Dangerous Personalities by Joe Navarro Book Summary – Review

It’s not always easy to spot a potentially harmful scenario. You know it’s better to remain away and avoid eye contact when a wild-eyed man is marching along the street, shouting loudly with himself.

The genuine risk is seldom so obvious, but you don’t have to be an FBI criminal profiler to recognize the warning indications that you’re in the company of someone who may be dangerous. Every personality type has distinct characteristics, and many of these characteristics are easy to spot if you know what to look for.

So empower yourself with information and you’ll be less likely to wind up in danger.

In these chapters, you’ll learn

  • the characteristics of infamous criminals and serial murderers,
  • Why do some people gravitate into cults and hate groups, and;
  • the crucial distinction between “pleasant” and “good”.

Try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks

Chapter 1 – Narcissistic people are primarily concerned with themselves, and they will go to any length to feel superior.

Do you recall the traditional Cinderella story? You undoubtedly recall the nasty stepsisters who forced Cinderella to do their will, even if only vaguely.

These stepsisters were memorable antagonists, but they also exemplify narcissism, our first hazardous personality disease.

Narcissists feel they are above the law and beyond the laws of society, and they would lie, cheat, or even kill if it is in their best interests.

The real-world hazards of narcissism may be shown in the 2001 Enron crisis, which remains the greatest US business scandal.

Jeff Skilling and Kenneth Lay, Enron’s narcissistic CEOs, were found guilty of obstruction of justice and fraud in this corporate crime. These two were only concerned with themselves, lying to their 20,000 employees and encouraging them to invest any money they had in Enron, resulting in thousands of people losing their life savings.

This was more than just ordinary criminal activity, according to the records: these two thought they were entitled to every ill-gotten dollar. This can also be an indication of hubris, a narcissistic attitude that leads to intricate and grandiose projects.

Big ideas help society in many ways, but when they emerge from a selfish mentality, just one individual benefits. When we compare Walt Disney to cult leader Jim Jones, we can notice the difference.

Disneyland was designed by Walt Disney to be a “magical” environment where families could have a great time. Jonestown, an isolated colony in the wilds of South America where people had no option but to obey his every word, was founded by Jim Jones with the help of his followers.

Jones wanted it all for himself, but Disney wanted to share the delight.

This also refers to two additional narcissistic characteristics: superiority and a lack of empathy, both of which Bernie Madoff showed. This financier deceived thousands of people by diverting money from new investors to pay off current clients who thought he was a trustworthy friend and businessman.

Narcissists, on the other hand, consider a buddy as a resource to be used for personal advantage.

Chapter 2 – Emotionally unstable people are afraid of being abandoned, so they seek attention and injure others.

When it comes to hazardous personalities, we need to look at individuals that are emotionally unstable.

Mentally volatile people are exceedingly unpredictable; they might be on an exuberant high one minute and then spiral down and feel abused the next.

They have a strong need to be loved but limited capacity to keep a connection healthy.

They have a habit of acting like “wound collectors,” saving up every time they’ve been treated unfairly. It makes no difference if a perceived social snub was genuine or imagined; they’ll use any perceived offense as ammo. Leonard Territo, a well-known criminologist, puts it succinctly when he describes unstable people as “victims in search of an oppressor.”

These personalities are frequently found in cults, as this environment typically provides unconditional acceptance, allowing their neediness to be gratified while also providing a framework that normal society cannot supply.

They have a habit of acting like “wound collectors,” saving up every time they’ve been treated unfairly. It makes no difference if a perceived social snub was genuine or imagined; they’ll use any perceived offense as ammo. Leonard Territo, a well-known criminologist, puts it succinctly when he describes unstable people as “victims in search of an oppressor.”

Threats, including suicide actions, are commonly used by emotionally unstable people to manipulate others, especially when they believe they are about to be abandoned.

Consider the terrible story of Phil Hartman, a popular Saturday Night Live comic who was married to an emotionally disturbed lady. Hartman, fed up with his wife’s drug addiction, vowed to divorce her if she began using again. In retaliation, she fatally shot Hartman before turning the gun on herself. Friends of Hartman subsequently said that they had known for years that he was married to a lady who had indicators of emotional instability.

This personality type also seeks attention by engaging in impulsive and risky conduct, which might involve sexual escapades.

Many people think Bonnie Parker, one-half of the famed bank-robbing pair Bonnie and Clyde, had a mental illness. There’s her rash choice to flee with Clyde Barrow, and then there’s the couple’s spate of high-profile bank robberies that ended in the murders of nine police officers.

Then there’s Anna Nicole Smith, the reality TV star and Playboy centerfold who died in 2007 after overdosing on prescription pills. Unfortunately, she left behind a kid, and because of her impetuous sexual past, a number of men have claimed to be the father.

Chapter 3 – Paranoid individuals might perceive everyone as a threat, which can lead to hatred and violence.

Every one of us has a built-in warning system that alerts us to possible risks. A paranoid personality, on the other hand, is equipped with a warning system that is continuously on high alert, picking up dangers from all directions.

A paranoid personality can be identified in a number of ways. They frequently persistently scrutinize the words and behaviors of others, attempting to legitimize their unfounded worries by discovering indicators of dark or evil intent.

Neighbors, employees, immigrants, various ethnic groups, the government, family members — nearly anybody may be monitored.

President Richard Nixon was one of the most well-known paranoid individuals. We can see that in the way he kept adding to his list of adversaries and in his frequent accusations that he couldn’t trust anyone.

When it comes to facts and history, paranoid individuals are highly picky about what they perceive to be true. They can also link seemingly unrelated events and ideas to support their points of view and justify their behavior.

Adolph Hitler’s Mein Kampf, which meticulously stitched together 2,000 years’ worth of complaints against Jews into a meandering tirade, was motivated by paranoia.

Paul Jennings Hill had a paranoid mentality as well. Hill, a Christian right-wing fanatic, thought that killing an abortionist was a legitimate approach to defend unborn infants. As a result, in 1994, he walked into a Florida clinic and assassinated Dr. John Britten and Britten’s bodyguard, James Barrett.

People who are paranoid may be persuaded to join hate groups such as the Ku Klux Klan or the Aryan Nations.

This personality is drawn to a group of individuals who don’t need to be persuaded that their irrational concerns and ideas are valid. Furthermore, because these groups frequently include having conspicuously visible tattoos or donning insignia and costumes that lead others to turn their heads and mutter to one other, they feed their paranoia. 

This is exactly the kind of action an enemy conspirator would participate in, in the paranoid’s delusional view.

Chapter 4 – Because it can kill without doubt or deep regret, the predatory personality poses the greatest threat.

The predatory personality is the most hazardous of all the harmful psyches since they have no guilt when it comes to their acts.

They’re callous, remorseless, and unconcerned about the hurt they create. If they want a car, they will not hesitate to steal one; if they want sex, they will not hesitate to use violence to obtain it.

Josef Fritzl is a man with a mentality like this. The Austrian abuser imprisoned his daughter for 24 years in a cellar, rapping her over 3,000 times and fathering seven of her children.

When questioned about his heinous actions, Fritzl appeared to be completely aware of what he’d done and that he’d have stopped at any point over those 8,000 nightmare days. “I simply have a wicked streak,” he informed the doctor.

This is the kind of mind that leads to serial killers, such as Henry Lee Lucas, who summarized the rapacious personality’s unique mindset by saying, “Killing someone is just like walking outdoors.” I’d go out and find a target if I wanted one.”

Even while recalling their heinous deeds, predatory personalities exhibit a “flat affect,” according to psychologists. In their tone and demeanor, they are cold and disconnected. Dennis Rader reacted in this impersonal manner when describing to police how he tied, tortured, and killed 10 people, earning him the moniker “BTK Killer.”

Words are normally used to communicate, but predators utilize them to control and compel individuals into performing their will.

Jack Henry Abbott, for example, authored the acclaimed novel In the Belly of the Beast (1981) while doing time in prison for fraud and stabbing another prisoner to death. Famous novelist Norman Mailer was one of the book’s fans, praising it as a wonderfully expressive account of Abbott’s time in prison.

Many others, including Mailer, believed Abbott’s writing was a clue that he couldn’t possibly be a cold-blooded killer, and Abbott used this to persuade Mailer to argue on his favor at a parole board hearing. Abbott was released early as a result of this strategy.

Abbott, however, stabbed a guy to death six weeks later because he didn’t like the way he was gazing at him at a cafe.

Chapter 5 – People can have many harmful personalities, which increases the likelihood of their harming others.

One of the perils of flying a plane is target fixation, which occurs when a pilot is so concentrated on a job that she misses a massive mountain just in front of her. The practice of labeling someone with a hazardous personality poses a comparable risk. You run the danger of missing more indications if you isolate one category too quickly.

Throughout history, there have been several examples of persons displaying various harmful personality types.

Joseph Stalin is a single illustration of how powerful a dangerous personality’s influence can be. Stalin had a dictatorial hold on the Soviet Union’s populace, as well as its intelligence and military forces.

Stalin’s multiple honorific titles, such as Father of Nations, Brilliant Genius of Humanity, and The Coryphaeus of Science – which basically translates to “the conductor in the field of science” – reveal his narcissistic desire for verification.

But Stalin had a paranoid side, as evidenced by the execution of roughly a fourth of his military personnel following World War I, based on his suspicions about their allegiances. Stalin’s deadly blend of personalities resulted in the deaths of about 30 million people.

Multiple personality types have the potential to be more harmful since one feature generally tends to magnify the others. If someone is a paranoid narcissistic predator, for example, their suspicious and self-absorbed nature can make them even more dangerous to those around them.

When Warren Jeffs, a polygamist cult leader in Utah, was arrested in 2006, this was discovered. He’d transformed his cult into a personal breeding ground, allowing him to have sex with teenage girls whenever he wanted, often with the girls’ mothers’ cooperation.

Jeff’s narcissism was on display when he claimed that he was exempt from “earthly rules” and that God had instructed him to conduct the murders. His predatory nature could be seen in his lack of remorse, and his paranoia could be seen in his desire to keep all outsiders, or potential competitors, at a distance. 

Chapter 6 – Avoid danger by being observant, strategic, and mindful of other people’s intentions.

People frequently fail to see how dangerous someone is until it is too late. There are, however, steps you may do to keep yourself secure.

For example, keeping a close watch on the time and being aware of your surroundings can help you avoid danger.

Stopping for gas around 11:00 a.m. is just safer than stopping at 11:00 p.m. since the largest incidences of violence occur between 8:00 p.m. and 2:00 a.m. By preparing ahead, you can always be more careful.

Predators want to take control of your mind, body, finances, and emotions, but they need to be near you to do it. So, while you’re pulling money out of an ATM, stay cautious of your surroundings and make sure no one is approaching you.

Another thing to keep in mind is that niceness and kindness are not synonymous.

Dangerous personalities might appear lovely, but they can never be good since virtue necessitates noble motives.

One of the most heinous instances is a serial killer and sexual predator John Wayne Gacy, who would dress up as a clown and perform for the kids in the area. While the bodies of twenty-six people were being exhumed from Gacy’s Illinois home, his neighbor was busy bragging about what a lovely person he was.

Therefore, before you let your standards slip, be sure you know what someone’s goals are.

If you believe a hazardous personality is posing a threat to you, you might find the following tactics useful:

Establish firm limits. Don’t back down once you’ve said “No”; they’ll attempt to persuade you differently, but stand fast. Set hard limits for yourself. They’ll take far more than a mile if you give them an inch.

Form alliances that are mutually beneficial. If you’re being tormented or abused by a harmful personality, don’t be frightened or ashamed to notify a friend or local service. Having individuals who can check in on you and verify your experiences is usually beneficial.

“Chance favors the prepared mind,” stated French scientist Louis Pasteur. Use this knowledge to keep safe. You may consider yourself more prepared and aware than you were five minutes ago.

Dangerous Personalities: An FBI Profiler Shows You How to Identify and Protect Yourself from Harmful People by Joe Navarro, Toni Sciarra Poynter Book Review

For people who suspect a harmful personality, there is no help facility. So, just as you should check both ways before crossing the street, you should carefully examine people’s characteristics before approaching them. Keep your environment and the situations you place yourself in in mind. Knowing the warning signals that dangerous people give off might help you keep an eye on your surroundings for hazards. If a threat exists, take the appropriate precautions to alert others and prevent these possibly harmful persons from approaching.

Identify the danger.

If you’re unsure about someone’s motives, consider the following questions. If you answered yes to a number of these questions, you’re probably dealing with a hazardous personality.

  • Do they have a bad impact on my emotions?
  • Do they act in an unpredictable, immoral, antisocial, or illegal manner?
  • Is it possible that they are manipulative or exploitative?
  • Is it common for them to act in a harmful manner?
  • Are they prone to react rashly or out of control in the pursuit of rapid gratification?

Try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks

Download Pdf


Download Epub



Savaş Ateş

I'm a software engineer. I like reading books and writing summaries. I like to play soccer too :) Good Reads Profile: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/106467014-sava-ate

Recent Posts