When O.J. Simpson was rolling down the freeway in his white Bronco, Larry King Live phoned Robert Hare at his home but the UBC psychology professor would not agree to be part of a media circus. Always worried that his expertise will be misinterpreted or sensationalized, Hare has twice turned down appearances on the Oprah Winfrey Show. He did, however, agree to help actress Nicole Kidman prepare for her role as a psychopath in the movie Malice.

It is not easy to be one of the world's foremost experts on psychopaths and still be taken seriously. Ever since UBC psychology professor Hare developed his Psychopathy Checklist adopted worldwide as a standard measure for use by researchers he has been a widely travelled public lecturer keen on ensuring his work is not simplified or misused.

Robert Hare's bestseller Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of Psychopaths Among Us (1993) evolved from his doctoral thesis on punishment, based on research undertaken at the federal penitentiary in New Westminster. After conducting experiments, Hare outlined the origins and nature of psychopathic behaviour.

Written for the lay reader, Without Conscience defines psychopaths, explains where their disorders come from, and alerts readers to the telling signs. His research determined that psychopaths are inordinately unconcerned with fear and punishment. He or she may masquerade as a friendly banker, loving spouse, a soothing doctor or an empathetic counsellor, but in the end the average psychopath will violently take what he or she wants, with no concern for morals or consequences.

Robert Hare claims there are 300,000 psychopaths in Canada, but only a tiny fraction of that one percent of the Canadian population are violent offenders like Paul Bernardo and Clifford Olson. Most are sub-clinical psychopaths who operate as charming predators and superb liars. They love chaos and hate rules.

[There are several hundred B.C. authors who have written books concerned with health; far too many to list. Notably, physician Gabor Mate has risen to literary prominence with a series of psychotherapy titles. As a founding father of the alternative health movement, Dr. Abram Hoffer, the Victoria-based medical doctor and father of bookseller William Hoffer, influenced the work of Linus Pauling and Ewan Cameron with vitamin C. The son of novelist Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., Mark Vonnegut, briefly worked at Duthie Books before he lived on a hippie commune and wrote The Eden Express: A Memoir of Insanity (1975).]

[BCBW 2010]