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Download The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil Audiobook, by Philip Zimbardo Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (3,914 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Philip Zimbardo Narrator: Kevin Foley Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: March 2011 ISBN: 9781452671505
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What makes good people do bad things? How can moral people be seduced to act immorally? Where is the line separating good from evil, and who is in danger of crossing it? Renowned social psychologist Philip Zimbardo has the answers, and in The Lucifer Effect he explains how-and the myriad reasons why-we are all susceptible to the lure of "the dark side." Drawing on examples from history as well as his own trailblazing research, Zimbardo details how situational forces and group dynamics can work in concert to make monsters out of decent men and women. Zimbardo is perhaps best known as the creator of the Stanford Prison Experiment. Here, for the first time and in detail, he tells the full story of this landmark study, in which a group of college-student volunteers was randomly divided into guards and inmates and then placed in a mock prison environment. Within a week the study was abandoned, as ordinary college students were transformed into either brutal, sadistic guards or emotionally broken prisoners. By illuminating the psychological causes behind such disturbing metamorphoses, Zimbardo enables us to better understand a variety of harrowing phenomena, from corporate malfeasance to organized genocide to how once upstanding American soldiers came to abuse and torture Iraqi detainees in Abu Ghraib. He replaces the long-held notion of the "bad apple" with the "bad barrel"-the idea that the social setting and the system contaminate the individual, rather than the other way around. This is a book that dares to hold a mirror up to mankind, showing us that we might not be who we think we are. While forcing us to reexamine what we are capable of doing when caught up in the crucible of behavioral dynamics, though, Zimbardo also offers hope. We are capable of resisting evil, he argues, and can even teach ourselves to act heroically. Like Hannah Arendt's Eichmann in Jerusalem and Steven Pinker's The Blank Slate, The Lucifer Effect is a shocking, engrossing study that will change the way we view human behavior. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • Zimbardo challenges [listeners] to look beyond glib denunciations of evil-doers and ponder our collective responsibility for the world's ills. Publishers Weekly
  • “Zimbardo challenges readers to look beyond glib denunciations of evil-doers and ponder our collective responsibility for the world’s ills.”

    Publishers Weekly

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lauren | 2/5/2014

    " This book helps answer a question that has been puzzling and troubling me for decades: how do ordinary people become monsters, willing to commit violence against others? Zimbardo's argument, backed up with research, is that we are much more influenced by context than we would like to admit. Under circumstances that dehumanize other people, and reduce our sense of individual responsibility, we are all capable of terrible things. His purpose is not to excuse individuals from their personal responsibility, but rather to urge us to think about the contexts we create as a society and whether they are conducive to growth and strength or to violence and inhumanity. He uses this model to try to understand horrors of recent history such as genocide in Africa and the torture at Abu Ghraib. Again, this is not to excuse the terrible violence, but rather to understand it, so we can look to avoid it in the future. I appreciate this argument because I believe if we realize we are all capable of violence, we are more vigilant against sliding into violence-inducing contexts blindly. By arming ourselves with the knowledge of what sorts of circumstances can lead to violence, we are less likely to create these contexts or succumb to them if they arise. At least that is my hope. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Merilee | 2/3/2014

    " I'd give this book 4.5 stars if I could. It's a very well-documented book written by the creator of the famous/infamous 1971 Stanford Prison Experiment, in which students were randomly selected to play either prisoners or guards and the psychological carnage which followed after only a few days. Zimbardo served as a consultant for the defense of one of the accused officers at Abu Ghraib, and draws many conclusions about the rotten barrels (the situations and "systems") which lead to otherwise good "apples" doing bad. He details many failures of leadership in the U.S. Army, as well as the higher-ups in the Defense Dept. and White House. The army has actually adopted some of his recommendations for better training of military leaders. The book is not 100% doom and gloom; towards the end he describes ways in which people who understand these dynamics can avoid the evil and even perform heroic acts. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Janice | 1/30/2014

    " meh... I don't buy it... good people can't turn evil. Those with the propensity for evil will get there... may take some time... but they will get there. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Bethany | 1/21/2014

    " A little dry, but very informative. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Yereli | 1/21/2014

    " It open my mind to different side I did not realized. This book is to understand want men can do for something they think is right. I invite you as a reader to read this book because it would allow you think differently about the around you. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jean | 1/6/2014

    " An amazing piece of non-fiction in which scientific research becomes a uniquely written human interest story and a "compelling read". "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ana Costa | 1/5/2014

    " Can't recommend this book enough, it outlines that the lines between good and evil are not as far apart as we like to imagine. I learnt a lot about human nature, human failings and myself reading this book. I think it would be my top 10 everyone-should-read-once-in-their-life pile- the world would be a different place if they did. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Garry | 12/23/2013

    " Some excellent use and analysis of real life events but spends too much time recalling the minute details of the Stanford Prison experiment. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Matt | 12/20/2013

    " Very interesting study, but that's exactly what it is - a study. It's not overly engaging or anything, it's a diary of events and facts. Can drag on at times but the reward of enlightenment on the human psyche is definitely worthwhile. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Angeline | 12/1/2013

    " I was hoping for a more analytical review, especially from such a noted psychologist, so I never quite got used to the informal writing. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Tyler | 11/5/2012

    " first half is worth reading if you want a first person account of his prison study. 2nd half is him trying to prove its still relevant and is too long and drawn out "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 kimberly | 9/14/2012

    " This is one of a very few books that has changed how I look at human behavior and how i think about the world. It is utterly fascinating. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dyeager | 8/16/2012

    " stanford prison experiment. recently interviewed on the colbert report. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Haley Hill | 4/26/2012

    " Amazing and at the same time, scary. Philip's research gave me a deeper understanding of how human behaviour is influenced by our environment. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Daniel Roy | 12/29/2011

    " A powerful, important book. It will completely change your understanding of social behavior and how situational forces can make fundamentally 'good' people do evil. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jennifer Patrick | 12/10/2011

    " A complete description of the Stanford Prison experiment and the similarities to the Guantanamo Bay abuse. Great materail but the author did tend to drone on a bit. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Barrett Brown | 10/13/2011

    " Very informative as per: How Systems manipulate and control people effectively. Very boring, though, could have been written with more flash. For Concepts and research I give it 5/5, but because it can be so boring it gets only 3/5. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lora | 8/13/2011

    " Zimbardo makes an excellent and very important point! The Stanford Prison Experiment chapters are excruciatingly long and detailed, but parts of this section can be skipped without diminishing the overall effect. Really, everyone should read this book! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Catelyn | 6/8/2011

    " Textbook read but so interesting if you enjoy classic psychology studies on why good people do bad things. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jessica | 5/23/2011

    " Difficult but important book on the contextual nature of human behavior, personal responsibility, and evil. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Daniel | 5/3/2011

    " A powerful, important book. It will completely change your understanding of social behavior and how situational forces can make fundamentally 'good' people do evil. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Deb | 3/28/2011

    " I gave it four stars for the discovery of this behavior and the results of the study. I think Zimbardo is a bit too self-serving and eager to continue to capitalize on his infamous accident, which detracts from the book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Bobbie Mission Viejo | 3/14/2011

    " I liked this book and enoyed the learning process, although I thought the clinical aspect of got somewhat tedious. It was worth reading to help understand how good people can be influenced to do evil deeds. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lisa | 2/14/2011

    " So far this is very very interesting...I think much of what Zimbardo has to say has much wider applications than the prison environment or Abu Gharib. Fascinating. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Stargrave | 2/11/2011

    " Fascinating then, fascinating now. So many people think of blaming society as a weak, cowardly, and deceitful thing to do. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Garry | 2/3/2011

    " Some excellent use and analysis of real life events but spends too much time recalling the minute details of the Stanford Prison experiment. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lani | 1/9/2011

    " I wish I could give it ten stars!!! Super-interesting read, and it pointed me to a lot of other books I hope to read in the future. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Tyler | 12/19/2010

    " first half is worth reading if you want a first person account of his prison study. 2nd half is him trying to prove its still relevant and is too long and drawn out "

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About the Author

Philip Zimbardo is a professor emeritus of psychology at Stanford University and has also taught at Yale, Columbia, and New York University. Born in New York City, he earned his BA from Brooklyn College and his MS and PhD from Yale University. He is coauthor of Psychology and Life and the author of Shyness, which together have sold more than 2.5 million copies. Zimbardo has been president of the American Psychological Association and is now director of the Stanford Center on Interdisciplinary Policy, Education, and Research on Terrorism. He also narrated the award-winning PBS series Discovering Psychology, which he helped to create.

About the Narrator

Kevin Foley has more than thirty years of experience in radio and television broadcasting, commercial voice-overs, and audiobook narration. He has recorded more than 150 audiobooks, including Storm Rising by Gary Naiman, The Last Witness by Joel Goldman, and River Thunder by Gary McCarthy, for which he earned a Spur Award for Best Audiobook from the Western Writers of America. He has also won an Earphones Award from AudioFile magazine for his narration of Cognitive Surplus by Clay Shirky.