sociopath, discusses how life looks like to a sociopath.
The results might shock someone.
M.E. Thomas openly discusses how she relishes ruining people.
That’s common among psychopaths and sociopaths, since hurting others gives them a sense of power.
The author, a woman, discusses using fake allegations of gender discrimination for career advancement and instigating her classmates to file a made-up sexual harassment charge against her school teacher.
Now don’t get me wrong, many people enjoy seeing others lose. That’s what frenemies are all about, after all.
And some even see the positives in other people’s suffering. I remember an ex-girlfriend of mine being sad that her ex-boyfriend had a new beau.
Because he wouldn’t pine over her anymore.
But sociopaths do take it one step further when it comes to relishing in other people’s misfortune.
That’s what Thomas makes clear here. And that’s why you only want to selectively borrow from psychopaths and sociopaths.
A similar book is “The Psychopath Inside“, but Fallon writes as a neuroscientist, with lots of scientific details that might bore many readers.
Machiavellianism often pays.
But it’s when you con the media and the massess that Machiavellianism pays the biggest rewards.
And that’s exactly what Ryan Holiday describes doing as the marketing director of American Apparel.
The same techniques are used everyday “celebrities” who seek to monopolize media and people’s attention.
Narcissistic traits have only become more rewarding with the globalization and the digital revolution. See the new phenomenon of “being famous for being famous”, started by Paris Hilton and taken yet one step further the Kardashians.
Successful narcissistic manipulator today can wealth and power thanks to the masses of people who’d rather stalk other people’s lives than live their own.
Scoops, revelations, “embarrassing releases” etc. are planned and manipulated to grab people’s attention.
Don’t be a sheep: focus on your life instead.
Eventually, you want to get some information from doctors, researchers and scientists.
There are many good books on psychopathy, but I pick “The Psychopath Whisperer” over anyone else because it mixes entertainment with science and provides more practical information on “games psychopaths play” than any other book.
Keep in mind though that not all, but most psychopath researchers’ knowledge comes from prison environments, and that obviously skews the sample as it focuses mostly on “low functioning psychopaths”.
Also good books from actual researchers:
Donald Trump on a list of dark triad books, isn’t that surprising?
The Machiavellianism starts before you even open the book, at the “author” page level.
Schwartz indeed said that Donald Trump didn’t write a single word of the book and Trump, of course, replies that he wrote most of it.
To get to the real dark triad goodies in “The Art of The Deal” you have to be able to read through the lines though as the book was obviously going to be rather kind towards Trump.
Take for, example, when Trump who wanted to help homeless people in New York by giving them shelter in an old building he had bought.
Unluckily though the City of New York prohibited him from carrying out this so generous act of kindness.
That all sounded strange to me. So I researched it. And, it turns out, Trump wanted to let homeless people in to force the last holdout owners to sell low.
LOL, if that weren’t so low one couldn’t stop laughing at Trump’s Machiavellianism.
Is Trump A Dark Triad Man?
The Goldwater Rule says that no psychiatrist or psychologist should attempt any diagnosis of people they haven’t examined in person.
But that hasn’t stopped many from trying.
10. Psychopath Free
How do psychopaths act in relationships?
And how does it feel like to be the victim of a psychopath?
Well, MacKenzie knows a thing or two about that.
And he shares his harrowing story in this tragically moving book.
You know this one.
And didn’t come here to learn about “The 48 Laws of Power”, right?
So check out these updated version by ThePowerMoves:
The 48 Laws of Power is a wonderful book to understand the daily power dynamics.
However, as I often repeat, it requires that you have at least mastered basic social skills and basic social dynamics. If you don’t, it might actually backfire. To be sure, read “Fixing The 48 Laws of Power“.
The 48 Laws of Power is a sort of “playbook” on the games people play, so you can also check out:
And for a quick reference, see:
How to dark triad personalities negotiate?
Well, often, they negotiate to take as much as possible from you, without regard for your well being or for the future of your relationship.
And that’s dangerous for your finances.
Sitting at the negotiation table with someone more experienced than you are is already risky.
Sitting at the negotiation table with someone more experienced and more knowledgeable than you are and hell-bent on taking as much as possible from you can be a disaster.
Luckily, “Power Negotiating” shows you most of the tricks of the trade, so that you will know how to defend yourself.
For a shortcut also read:
Are psychopaths more successful with women?
Well, sometimes they are, yes.
In the long term, they mostly hang on to lower quality women, but in the short term they often have a higher lay count than non-pathological men.
However, since they are so powerfully polarizing, psychopaths are not more attractive and successful across the board.
And they are mostly attracted to a specific subset of women.
Who are these women?
That’s what Sandra Brown explains.
- Why psychopaths get laid more (and why they fail more, too)
Most people searching for “dark triad seduction” want to get laid more.
And that seems fair -and normal- to me.
But the link between seduction and the dark triad can get tricky.
This is what Sandra Brown, author of “Women Who Love Psychopaths” says about seduction and dark triad:
The websites devoted to ‘seduction techniques’ are an example of varying levels of psychopathy and are now being taught online to others. Anyone wanting to do this to another person, by definition, is high in psychopathic traits.
Of course, that’s a major generalization and I don’t fully agree.
But she’s also not fully wrong.
And the way Robert Greene teaches seduction can certainly be categorized under the dark triad personality.
“The Art of Seduction” discusses pain, isolation, triangulation, and even regression to get into the target’s psyche.
I never advise or condone hurting people, but I consider “The Art of Seduction” to be Robert Greene’s highest quality work.
And it’s not all about sexual seduction either, but also about social seduction.
There you have it:
A playbook for narcissists and sociopaths to acquire president-level power and wealth.
This is the modern “The Prince“, and no descriptions needed, but two quotes:
Quote: Rule 3: Control the flow of money.
Bravo to Pakistan’s president Asif Ali Zardari, estimated to be worth up to $4 billion even as he governs a country near the world’s bottom in per capita income.
And even worse:
Quote: Rule 5: Don’t take money out of your supporters’ pockets to make people’s lives better.
Bravo to Senior General Than Shwe of Myanmar, who made sure following the 2008 Nargis cyclone that food relief was controlled and sold on the black market by his military supporters rather than letting aid go to the people—at least 138,000 and maybe as many as 500,000 of whom died in the disaster
This is exactly what I refer to when I often say that good people need to know how to be bad.
Otherwise, it’s only the “through and through pieces of sh*t” who get to power and hold power.
- Politician’s manipulations: techniques and examples
4. Bad Blood
Oh wow, what to say about this one.
Elizabeth Holmes was the perfect high-functioning sociopath.
Machiavellian to the core, she took everyone for a ride while her company, without a viable business plan and a working technology, ballooned to a 10 Billion dollar valuation.
The craziest thing?
Had she managed to come up with the technology, nobody would have even realized she was a con-artist.
Holmes spewed all the keywords dear to the modern narcissistic Silicon Valley founder.
She sought capital to “provide basic health care rights”, she worked “for the people” and, just for good measure, she threw the “woman card” out there.
Holmes set herself up as an example for millions of women to follow. Well, she did manage, in a way. She proved everyone that women can swindle and con much better than men can,
Oh, and how to forget this, of course she also wanted “make an impact”.
Why are Casanova’s memoirs even here?
Well, to begin with, because most people are interested in dark triad personalities to seduce and get laid more (no shame there).
Second, because I seek to provide an informational edge and few people are even aware of this book.
And third, because Casanova did slay thanks to dark triad traits.
Casanova was a rake in an era when hookups weren’t nearly as easy, while traveling and often not knowing the language and customs (sigma male-style), and while overcoming a litany of roadblocks, from cockblocking parents, to protective nuns while he tried to seduce women in convent.
When it comes to dark triad traits, I don’t think Casanova was a psychopath.
What’s peculiar about his womanizer style indeed is that he often fell in love with women as hard as they did -except he moved on anyway-.
But he did have plenty of antisocial (APD) and dark triad traits, including narcissism, a strong will to power, reckless and impulsive behavior, and endless Machiavellian plots to meet and get together with women.
In many ways, he also used many modern seduction techniques, including:
- Lavish money spending (conspicuous consumption)
- Entering elite circles and earning social status (social circle game)
- Staying in shape and attention to appearances (self-care)
- Wearing the most elaborate clothes (peacocking)
- Hustling to hire servants and stay at the best locations (lifestyle game)
And he leveraged his position of power for plenty of easy lays, too.
Bravo to Casanova, a true example on leveraging dark triad traits without (willingly) hurting anyone and in support of a life worth living.
Some psychopathy traits can be used to enhance your odds of success in life.
That, you knew, I think. Or you suspected, at least. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have ended up on this list of best dark triad books.
So after “The Wisdom of Psychopaths“, Dutton moved to a “how to book” on how to be more of a psychopath.
However, before you jump on that train: too much psychopathy becomes harmful, and are not conducive to life success.
And violence, poor impulse control, and poor planning are a recipe for ending up in prison.
So, which traits should you borrow from psychopaths?
That’s what Kevin Dutton does: he lists what traits you should borrow from psychopaths, and how you can go about to develop them within yourself.
1. Power University
Technically, it’s a course and not a book.
But if your goal is to learn how to leverage dark triad traits to have more success in life, then this is the best source available on the market.
Some people prefer learning from a book.
But if you are serious about leveraging the information to improve your life, then a course has several advantages over a book. Namely, you can learn with quizzes, video examples, mock dialogues, and exercises.
You need to take this #1 position with a grain of salt, since I am the author.
What I can tell you though is that Power University is designed to give you all the advantages of the Machiavellian traits and strategies, while encouraging you to adopt them within a healthier frame of collaboration and personal values.
Bonus: The Selfish Gene
Why do I put The Selfish Gene on this list?
Because Dawkins invert the perspective on Machiavellianism. Machiavellianism is not mean or atypical, Machiavellianism is the norm and the “default setting” of every human being.
Dawkins, popularizing Hamilton’s theory of inherent selfishness, unleashed a revolution in the study of human psychology and human nature.
Sure, things are more complex than “we’re all selfish”, and science proves we are also very much collaborative.
But “The Selfish Gene” was a much-needed wake up call in the social sciences.
We all are Machiavellian.
Some of us just happen to be more Machiavellian than others, or just better at it.
- Sexual conflict: the tools with which we fight the sexual arms’ race
Why Reading Dark Triad Books?
Why would anyone want to learn about dark triad personalities?
Well, to begin with, because dark triad individuals exist. Some of them can be dangerous, and all of them want to succeed ahead of you.
Knowing how they function can help you defend yourself.
And second, because dark triad traits can sometimes confer an advantage in life.
So you can use typical dark triad techniques and behavior to your advantage -and hopefully without harming anyone who didn’t have it coming-.