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Cameron Reilly

Cameron Reilly

Queensland, Australia

Cameron was Australia's first podcaster and launched the world's first podcast network. He has produced thousands of hours of podcasts about history's worst (& best) psychopaths.

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About the author

Cameron Reilly is an Australian entrepreneur who runs a marketing consulting business and formerly worked for Microsoft, where developed an interest in psychopaths. In  2004, he became Australia's first podcaster and launched "The Podcast Network", the world's first network of its kind. Since then he has developed a passionate global fan base for his podcasts about historical figures such as Julius & Augustus Caesar, Napoleon Bonaparte, Alexander The Great, Stalin, Churchill, American Presidents, the Medici, various Popes, kings and Ho Chi Minh - many of whom were possibly psychopaths. His podcasts have been downloaded millions of times. 

With the financial support of his fans, he recently wrote, produced, directed and hosted a secular documentary about early Christianity, Marketing The Messiah. 

His first book, The Three Illusions, was self-published in 2011. 

Over the last fifteen years, Cameron has been featured in many Australian media stories for his role as a pioneer in podcasting and is often invited to speak at industry events. He lives in Brisbane, is married to Chrissy, an American violinist, and has three children. 

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Tony Kynaston

During his career as a senior manager with some of Australia's largest corporations, Tony believes he worked with at least a couple of psychopaths. Today he's one of Australia's most successful private investors.





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If The Psychopath Economy hits 500 pre-orders by Wednesday 20 March 2019 noon UTC, then it will be pitched to 13 traditional publishers when the campaign ends. If The Psychopath Economy hits 250 pre-orders by Wednesday 20 March 2019 noon UTC, then it will be pitched to 39 independent publishers when the campaign ends. If The Psychopath Economy hits 100 pre-orders by Wednesday 20 March 2019 noon UTC, then it will be pitched to 40 hybrid publishers when the campaign ends. If The Psychopath Economy hits 50 pre-orders by Wednesday 20 March 2019 noon UTC, then it will be pitched to 29 service publishers when the campaign ends. If The Psychopath Economy hits 500 pre-orders by Wednesday 20 March 2019 noon UTC, then it will be pitched to 121 publishers when the campaign ends.
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Publishizer is a crowdfunding literary agency. If 500 pre-orders is reached, then we pitch this proposal to traditional publishers. If not reached, then it gets pitched to non-traditional publishers.

The Psychopath Economy

Why the world is so crazy and what we can do about it.

Psychiatrists estimate that 1% of the adult population are psychopaths. In the United States, this is nearly two million adults. Where might these people be hiding?

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Every day in the news we hear about people in positions of business, political and religious leadership doing deplorable things – sexual harassment, polluting the environment, lining their own pockets at the expense of their employees and customers, raping children and covering up crimes. The common explanation is that they are just “bad eggs” – normal people who have gone astray for reasons unknown. However, we believe there is a better explanation.

Psychiatrists estimate that 1% of the adult population are psychopaths – people physiologically incapable of empathy, who crave risk, are often charismatic, and who possess an extreme desire for wealth and power. In the United States, this 1% would be nearly two million adults. Where might these people be hiding?

The premise of this book is that these psychopaths are quite possibly to be found occupying senior management positions in many of our institutions and organisations, wielding enormous power. In other words, our economy is run by psychopaths. If that is true, then we need to build systems that protect us from their behaviour. The book examines the evidence and then suggests solutions for saving us all - from the psychopaths.


Introduction.   Where I explain the premise of the book and introduce the eleven ideas that form the book’s central arguments. Each successive chapter explores one of the arguments.

Chapter 1.       The primary objective of organisations is to survive and grow.

Chapter 2.       When faced with a choice, we should therefore expect organisations to prioritise their own survival over other objectives, including ethical and environmental concerns.

Chapter 3.       The people who thrive in organisations will be those whose ethics map to the primary objectives of the organisation.

Chapter 4.       People whose personal objectives and values don't map closely to those of the organisation, either won't get employed there in the first place; will get removed from the organisation; or will remove themselves from the organisation.

Chapter 5.       People whose personal values map closely to the organisation's objectives stand the best chance of rising to the top.

Chapter 6.       One of the primary objectives of wealthy people (aka the elite) is to protect and increase their wealth.

Chapter 7.       To protect their status, we should expect the elite to use their wealth to try to manipulate the system.

Chapter 8.       Organisations and the elite want to protect the status quo (political and economic) because it is working for them.

Chapter 9.       The general public desire significant changes to the political and economic status quo but this runs counter to the interests of the elite.

Chapter 10.     As we’ve been lied to many times by those in power, it is entirely rational to assume they are deceiving us today.

Chapter 11.     When traditional mechanisms of control fail, the elite will turn to other means.

Chapter 12.      What we can do about it.


In the era of Trump, this book taps into the global zeitgeist as many of us struggle to comprehend how we got to this dark place in our history. The primary audience will be progressives who seek to develop better models for understanding politics, human behaviour and corporate culture in modern democracies - people who read Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn,  George Monbiot, Matt Taibbi and Michael Wolff. 

At the tail-end of the second decade of the twenty-first century, we still fail to have a widely recognised model for why people with power and wealth do stupid and destructive things on a regular basis. Too often we see reports in the media of this CEO or that Cardinal doing something despicable without the explanation that they are most likely suffering from some form of anti-social personality disorder like psychopathy or sociopathy. The media ignores it, as do boards and shareholders. We randomise and obfuscate the primary reason for erratic, extreme behaviour and, in doing so, make it less likely we will understand it or predict future occurrences. This book argues that it is extremely important that we adopt a new model of understanding power dynamics that incorporates the unfortunate reality that psychopaths occupy the upper echelons of our institutions. 

Reading this book will help people better understand how to protect themselves against their boss, their priest, their politicians, and their brother-in-law. 


I have a podcast with ~5,000 listeners. 

Email list: ~4000 subscribers. 

Twitter: ~11,000 followers. 

Facebook Page: ~4000 followers.  (

Instagram: ~1200 followers

I'll obviously be promoting the book hard to my audience. In a poll I ran in November 2018, 100% of respondents who read the first chapter said they wanted to read the rest of the book. 

In terms of video strategy, my production company (the same one that made the documentary) is working on a pitch for a tie-in television series called "The Psychopath Hunters" where I travel the world with a psychiatrist and ask leaders from business, religion and politics to sit the psychopath test. 


The main competition to this book are others that talk about psychopaths .

  • The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson, Publisher: Picador; Main Market edition (1 June 2011) - Ronson explores the concept of psychopathy, along with the broader mental health"industry" including mental health professionals and the mass media. It spent the whole of 2012 on United Kingdom bestseller lists and ten weeks on The New York Times Best Seller list.
  • Taming Toxic People: The Science of Identifying and Dealing with Psychopaths at Work & at Home by David Gillespie, Publisher: Macmillan Australia (25 July 2017) - Bestselling author David Gillespie turns his attention to a phenomenon that damages businesses, seeds mental disease and discomfort and can bring civilisations to the brink of implosion - the psychopath. 
  • Snakes In Suits, Revised Edition: When Psychopaths Go To Work by Paul Babiak, Robert D Hare - In Snakes in Suits, Hare, an expert on the scientific study of psychopathy, and Babiak, an industrial and organizational psychologist and a leading authority on the corporate psychopath, examine the role of psychopaths in modern corporations and provide the tools employers can use to avoid and deal with them. Publisher: HarperCollins - US; Revised edition (20 August 2018)
  • The Psychopath Inside: A Neuroscientist's Personal Journey into the Dark Side of the Brain by James H. Fallon. Publisher: Penguin Putnam Inc; 1 edition (20 November 2014). The Psychopath Inside tells the fascinating story of Fallon's reaction to the discovery that he has the brain of a psychopath. 
  • Griftopia: bubble machines, vampire squids, and the long con that is breaking America by Matt Taibbi. The dramatic story behind the most audacious power grab in American history. Publisher: Scribe (22 November 2010)
  • Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media by Edward S. Herman (Author),‎ Noam Chomsky (Author). In Manufacturing Consent Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky show how an underlying elite consensus largely structures all facets of the news. Publisher: Pantheon Books, 1988. 

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I DON’T KNOW IF YOU’VE NOTICED but the world’s a bit of a fucking mess right now. Our political class has failed us. Our business leadership has failed us. So has the leadership of our religions, our media, our education system… it’s hard sometimes not to just give up, tune out, smoke some weed, eat a shit ton of easy carbs and binge Netflix. Which is perhaps precisely what our leaders want us to do. Give up. Stop paying attention. Accept our impotence. Let them get on with fucking things up.

Have you ever wondered how things got this bad? And what, if anything, you can do about it? If you have, then this book is for you.

In this book we argue that a relatively small group of psychopaths usually end running the world. Then, before you get too depressed, we suggest a range of things we can do about it. Now, even though this might be the way things have always been – a small group of psychopaths running the world – the concept of psychopaths is actually relatively new. It was first conceived in 1941 by American psychiatrist Hervey M. Cleckley. Before then, most folks just thought the other folks who were screwing up the world were "evil" or possessed by demons or some other quaint, antiquated idea of human motivation. But today, thanks to modern science,  we are all familiar with the concept of psychopaths. Unfortunately, many people assume they form the ranks of serial killers and ranting dictators, Ted Bundy, Joseph Stalin - they don't think of them as your local priest, your company director, your local member, or your local police captain. It sometimes takes a while before scientific ideas permeate into the public consciousness. What needs to be better understood is the concept that psychopaths often end up running and influencing many of our major - and minor - organisations and institutions.

Most people have pretty simple needs and wants. They just want to live their lives, fall in love, bang out a few kids, get laid on a regular basis, eat some delicious food, have a drink or a joint responsibly, watch a few great movies, listen to some music, read some books, see some sights, and die happy surrounded by the people they love. Is that too much to ask?

But some people seem to want to own everything. They want to control everything. Enough is never enough. They have a winner takes all attitude. Dog eat dog. Law of the jungle. Kill or be killed. People like that are often going to end up on top – if the rest of us let them. Which we usually do. And they get on top and stay on top by fighting a war.

It’s not the "War On Terror", the "War On Drugs" and even the "War On Christmas". There's a much more significant war going on and you're unlikely to hear about it in the media or from your government.

It's not a war that gets talked about because, like Fight Club, the first rule of this war is that you don't talk about it. If the general public became too aware of it, it would stop being effective. Instead, our leaders try to distract us by focusing our attention on the other wars, real and imaginary; with televised sports, reality shows, Presidential tweets and celebrity gossip - but they won't talk about this other war because it isn't in their best interests.

This other war has been going on, in its present form, since the rise of modern democracies, and billions of dollars are spent on it every year, yet it gets almost zero coverage in the nightly news or from our elected leaders.

The war I'm talking about is the “War On Your Mind”. It's a battle to control how you think, feel and act regarding the political and economic issues of the day. It is being fought every day on the battlegrounds of television, talk-back radio, newspapers, films, magazines, books and, now, the Internet.

The reason for this “War On Your Mind” is the oldest reason of all - power.

Who is fighting this war? The Psychopaths.

In every society, since the dawn of time, there has been a relatively small percentage of the population, some psychiatrists suggest around 1%, who feel it is their destiny to control as much of the money and power in that society as possible. This is the primary goal of their lives and they will do anything it takes to achieve it – fight, steal, murder, lie, cheat, bribe and burn. They will sacrifice their loved ones and their friends to end up on top. Most people aren't built that way - we are more interested in living simple lives, raising a family, enjoying our weekend, and smelling the roses. And this just makes it easier for the power-hungry people, the 1%, to hack and slash their way to the top. It’s always been this way. I’ve spent the last fifteen years recording hundreds of hours of podcasts about some of the “Great Men Of History” – Alexander The Great, Julius Caesar, Augustus Caesar, Napoleon Bonaparte, Churchill, Stalin, Roosevelt – and one of the questions I’m always asking myself is “was this guy a psychopath?”

In centuries gone past, the 1% often ended up as kings and queens, warlords, emperors, popes and cardinals, prophets and lords, dukes and the landed gentry. And there wasn’t much that the masses could do about it. They just accepted it as “the way things are”. They stayed in their class, in their poverty, just tried to survive. The nobility, a fancy name for the 1% and their descendants, fought for power amongst themselves, with the 99% quite often finding themselves in the middle of the battle.

However, since the rise of modern mass media in the 20th century, it has become harder for the 1% to get away with certain kinds of behaviour. Even though they may still control more money and power than the rest of society, there are always ninety-nine of us to every one of them, so they need to play their cards carefully. Gone are the days when they have private armies and fortified castles to hide in. The revolutions in Europe, Russia and North America during the 18th and 19th centuries were examples of what can happen when the majority of people feel too oppressed by a wealthy minority. The Bourbons and their fellow aristocrats in France, and the Romanovs and friends in Russia, provided all-too-real examples of the dangers of flaunting exorbitant wealth while the people starve.

Now, of course, the 1% weren’t going to just give up their wealth and power. They had to find new ways of staying in control of the masses.

To avoid revolutions, the 1% learned to manipulate how the 99% think and feel, so they can continue to control immense wealth and power without focused opposition from the masses. The 1% have been manipulating our thinking with propaganda and distraction theatre since we were born, and it's been going on so long that many of us probably aren't even very conscious of what’s going on. It's just part of the background noise that we’ve grown used to.

It's a bit like the laugh track on a sitcom - it's always been there, telling us when to laugh and what to think, how to vote and why we should go to war, what to focus on and what to ignore. Most of us are so used to it, we don't even notice, let alone think much about it and that's precisely what the elite are counting on. They are counting on the fact that you'll accept their conditioning without questioning it or fighting it. They are counting on the fact that the average person is too tired after working a long day or feeling just too helpless to do anything to take back control of their thinking. They are counting on us just sitting in front of the television and letting it wash over us, every night and every day, for the rest of our lives. They will tell us how to think, how to vote, what to buy and constantly keep us scared about the enemy du jour who is coming to destroy our way of life, looming diseases, natural disasters and our financial future.

Let me share a quote from the man that Time Magazine once declared their "Person Of The Century", as it neatly sums up the primary premise of the book:

"Private capital tends to become concentrated in few hands, partly because of competition among the capitalists, and partly because technological development and the increasing division of labor encourage the formation of larger units of production at the expense of smaller ones. The result of these developments is an oligarchy of private capital the enormous power of which cannot be effectively checked even by a democratically organized political society. This is true since the members of legislative bodies are selected by political parties, largely financed or otherwise influenced by private capitalists who, for all practical purposes, separate the electorate from the legislature. The consequence is that the representatives of the people do not in fact sufficiently protect the interests of the underprivileged sections of the population. Moreover, under existing conditions, private capitalists inevitably control, directly or indirectly, the main sources of information (press, radio, education). It is thus extremely difficult, and indeed in most cases quite impossible, for the individual citizen to come to objective conclusions and to make intelligent use of his political rights."

Who do you think said this? Che Guevara? Fidel Castro? Vladimir Lenin? Noam Chomsky?

Not even close. This is actually a quote from Albert Einstein.[i]

I was shocked and surprised in my early 20s when I first read that quote. I had, up until that time, believed that capitalism was a benevolent force for good and that Western democracies were free, fair and "by the people, for the people". The fact that one of the most celebrated intellects of the 20th century cast doubt on capitalism rattled me. Of course, being a brilliant physicist doesn't mean you are necessarily right about everything, so I decided to learn more about what makes the world tick, to try to get to the bottom of things and find out if I agreed with Albert. As it turns out, I now do.

This isn't to suggest that capitalism is rotten to the core and hasn't produced some positive effects on lifting the standard of living for millions of people around the world. Of course, it has. However, I don't think it's a binary situation - capitalism doesn't have to be either all good or all bad. The same is true, by the way, of socialism and communism. They all lie on a spectrum. As I live in a country that is a capitalist democracy, I think it's vital to understand the weaknesses as well as the strengths of our socio-economic model, and that's what this book is about.

This book presents a working model for understanding how the forces of capitalism keep the majority of the population distracted, broke, scared and politically disempowered. I'll try to explain, using a simple framework of conjoined interests, how capitalism allows a small number of influential (and potentially psychopathic) individuals to maintain control over the rest of the population, creating a series of rippling negative effects that might be in our best interests as a society to avoid. I'll attempt to provide a logical explanation for why we regularly hear stories about corporations, governments and religions making horrible decisions that damage the lives of individuals, families, the environment and economies and try to provide a method for empowering each of us to re-calibrate our own lives, taking back control of our finances, our minds and the lives of our families and societies.

Having a new working model to interpret the behaviours and actions of significant organisations (be they corporations, governments or religious) might enable us to avoid the pitfalls of life in a modern economy and, hopefully, build a safer, more sustainable and fairer world for us, our children and the global population of our distant brothers and sisters.

Hardly a month goes by when we aren't presented with evidence that another influential organisation has led us astray in one way or another. They lied about WMD in Iraq. They lied about Vietnam. About child molestation in the ranks of their priests. About the cause of the Global Financial Crisis. About recording our private telephone calls and reading our emails. About phone hacking our voicemails. About manipulation of election results. About deleting their private emails. About their dealings with Russia. About promises they made in their last election campaign which were broken as soon as they got into power. The list seems endless.

When someone in the past has proven to be a habitual liar, would you implicitly trust everything they say in the future? Unfortunately, that's the situation we now find ourselves in when it comes to the governments, corporations, intelligence agencies, religious organisations and media companies in Western democracies. If someone has lied to you repeatedly in the past, isn't it natural to keep a healthy distrust about everything they say afterwards? Does it make you a "conspiracy theorist" to suggest that these organisations, who have continually lied in the past, might not always be telling us the truth about their actions and statements in the present? 

Today, perhaps more than ever before, we have proof that the Powers That Be are deceiving us. Edward Snowden's revelations that "western intelligence agencies are attempting to manipulate and control online discourse with extreme tactics of deception and reputation-destruction" using what they call "The Four D's" - Deny, Disrupt, Degrade, Deceive - to mislead the general public and destroy not only the efforts of political activists and but also their personal reputations, should cause even the most conservative member of the public to re-consider what kind of democracy– and how much of it - we have.[ii]

Too often, when such behaviour is revealed, when companies are caught dumping toxic waste[iii] or when the Vatican gets an average of one credible rape complaint a day[iv] or when politicians are caught misleading the public[v], the suggestion is usually that it's either the behaviour of "a few bad eggs" or that someone made an unfortunate mistake, chalk it up to "bad intel". This "few bad eggs" or "bad intel" theory of understanding the causes of organisational malfeasance is, we think, another deliberate attempt to mislead us.

While it might be convenient to lay the blame for this kind of behaviour at the feet of "a few bad eggs", the aim of this book is to demonstrate that, on the contrary, this kind of deliberate misleading of the public is the natural outcome of the culture of significant organisations of all flavours (business, religious and political) being run by a relatively small group of psychopaths. The "few bad eggs" model is used to distract us from the truth - that this kind of terrible behaviour is actually a natural result of psychopathic organisational cultures and should be expected. That isn't to suggest that all significant organisations conduct themselves this way or to imply that all organisations are inherently psychopathic - on the contrary, organised efforts by significant groups of people are central to any significant undertaking. What I do want to suggest is that organisations are often susceptible to making decisions that have negative public outcomes because their interests often don't overlap directly with the interests of the general population and that the kind of person who ends up running a significant organisation is often the sort who is more than happy to make decisions that will increase his own wealth even if it requires hurting others.

Adopting this working model of understanding the behaviour of organisations will allow us to better protect ourselves from their more dangerous impulses because we will be expecting it, not allowing it to take us by surprise, over and over again. And by exploring the inter-connected interests of governments, corporations and religions, as suggested by Einstein, we will appreciate why they often seem to act in concert, without requiring any kind of Cigarette Smoking Man level of conspiracy.

We will also explore the kinds of personal behaviours that organisations tend to encourage, how they map conveniently to those that come naturally to psychopaths, and how those two things are connected.

Once you make the conceptual leap from "a few bad eggs" to understanding that it is often in the best self-interests of organisations to deceive us, it fundamentally changes the way you interpret the daily news - and suddenly things start to make a lot more sense.

If you've ever struggled to understand why people in power can do such immoral and destructive things, we think this model of “The Psychopath Economy” will help provide an explanation.

By the end of this book, you'll understand that you are being deceived by organisations on a regular basis and that it isn't a case of a few bad eggs, but precisely what you should expect from organisations - and the psychopaths who often end up running them.

  • Update #1 - The Last Push! March 6, 2019

    Hey folks! 

    Thanks for supporting the publishing campaign for the book! So far, based on your support, six publishers have expressed interest in taking the ...

  • Brett Jones
    on Feb. 21, 2019, 12:34 a.m.

    Please highlight that the amount is in USD, not Australian dollars. Probably should have known that, but got a bit of a shock when I saw the final bill. My bad!

    • Cameron Reilly
      on Feb. 21, 2019, 1:13 a.m.

      Hey Brett, yeah good idea. Sorry about the confusion.

  • Torsten Hoffmann
    on Feb. 21, 2019, 10:37 a.m.

    Fantastic project. Can't wait to read it. Good luck with the publishers.