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Evil: The Science Behind Humanity's Dark Side
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Evil: The Science Behind Humanity's Dark Side

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  33 Ratings  ·  18 Reviews
What is it about evil that we find so compelling? From our obsession with serial killers to violence in pop culture, we seem inescapably drawn to the stories of monstrous acts and the aberrant people who commit them. But evil, Dr. Julia Shaw argues, is all relative, rooted in our unique cultures. What one may consider normal, like sex before marriage, eating meat, or being ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Expected publication: February 26th 2019 by Abrams Press (first published February 7th 2019)
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Meike
Oct 27, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: germany, canada, 2018-read
As this is a "popular science" book, I didn't expect to be confronted with rigorous academic postulations and intricate arguments that can only be understood by insiders, but this was way too shallow for my taste (and I am not an expert in any of the fields Shaw discusses). I really wanted to like this, but unfortunately, I didn't learn much, and Shaw's impulse to talk about herself and preach to her readers didn't help either - not because her statements are somehow wrong, but because they are ...more
Lolly K Dandeneau
Aug 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
via my blog: http://bookstalkerblog.wordpress.com/
'Without understanding, we risk dehumanizing others, writing off human beings simply because we don’t comprehend them.'

That is a loaded sentence and Evil is a strange beast, one we can’t ever contain because it’s slippery. The face of evil changes with time, what is evil today may be the norm tomorrow. One thing this book will do is make you squirm, because when discussing evil we remove ourselves from the equation until someone points out that
...more
Antonio Delgado
Sep 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is an accessible approach to the problem of evil without the academic jargon but with the proper academic and responsible rigor. Offering more than answers, Julia Shaw takes us to question a priori conception(s) of evil. Simply put it, it is easy to use the later of evil than to deal with reality. Shaw challenges us to think and to have a dialogue with ourselves regarding our own capacity for committing acts that often fall into that category.
Bob
Aug 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
As an ethics instructor, I am delighted to have read Julia Shaw's book, Evil: The Science Behind Humanity's Dark Side. Dr. Shaw does an outstanding job of elucidating the nuances of a rich bio-psycho-social perspective of despicable behavior. Now, I have a wealth of great examples, provocative research findings, and thoughtful questions for debate to share and help learners see the science and philosophy behind evil. Plus, reading this book was like a deliberate ride through a freak house wearin ...more
Lynn Coulter
Aug 06, 2018 rated it liked it
I'm not confident at all about sharing my opinions of Julia Shaw's new book, Evil: the Science Behind Humanity's Dark Side. After all, Ms. Shaw is a senior lecturer in psychology and criminology at London South Bank University, and I have expertise in neither field.

But I just can't agree with the conclusions she draws from case studies of serial killers and criminals. I agree with her finding that readers fascinated by evil, and I understand what she means when she says different cultures may d
...more
Catriona
Oct 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
“When we talk about evil, we tend to turn our attention to Hitler.”

This catchy first sentence begins Dr. Julia Shaw’s excellent, up-to-date analysis. She points out that, on the internet, it seems as if “…every comment thread will eventually lead to a Hitler comparison.”

But, as ‘Hitler’ has become a synonym for ‘evil,’ the sheer volume of people and actions compared to the WWII dictator results in the weakening of the epithet as a description. Even though there are points on which most would a
...more
Latkins
Nov 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a fascinating book about what we mean when we describe 'evil'. The author, Dr Shaw, argues that people and actions aren't evil in themselves, but only in how we perceive them, and that dismissing terrible acts as 'evil' is dangerous, as it stops us from trying to understand why they happen, and perhaps prevent them from happening. Dealing with issues as diverse as the holocaust, murder, rape, paedophilia, exploitation and modern slavery, at times this is not an easy read but it will make ...more
Eric Sala
Oct 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I came across this book because i am a big fan of psychology and murder. I really enjoyed this book that talked about obsession with serial killers to violence in pop culture. The author, Julia uses case studies from academia, examples from popular culture, and compares to everyday life. Awesome fun and very suspenseful.
Andy
Oct 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book offers some great insights into the psychology of what we as society today often consider "evil". It reflects on many different elements involved, from the factors that can lead to the Stanford-prison experiment and the bystander effect, to the question of what is sexually "deviant" or normal. Throughout all chapters, the language is easy to understand and all psychological terms are very well explained and put into context. Additionally, the author manages to engage the reader by offe ...more
Sumomi (Privater Account)
if it wasn't for some important messages I would only give it 3 stars. I didn't like the narrator and the whole storytelling style is annoying me. Also there was a lot of stuff I read before. Especially in times where people tend to start de-humanizing people again, it is important to understand mechanisms that allow people to be cruel and toxic, so that's why I gave 4 stars.
Jill Elizabeth
Sep 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
OK, kudos to Julia Shaw for a VERY thought-provoking book - albeit one that I often disagreed with... Shaw has put together an interesting argument and analysis in support of it. I can agree with her basic premise that knee-jerk "that/he/she is EVIL!" pronouncements based on a small number of "facts" and/or singular details is destructive not only to the person/thing being pronounced but also to society as a whole because it oversimplifies and "other-izes" and ignores all of the shades of nuance ...more
Shawna
Aug 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
“It’s time to rethink Evil.”
Thank you to #Netgalley and #AbramsPress for the free review copy of #EvilbyJuliaShaw in exchange for my honest review. Many people believe certain acts and people are evil. I am a culprit in this type of thinking. This book changed how I think and look at what is typically considered Evil.

Evil: The Science Behind Humanity’s Dark Side was informative and entertaining. This is my first book by Dr. Julia Shaw and her writing pulls me in. There is a great mix of science
...more
Shaela
Jul 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book will take your concept of evil and flip it on its head, making gray all the originally black and white things you knew about both evil and yourself.

In Evil, author Julia Shaw illustrates the common perceptions of and beliefs around "evil" and then questions them with fresh, compelling, and stimulating arguments, case studies, philosophical questions, and scientific research. Would you kill baby Hitler, even though committing murder is fundamentally "evil"? Why does one single moment or
...more
Richard
Oct 09, 2018 marked it as to-read
Recommends it for: Josh and Clint. Ezra Klein?
Recommended to Richard by: http://youarenotsosmart.com/2018/10/...
The author was interviewed on episode 138 of the You Are Not So Smart podcast: Rethinking evil with psychologist Julia Shaw, and this clearly must be added to my “ideology and evil” bookshelf, even if I never have enough time to followup on that curiosity.
Kira
Oct 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favoriten
Ein kurzweiliges, spannendes Buch, das uns unsere dunkle Seite nahe bringt und uns gleichzeitig zum Nachdenken anregt. Ich habe es sehr genossen das Buch zu Lesen.
Lisa
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Nov 11, 2018
Julia
rated it it was amazing
Oct 07, 2018
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Nov 05, 2018
seitenweiseglueck
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Oct 20, 2018
Cavechucham
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Oct 21, 2018
Juli
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Oct 07, 2018
JayPi
rated it it was ok
Oct 10, 2018
Zoe Mason
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Nov 05, 2018
Milla
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Oct 15, 2018
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Nov 03, 2018
Victoria Peipert
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Jul 27, 2018
Luisa Göttler
rated it it was amazing
Oct 26, 2018
Julia
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Oct 22, 2018
Dennis
Sep 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a well written book on a topic that many struggle with: EVIL. It would indeed be useful for study in a university setting, but is definitely written in such a way that non-professionals can also benefit. It addresses questions that have been debated for centuries, and most likely will continue for centuries in the future. Is there such a thing as "evil intent"? Is evil a force defined within a person's genetic character? Are a person's actions labeled as "good" or "evil" depending only u ...more
Katharina
rated it really liked it
Nov 10, 2018
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Julia Shaw is an honorary research associate at the University College London. Born in Germany and raised in Canada, she has a MS in psychology and law and a PhD in psychology from the University of British Columbia. She is a regular contributor to Scientific American.