An incisive examination into the pairing of psychology and situation that creates despotic leaders from the author of Murderous Minds.
Not everyone can become a tyrant. It requires a particular confluence of events to gain absolute control over entire nations.
First, you must be born with the potential to develop brutal personality traits. Often, these are combined in “The Dark Triad” of malignant narcissism, Machiavellianism and psychopathy, as well as elements of paranoia, and an extraordinary ambition to achieve control over others.
Second, your predisposition to antisocial behavior must be developed and strengthened during childhood. You might suffer physical and/or psychological abuse, or grow up in trying times.
Finally, you must come of age when the political system of your country is unstable. Together, these events establish a basis for a rise to power, one that Joseph Stalin, Adolf Hitler, Mao Zedong, Saddam Hussein, and…