The Lucifer Effect by Philip G. Zimbardo

The Lucifer Effect

Renowned social psychologist and creator of the "Stanford Prison Experiment," Philip Zimbardo explores the mechanisms that make good people do bad things, how moral people can be seduced into acting immorally, and what this says about the line separating good from evil.The Lucifer Effect 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 trailb...

Details The Lucifer Effect

TitleThe Lucifer Effect
Release DateApr 17th, 2007
PublisherRandom House (NY)
Number of pages551 pages
GenrePsychology, Nonfiction, Science, Sociology, Philosophy, History, Social Science, Politics, Abandoned, Unfinished

Reviews The Lucifer Effect

  • Rebecca
    Philip Zimbardo’s The Lucifer Effect is a difficult read, not because its premise is particularly startling, but because its examination of the psychology of evil shows it to be disturbingly simple. By placing each act of breathtaking cruelty beside a description of its perpetrator--invariably an ordinary, psychologically normal person--Zimbardo makes clear that we are just animals socialized into one behavior, and easily socialized into anothe...
  • Katie
    I was excited to read this, since I have a psychology background and had heard that it was a good look at the Stanford Prison Experiment, which I studied in college. I wasn't too impressed with this book though. It is at least 100 pages too long and bogged down by excessive detail, making it read like a numbing textbook. The breakdown is as follows: 200 pages on Zimbardo's Prison Experiment, 100 pages of analysis of the experiment, 75 pages on Ab...
  • Amanda
    I, after a couple of weeks, have finally finished “The Lucifer Effect.” I normally don’t dog ear books because, well, that’s almost sacrilegious, but there were points that I knew I wanted to come back to. Like this one which really came out there unexpectedly, and had me laughing so hard. After asking what his parents do, his religious background, and whether he goes to church regularly, Prescott is angered by the prisoner’s statement ...
  • David
    Well, I need to state my prejudices upfront. I'm kind of a secret fan of Doctor Zimbardo. See, I guess at some point he put together some kind of massive 26-episode series of half-hour lectures on how the mind works for public TV. They would come on at some ungodly hour of the morning so that I used to catch them while scarfing down my nutritious Lucky Charms and locally squozen OJ before leaving for work. Doctor Z would introduce each episode wi...
  • Thomas Edmund
    As a huge psych nerd I was really happy to stumble across this book in the local library. For those who don't know and/or have forgotten psyc101 Zimbardo is the professor behind the infamous Stanford Prison Experiment. The seminal experiment where (Spoiler alert I guess) where ordinary young men were put in a simulated prison situation (randomly assigned to prisoners and guards, mind) and the whole thing had to be shut down before the week ended ...
  • Ana Vlădescu
    A classic on the subject, Zimbardo tackles in this book the longest description and explanation of his Stanford Prison Experiment, along with two other main themes: the Abu Ghraib abuses and, in the last chapter, heroism and altruism. Now, of course I am a little biased (at the moment I am using his study as a building block for an essay on obedience and my Social Psychology paper was on Abu Ghraib), but I loved this book. I love the subject, I l...
  • Eden Prosper
    Philip Zimbardo’s The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil was a stimulating read. A lot of psychology books tend to be a bit dry or scientifically wordy, becoming tedious and stodgy. It’s refreshing to be able to retain knowledge that can later be reflected on.The Lucifer Effect delves into the psychology of roles we assume when forced into power struggles. It’s a facet of research that reveals the power of social situat...
  • George Hu
    Well, interesting title and interesting subject, but I highly doubt his hypothesis. This book was borne out of Philip Zimbardo's work with a U.S. army soldier, who was one of the prison guards at Abu Ghraib in Iraq. Zimbardo is also the one who ran the infamous Stanford Prison Experiment in the 1970s. Basically, his premise in this book is that circumstances shape the individual, and our actions can be molded by the circumstances that we are in. ...
  • Nikki
    This is a horribly difficult book to read, not because Zimbardo’s writing is bad or the subject is uninteresting, but because it exposes how easily people can be manipulated into a role — and I don’t just mean the guards, but also the prisoners. It’s important because it examines, in minute detail, the events of a now infamous experiment: the Stanford Prison Experiment. This was run, not by Stanley Milgram, as people often think, but by P...
  • K
    Be forewarned -- this is not a relaxing book on any level.Having said that, it's pretty fantastic. How good people turn evil is a huge question, more ambitious than most authors would undertake and probably a set-up for disappointment as who can possibly answer that? And I admit, Zimbardo's answers are incomplete but still pretty impressive.According to Zimbardo, when we try to explain good people committing evil deeds we tend to rely on what's c...
  • Kq
    This book should be called "The Stanford Prison Experiment and Other Things Regarding How Good People Turn Evil". The first 200 or so pages are about The Stanford Prison Experiment (1971 study involving the psychological effects of prisoners and prison guards). If you took Psychology 101 or 102 in college you more than likely read about it. Anyway, once I reached page 113 I was really wishing for a new topic, but no, it kept going and going--repe...
  • Sara Sherra
    A while ago, i found the book title really interesting and decided at once to add the book to my "to-read" list. I was, unfortunately, very disappointed with it, as it turned out to be not quite what i expected. I thought the book was about "Understanding How Good People Turn Evil", when it was just simply "Examples of How Good People Turn Evil". Dr. Zimbardo was excessively thorough regarding the Stanford Prison Experiment and the Abu Ghraib inc...
  • Sitaphul
    um, so i decided to stop reading this book because it's not suprising to me (in the LEAST!) that a bunch of college educated, middle-class white kids would act all brutish and prison-guardesque if they didn't have to be responsibile for any of their actions, and stuff. hello, blackwater? hello, um, the u.s. army? hello, fox news network? screw situational ethics when white boys have the whole world as their prison den! also, i stopped reading thi...
  • Letitia
    It is extremely difficult to rate this book because I have a thousand thoughts about it. So I am rating it a 4-star because I DO want people to read it. However if I were ranking Zimbardo as an author alone, I would give it 2 stars.Despite Zimbardo's abysmal efforts as a writer, this is a fascinating book, which examines many known and unknown studies on "evil." To read this, I recommend skimming the whole section where Z describes the Stanford P...
  • Yasmine Abdel Hai
    unnecessary elboration in regards to the abu graham prison incidents and the stanford prison experiment. The book doesn't not prove a theory or give an understanding of the process of becoming evil. that being said chapter 15, and 16 went breifly over the psychological/ behavioural factors that makes people turn bad and then also breifly how should we deal with evil people when we are faced with situation where they try to dehumanize us etc. but ...
  • Rachael
    If you've ever wondered how people get to "that" point when they can do something you consider heinous or evil, this is an interesting read. This book discusses the Stanford Prison Experiment and how the impact of a situation can have a greater impact on human behavior than we as an American society recognize. Although everyone has individual choice, we habitually underestimate the impact of the situation on the individual in both positive and ne...
  • Michael
    Ever since reading Frankenstein, I have been interested in the concept of evil. How can perfectly ordinary people become perpetrators of such horrible things? What turns a good person evil? These are the fundamental questions that Dr Philip Zimbardo attempts to answer in the book The Lucifer Effect. In 1971 Zimbardo conducted an experiment at Stanford University funded by the U.S. Navy into the causes of conflict between military guards and priso...
  • Jeffrey Howard
    The Lucifer Effect in many ways reads like an introductory social psychology book as Zimbardo trudges through experiments that have become staples for undergraduate psychology courses: Stanley Milgram's obedience experiment, Asch's conformity experiment, and, of course, the Stanford Prison Experiment. Zimbardo makes a strong case for how bad systems, or "bad barrels" produce "bad apples", that atrocities are committed by regular people, often, be...
  • Noah W
    "Am I capable of evil?" is the question that I want you to consider over and over again as we journey together..." ~ ZimbardoThis book explains how "normal" people can commit atrocities. He delves into both physical and academic examples of normal students and citizens that turn into brutally ruthless bullies.The Holocaust, Abu Graib, and his infamous Stanford Prison Experiment are the main case studies that Zimbardo uses to drive his point home....
  • Shadowdenizen
    This was not an easy book to rate (or to read.)Overall, This was very readable and compelling, despite the fact that it was very densely written, and not for the faint of heart.While I'm not sure I buy 100% into the underlying premise the author espouses (That human values are plastic, and that anyone can be capable of great evil given the right circumstances, and that true evil is born from situational [external] causes, and it's not disposition...
  • Maria Caggiano
    First the Pro's: This book was written by the principle investigator of the "Stanford Prison Experiment" in the 1970's. This individual also was an expert witness at the trial of SFC Frederick, one of the MP's convicted for abusing prisoners at Abu Garhaib. It sheds light on how poor leadership and systemic dehumanization can lead normal people to commit acts of incredible cruelty. I think it is an important read for any of us who anticipate stay...
  • John Wiswell
    This is one of those books that exposes ratings as preposterous. Any conscientious person ought to read segments of this book, particularly Zimbardo's early chapters on his infamous Stanley Prison Experiment. Performed decades ago, it exposed that the horrors of Abu Ghraib were not the implausible acts of monsters, but the likely results of unchecked prison power situations. Zimbardo hired students to roleplay for two weeks as either guards or pr...
  • Aaron Schmidt
    I read this book at the exact right time in my life, at the end of college and before grad school. Just as I was thinking about what it would mean to be an educator, this book pushed me right over the edge. It's such a fascinating read, and really makes you contemplate things you'd probably rather ignore, like humanity's capacity for, well, humanity in the face of stress, strife, and life in general.I think it's a little self-referential and a bi...
  • Sarah
    "resistance creates an emotional burden for those who maintain their independence."A very Long read. Disturbing yet very informative. Numerous moments of "I would never do that .. how could they?" and "but can I tell if I'm not in that situation? " I enjoyed this book more than I thought I will.I liked how it showed that we brag about our "goodness" while being totally oblivious to powers around us that could make us do things we Never ...
  • Judyta Szaciłło
    It could be an incredibly interesting book had the author been far more concise. The same information, observations and conclusions are repeated over and over again. Nevertheless, the subject of the book is fascinating and worth the effort, because it helps a lot in understanding how human beings work - as individuals and as societies. It also forces you to think more critically about yourself and, at the same time, it makes you aspire to do bett...
  • Colin N.
    I picked up "The Lucifer Effect" because Zimbardo, the author, was the creator of the Stanford Prison Experiment in the 1970s, which I had studied in Psych in college and thought was really interesting. Zimbardo expands on the lessons learned from that experiment to present an extensive analysis of what forces cause good people to act in evil ways. His basic thesis is that people often focus on disposition in assigning blame for evil acts, thinki...
  • Петър Стойков
    Ако не сте чували за Станфордският затворнически експеримент - марш да си наваксате. Това е един от най-известните експерименти в съвременната наука, където един психолог взема няколко студенти (доброволци), разделя ги на случаен принцип на надзи...
  • Graeme Rodaughan
    I read this book several years ago, and current events keep making it relevant.This is not an easy read, it is a blow by blow recounting of the Stanford Prison experiment by Philip Zimbardo, and can be difficult to follow at times as the identity of the participants in the study are (rightfully) hidden and abstracted.For me, the essence of the study is,[1] That the presence of authority of one person over another opens the door for abuse, and tha...
  • Chedy Riahi
    تأثير إبليس: كيف يتحول الطيب إلى شريرقد يوحي العنوان بتناول مانوي للموضوع، و لكن هذا الكتاب تشريح لجزء مظلم في الطبيعة البشرية يجعل الإنسان العادي يخرج عن القانون و يقترف تصرفات لاأخلاقية تصل إلى المساهمة في الإبادةيخصص الكاتب جزءا هاما من الكتاب...