This book came up in a class I took a few years ago. The teacher mentioned that she was reading it and briefly discussed what she thought about it.
At that time I was working in a highly political environment and struggled to maintain my work-life balance while I wondered everyday: what is wrong with these people?
This book totally opened my eyes. Naive that I was, both in personal life and professional life, I have suffered an enormous amount of emotional turmoil. This book, while it may not be the topic of the month featured in Psychology Today, hammered a concept home for me: there are people, who are just really really really awful. They didn't hurt you because they wanted to. They hurt you because they never thought about anyone else other than themselves. If you are hurt along the way, well, you are the spoils of a war. They have no remorse, no sympathy, and no principle. If you are not them or their immediate inner cycle, you do not exist and do not deserve any consideration.
People like this do exist. I have met them. I used to feel victimized. I blamed myself for not "working it out". I tried to understand why they did what they did, to sympathize with them, to look for a hint of their humanity but to no avail. I thought: how could you do something like this? I would never.
But that is exactly the point: people with a conscience would never. The sociopaths next door, so totally would.