If This Was A Novel You Probably Wouldn’t Believe It

What are the signs of a sociopath?


When I read Bad Blood, John Carreyrou’s riveting expose of  the “secrets and lies in a Silicon Valley startup,” I thought about the signs of a sociopath Martha Stout described in her book The Sociopath Next Door.

The five signs of a sociopath

  • Charm
  • Irresponsibility
  • Pity play
  • Lack of empathy
  • Desire to control

Watch my video review of Stout’s book, posted below, and learn more

Carreyrou published multiple articles in the Wall Street Journal about Elizabeth Holmes, a young woman with one year of college who started a laboratory company called Theranos.  Theranos was supposed to revolutionize medical testing by “reaping vast amounts of data from a few droplets of blood”.

Holmes became an entrepreneurial icon, made the cover of Fortune, Forbes, Inc., and The New York Times Style Magazine, and amassed a personal net worth of up to six billion dollars. Without spoiling the story, let’s just say things didn’t work out as planned. Forbes revised her net worth to zero in 2016 and named her to their “World’s Most Disappointing Leaders” list. In 2018 the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission charged Theranos and Holmes with fraud for deceiving investors with false or exaggerated claims about the accuracy of their technology, while a federal grand jury indicted her on nine counts of wire fraud.

Carreyrou’s book is good, as is Stout’s. Both tell head-shaking stories I think critics would find too outlandish to be believable if a novelist wrote them.

Yet I am not writing about Holmes. I first want to applaud the people who endured threats, surveillance, financial loss and family rejection to tell the truth: many sources who choose to remain anonymous, and a few who spoke on the record, like Tyler Shultz (former Secretary of State George Shultz’s grandson). 

Primarily I want to remind readers that chances are good you rub shoulders with sociopaths in your family, workplace, and neighborhoods. While we wonder how people could perpetrate headline-grabbing fraud, with the potential to put hundreds if not thousands of peoples’ lives at risk through inaccurate medical tests, your life might be disrupted just as shockingly by a sociopath next door. Watch the video to learn how to protect yourself:


Carreyrou says one trait of a person with sociopathic traits is compulsive lying. https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2018/06/elizabeth-holmes-is-trying-to-start-a-new-company

I was once close to a man who bragged that when he and his friends got in trouble in college they picked him to explain it away because he was good at making up stories. At the time I thought that was funny; now, not so much. I realize how easy it is to be duped by a sociopath.

Few things are as destructive to your emotional balance as being told something you KNOW happened, in fact, did not happen. I have three friends who experienced childhood physical or sexual or abuse. In all cases, their mothers said it did not happen, or denied knowing it happened. How sad. How hurtful. Yet I’ve come close to that myself, and I regret it.

So let’s admit we can all be affected by compulsive liars and sociopaths. How do we handle it? You can spend a lot of time trying to get the liar to admit dishonesty or force them to tell the truth. That has never worked well for me. There may be improvement if the person seeks help and chooses to work with a professional counselor.

A girlfriend in Connecticut says her mother always told her “You can never protect yourself from a liar.” That’s because when you’re involved with a liar reality always shifts, leaving no baseline from which to work. You don’t know for sure what you’re dealing with.

Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you will be like him yourself.”   –Proverbs 26:4

In addition to being a good read, I hope Bad Blood helps you choose not to invest with liars, work for them, marry them, or be their best friend. We all have better choices.

Bad Blood by John Carreyrou


What happened to Elizabeth Holmes?


In January 2022 a jury found Homes guilty of four charges of fraud. Sentencing is scheduled for October 2022. Holmes remains free on bond to live with her husband and young son in a multi-million dollar California estate with multiple swimming pools and a tennis court.

How about you? How many sociopaths do you know? What did you learn from them? If you feel confused and uncertain about what is going on, make an appointment with a professional counselor to get help. Expressing your thoughts in a journal every day can also help you gain clarity and reduce stress. https://deborahrankinrd.com/journaling-for-weight-loss/

© 2022 Healthy Habits Communications LLC


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