The Lucifer Effect

The Lucifer Effect : How Good People Turn Evil

3.94 (14,031 ratings by Goodreads)
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In The Lucifer Effect, the award-winning and internationally respected psychologist, Philip Zimbardo, examines how the human mind has the capacity to be infinitely caring or selfish, kind or cruel, creative or destructive. He challenges our conceptions of who we think we are, what we believe we will never do - and how and why almost any of us could be initiated into the ranks of evil doers.

At the same time he describes the safeguards we can put in place to prevent ourselves from corrupting - or being corrupted by - others, and what sets some people apart as heroes and heroines, able to resist powerful pressures to go along with the group, and to refuse to be team players when personal integrity is at stake.

Using the first in-depth analysis of his classic Stanford Prison Experiment, and his personal experiences as an expert witness for one of the Abu Ghraib prison guards, Zimbardo's stimulating and provocative book raises fundamental questions about the nature of good and evil, and how each one of us needs to be vigilant to prevent becoming trapped in the 'Lucifer Effect', no matter what kind of character or morality we believe ourselves to have.

The Lucifer Effect won the William James Book Award in 2008.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 576 pages
  • 126 x 198 x 36mm | 385g
  • Rider & Co
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1846041031
  • 9781846041037
  • 5,951

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Back cover copy

'Zimbardo's anatomy of human psychology and contemporary culture is as scholary as it is scary' Brian Keenan, author of An Evil Cradling

How can good people become evil? How can honest people be induced to behave illegally, and moral people seduced to act immorally? The anwers to such questions lie at the heart of this fascinating exploration of the darker side of human nature by the award-winning psychologist Philip Zimbardo.

Examining the casues of evil, Zimbardo provides the first in-depth analysis of his classic Stanford Prison Experiment. He describes how a group of ordinary students was placed in a mock prison and how, in less than a week, the study had to be terminated when the 'guards' became increasingly sadistic and the 'prisoners' pathological. He considers the findings of the experiment and its relevance to society today (not least at the Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay prisons), raising fundamental questions about the nature of good and evil - and how and why most of us could be initiated into the ranks of evil doers.

'Detailed and absorbing...masterly and honest' Mary Warnock, Times Higher Education Supplement

'Formidable' Observer

'The Lucifer Effect will change forever the way you think about why we behave the way we do...This is a disturbing book, but one that has never been more necessary' Malcolm Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point and Blink

'This important book is very readable' Spectator
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Review Text

"One of the most distinguished social scientists of our age"
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Review quote

"An important book...all politicians and social commentators should read it" * Sunday Times * "Detailed and absorbing...masterly and honest" * Mary Warnock, Times Higher Education Supplement * "Formidable" * Observer * "This important book is very readable" * Spectator * "One of the most distinguished social scientists of our age" * Catholic Herald *
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About Philip Zimbardo

Philip Zimbardo is Professor Emeritus of Psychology at Stanford University and has also taught at Yale, NYU and Columbia. He was elected President of the American Psychological Association in 2002 and is founder of the National Center for the Psychology of Terrorism. Widely respected as an innovative researcher and writer, he presented the award-winning video series Discovering Psychology and his Stanford Prison Experiment has also featured many times on TV. His website has received 15 million hits in 4 years, and the one specially set up for this book can be found at:
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Rating details

14,031 ratings
3.94 out of 5 stars
5 34% (4,821)
4 37% (5,135)
3 21% (2,882)
2 6% (810)
1 3% (383)
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