Obedience to Authority: An Experimental View Paperback – June 30 2009
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- Paperback : 256 pages
- ISBN-10 : 006176521X
- ISBN-13 : 978-0061765216
- Item Weight : 191 g
- Dimensions : 13.49 x 1.46 x 20.32 cm
- Publisher : Harper Perennial Modern Classics; Reprint edition (June 30 2009)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #191,501 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
“Stanley Milgram’s experiments on obedience to malevolent authority seemed to me to be the most important social psychological research done in this generation….The quality of exposition in the book I s so high that it qualifies as literature as well as science.” (Roger Brown, Harvard University)
“This well-designed and brilliantly executed research study, reported in an unusually fascinating and very readable style, reveals the elusive and sometimes shocking conditions under which men obey authority regardless of the morality involved.” (Library Journal)
“A major contribution to our knowledge of man’s behavior. It establishes firmly in the front rank of social scientists in this generation.” (Jerome S. Brunner, Oxford University)
“One of the most significant books I have read in more than two decades of reviewing.” (Robert Kirsch, Los Angeles Times)
“The classic account of the human tendency to follow orders, no matter who they hurt or what their consequences.” (Michael Dirda, Washington Post Book World)
“Milgrim’s experiment-based analysis is a model of systematic, sequential, patient pursuit of answers to a significant social problem. His investigations accomplish what we should expect of responsible social science: to inform the intellect without trivializing the phenomenon.” (Henry W. Reicken, Science)
From the Back Cover
THE INSPIRATION FOR THE MAJOR MOTION PICTURE THE EXPERIMENTER
“The classic account of the human tendency to follow orders, no matter who they hurt or what their consequences.” — Michael Dirda, Washington Post Book World
In the 1960s Yale University psychologist Stanley Milgram famously carried out a series of experiments that forever changed our perceptions of morality and free will. The subjects—or “teachers”—were instructed to administer electroshocks to a human “learner,” with the shocks becoming progressively more powerful and painful. Controversial but now strongly vindicated by the scientific community, these experiments attempted to determine to what extent people will obey orders from authority figures regardless of consequences. “Milgram’s experiments on obedience have made us more aware of the dangers of uncritically accepting authority,” wrote Peter Singer in the New York Times Book Review. Featuring a new introduction from Dr. Philip Zimbardo, who conducted the famous Stanford Prison Experiment, Obedience to Authority is Milgram’s fascinating and troubling chronicle of his classic study and a vivid and persuasive explanation of his conclusions.
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Are we, as humans, really that dedicated to obeying authority that we would go so far as to harm someone simply because the authority told me to.
This book provides a great opportunity for reflection as to how deeply ingrained it is in our society and in us to obey authority. Often it's for our own well being. But, it's not always a good thing.
Even more than that, in this book you'll understand all the variations of that experiment that happened (surely, women would be less likely to complete the shocks to the end than men, right? And what about if the experiment was held in a different location or if the person running the experiment wasn't in the room?) and what the results were.
Understanding the studies in detail helps to understand under what circumstances we will obey authority, where authority loses power and where it's power comes from.
It's a fascinating read and while scientific, it's not an overly difficult book to read. The examples are great and the commentary on the experiments is clear and interesting.
You'll have to make your own applications in your business and your life as this presents the results and offers insights but doesn't go into applications. Smart marketers, business owners, teachers and even parents who are into psychology and influence material will appreciate the deeper understanding this offers into one of the weapons of mass influence (authority) that gets talked about so much in that space. Good book.
Some consider this to be a quasi-ethical study because it can cause great stress in its participants. I say, "GOOD!" People SHOULD be stressed by their ant-like slavery to authority, especially when it's in the purpose of evil. Had this experiment been for real, an innocent person would've been tortured and possibly killed for no reason, by a stranger, whose only motive was "I was told to." The more people are aware of how vulnerable they are to this kind of influence, hopefully, the more resistant to evil authority they can be.
This is a fantastic, must-read book for every adult on the face of this planet.