Monday, July 13, 2009


The new edition of Obedience to Authority: The Experiment that Challenged Human Nature by Stanley Milgram just landed on my desk. It probes aspects of human nature that are deeply troubling. Disturbed by the ease with which the German people obeyed Nazi authority, Milgram asked: What is the impact of one powerful individual's commands to another person? Will that person behave in ways that challenge his or her morality?

Milgram's 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.

Obedience to Authority is Milgram's chronicle of his classic study--and a persuasive explanation of his conclusions. The new edition has an enlightening introduction by Philip Zimbardo, Director of the Stanford Prison Experiment and author of The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil).

If you'd like to consider Obedience to Authority for one of your classes, please order an examination copy. If you've already decided to adopt the book, please request a desk copy.

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