Subscribe to The Atlantic and get 2 free issues

Confessions of a Sociopath

A diagnosed sociopath explains how she thinks and functions. Adapted from a book by M.E. Thomas:

"I loved getting high marks in school; it meant I could get away with things other students couldn't. When I was young, what thrilled me was the risk of figuring out just how little I could study and still pull off the A. It was the same for being an attorney. During the California bar exam, people were crying from the stress. The convention center where the exam took place looked like a disaster relief center; people made desperate attempts to recall everything they had memorized over the prior eight weeks—weeks that I spent vacationing in Mexico. Despite being woefully ill-prepared by many standards, I was able to maintain calm and focus enough to maximize the knowledge I did have. I passed while others failed."
PUBLISHED: May 7, 2013
LENGTH: 13 minutes (3422 words)