Evil
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 a banker, others find abhorrent. And if evil is only in the eye of the beholder, can it be said to exist at all? In Evil, Shaw uses case studies from academia, examples from and popular culture, and anecdotes from everyday life to break down complex information and concepts like the neuroscience of evil, the psychology of bloodlust, and workplace misbehavior. This is a wide-ranging exploration into a fascinating, darkly compelling subject.

Evil Details

TitleEvil
Author
ReleaseFeb 26th, 2019
PublisherAbrams Press
ISBN-139781419729492
Rating
GenreNonfiction, Psychology, Science, Crime, True Crime, Sociology, Reference, Research, Adult, Cultural, Audiobook

Evil Review

  • Meike
    January 1, 1970
    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 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 often referring to things so obvious (don't be afraid of mentally ill people! Don't perpetuate the suppression of women! Don't discriminate people because of their sexual orientation!) that I'm wondering who the reading audience for this book is. I know that there are people who cling to hateful and cliched ideas in oder to marginalize others, but will they pick up this book and have an epiphany?The basic problem of the book is probably that the concept of "evil" is so broad and partly subjective (what would you consider as evil, what merely as bad?) that Shaw is busy covering a lot of ground at the expense of depth: She talks about the concept of "evil" in the context of technology, power, the office, sexuality, murder, rape culture, the Nazis, terrorism, paedohpilia, slavery, sadism... and yes, she herself states that this exploration is based on her own interests regarding the concept of "evil". While there are some scientific studies that I had never heard of and that I found very interesting, many cases she refers to are already well-known (how often do we have to read about the Stanford Prison Experiment?).So all in all, I was a little underwhelmed by this book. And hey, all German speakers out there, if you want to get an impression what this book feels like, you can watch this clip in which Shaw (who is German-Canadian) does a "creepiness test" with late night host Jan Böhmermann: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D_mzL...
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  • Joseph
    January 1, 1970
    There is an old illusion. It is called good and evil.Fredrick NietzscheEvil: The Science Behind Humanity's Dark Side by Julia Shaw is a study of evil and an attempt to define evil. Shaw is a German-Canadian psychologist and popular science writer who specializes in false memories. She started a BSc in psychology at the Simon Fraser University. She went on to complete a Masters in Psychology and Law at Maastricht University in the Netherlands. In 2009, she returned to Canada and was awarded a Ph. There is an old illusion. It is called good and evil.Fredrick NietzscheEvil: The Science Behind Humanity's Dark Side by Julia Shaw is a study of evil and an attempt to define evil. Shaw is a German-Canadian psychologist and popular science writer who specializes in false memories. She started a BSc in psychology at the Simon Fraser University. She went on to complete a Masters in Psychology and Law at Maastricht University in the Netherlands. In 2009, she returned to Canada and was awarded a Ph.D. at the University of British Columbia entitled "Constructing Rich False Memories of Committing Crime."Shaw opens with Hitler, someone that nearly everyone considers as evil; the question is why. There was no trauma in his childhood. He did not torture small animals. Even to the last, he was kind to his dog. Yet, he is responsible for the deaths of millions. Others seem to fit this mold like Charles Manson, or Josef Stalin. They have little in redeeming qualities. What is evil? Is there a definition that can be applied -- a tipping point for actions. Shaw does punctuate the chapters of the book with Nietzsche quotes that tend to imply that the answer is no. The Trolley Experiment is an excellent example of the sliding scale of right and wrong, and that experiment can be played on many different levels and settings. These experiments have no right answer many times. If letting a child die to save a person wrong, what about if ten people were saved, or one hundred? Where is the line drawn? Is someone who kills a person by accident or negligence deserving of the title of "murderer" the same as a serial killer? We all have a dark secret of some kind or something we are not proud of in our past. Should that label be made public and remain with us for our entire lives? Shaw does take some twists that are unexpected such as with Jeffery Dahmer and those who commit murder. Recidivism rates for murder are extremely low, and most murders are between people who are close. Someone who kills is doubtful to kill again. Her search for why sometimes clouds the actions. However, some crimes are of necessity. Would anyone considers Jean Valjean to be evil? Evil has changed over time. Homosexuality was considered a crime or a mental illness. Some people thought it was contagious. Some aspects of sexuality today were considered crimes in the recent past. Others remain on the taboo list. Shaw also likes using lists that make the reader feel increasingly uncomfortable to the point that each reader comes upon an action they consider evil. We all do not stop at the same point. We oppose slavery in the modern world but where is the line drawn. Paying someone a non-living wage is permissible, but slavery is evil. Killing puppies or kittens is considered evil, but the industrial slaughter of cows, pigs, and chickens is allowable. Nietzsche said, "There is no such thing as moral phenomena, but only a moral interpretation of phenomena." Although many of us can agree that evil exists at one edge of the spectrum, how far does it extend to the center? Shaw gives examples and situations to show how large the grey area is between good and evil. Time moves the marker. Differences in our own thinking and experiences create different tipping points for each of us. We all agree are that there is evil, but what is evil varies between people.
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  • Lolly K Dandeneau
    January 1, 1970
    via my blog: https://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 via my blog: https://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 ignorance is no excuse either. Oh yes, you and me too. Think about consumerism, all those things we just have to have on the backs of the broken. I have such a disgust for child abusers, but the truth is, Shaw raises solid arguments on why dehumanizing anyone actually hurts us all in the end. How can we learn and create a safe environment if we really don’t understand the why of it all? How can we understand the why of anything if we rush to label a person or thing evil? End of story, you’re nothing like me, you’re evil! Nothing else to see here, we’ve decided it’s just evil. I realize that is a huge mistake.Someone thinks you are evil too, be it for your religious beliefs or lack thereof, maybe even the country you live in, or your sexual preferences. Julia Shaw’s book can start some very interesting conversations and you can bet not everyone is going to agree. This is not for the light reader, the subject is very heavy. You are not meant to feel sorry for people who are attracted to children or animals, to most of us this is beyond vile, repulsive but it doesn’t change that such people exist and struggle with these ‘urges’. Do you see what I mean, this is a tough read! It’s hard to review, because these are subjects we find downright abhorrent and, admittedly, evil. Like a dead rotting thing, we do not want to acknowledge it’s there, bury it, let someone else deal with it. Tell me though, what about people who have evil thoughts but never act on them? Or their forbidden urges? How do we help them, prevent these thoughts from escalating into acts? Can we? What a slippery slope!This book will challenge your notions of bad and good, much in the same way age blurs that line. As children, we are reared on stories teaching us morality, many meant to keep us in line or safe, to make sure we become upstanding citizens. As we age, life kicks us, we struggle, we make mistakes because we are human and flawed. We all want to be understood, forgiven our mistakes, and yet if someone’s darkest deed is out in the open, it’s less easy to move on because it’s all we can see, an ever-present stain. Not everything should be forgiven, we have laws for a reason, but we must understand or we gain nothing. In all fairness though, often some criminals do prove that they shouldn’t be trusted and commit the same crimes over and over. What about that?Regarding our impressions based on looks (someone looks evil, weird, creepy) it is true we are biased. Surely someone who is beautiful, well-kempt, and eloquent gains the trust of many, and often to our detriment. Our visual perception is deeply flawed, just as much as we trust beauty we are put off by those with unusual deformities, unfairly so. I agree with the idea that people often feel someone must deserve their suffering, we see it every day. This made me wonder… if someone looks ‘creepy’ to everyone they meet, they would certainly be treated suspiciously, it wouldn’t be so far-fetched to imagine it affects their interactions and sours them socially. Why not, I would certainly be sick and tired of people myself always having an adverse reaction to me based on looks I had no choice in. On the flip side, I thought the same is true for those with stunning looks who do have depth and maybe have a hard time knowing who genuinely likes them as a person, rather than wanting them based on their beauty alone. Between the two though, people often stumble over themselves to help attrractive people. I refuse to touch on mental illness and the disgusting lack of understanding the whole world over, it’s such a mess even in our ‘modern age’. People are downright terrified of mental illness, it’s no wonder with popular culture and films, the mentally ill, if you believe Hollywood, are all serial killers. People are downright uncomfortable the moment they hear whisper of ‘mental illness’, much of that is due to ignorance, poor education as a whole on the subject. See, this book leads to stray thoughts. Back to evil…Mob mentality is a beast, it certainly seems that cruelty (evil) is easier for human beings if others are chanting alongside you. We also can be downright disgusting if there is anonymity to hide behind. Is that not evil? I have a hard time reading about the differences in cultures. My beloved uncle was an anthropologist and there were many conversations about the places he traveled, the shocking (to my American sensibilities) social norms he witnessed, many I would and do consider evil and I am adamant in my refusal to change my mind even at the risk of hypocrisy. That’s okay, I am human but I will listen at least, to your side.Back to looks again, I agree we are biased in our judgements based on looks but I also believe in gut instincts. Personally, when I’ve ignored mine, it was a mistake. I think we have these gut reactions for a reason more often than not. Then again, I have met just as many ‘beautiful people’ that gave me a bad feeling. So there. The fact is, I would be the first to define someone as evil if they victimized my loved ones. It’s a different conversation when you experience it firsthand, I know this book isn’t about the victims, but it’s my personal feeling. I understand what Shaw is saying, and why it’s important but I don’t have to like it.This is a provocative book. I will say, much as Shaw does, thoughts are one thing acting on them another. I hope we do someday have a way to intervene and help those with ‘unnatural urges’ (please, don’t bombard me with messages about what defines unnatural, we will be here for eternity and I mean murdering people, abuse, molestation, anything that victimizes another). I realize we victimize each other in small ways, but somehow taking someone’s life isn’t as bad as say, snapping at your child. Let’s face it, call it evil or not there are extremes that have to be measured or else society falls apart. We do need to continue studying the nature of evil, because that nature is in us all. Thank God there are others invested in this science, because for me, it would be too hard. I leave it to the experts.An uneasy read, but I think it will give you a lot to talk about. It was hard for me to review!Publication Date: February 27, 2019Abrams Press
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  • Bob
    January 1, 1970
    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 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 wearing a lab coat. Thanks to the publisher for letting me enjoy this ride via Net Galley before it officially debuts with the public this fall.
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  • Valerie
    January 1, 1970
    **I won an uncorrected proof of this book through a Goodreads.com Giveaway**At last! A book addressing that most elusive of topics-- Evil. Dr. Julia Shaw, criminologist & psychologist, is quite an expert on the subject. In this devourable book, she explores evil in all its inhuman guises--sadism, slavery, cybercrime, murder, torture, terrorism, and more-- and reveals it to be infinitely human. I enjoy Dr. Shaw's conversational style as much as I appreciate her extensive research. This book i **I won an uncorrected proof of this book through a Goodreads.com Giveaway**At last! A book addressing that most elusive of topics-- Evil. Dr. Julia Shaw, criminologist & psychologist, is quite an expert on the subject. In this devourable book, she explores evil in all its inhuman guises--sadism, slavery, cybercrime, murder, torture, terrorism, and more-- and reveals it to be infinitely human. I enjoy Dr. Shaw's conversational style as much as I appreciate her extensive research. This book is refreshing to read because it's about more than just sensationalized stories... it's about the social, cultural, evolutionary, psychological factors which influence us all, and the ways that these influences can lead us down dark paths. If you're looking for a torrid academic deconstruction of a pivotal religious concept, this isn't the book for you. This book will show you the flawed human being behind the hideous monster you call Evil. You might even see yourself reflected in its pages.
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  • Lynn Coulter
    January 1, 1970
    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 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 disagree on what is actually evil behavior. Then she asks, if evil depends on a cultural definition, does evil really exist at all? She loses me entirely when she discusses serial killer/cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer as driven by loneliness. Wait. Most lonely people don't need to freeze other humans' body parts or ingest them to deal with their emotions. Some of her reasoning just doesn't mesh with common sense. I think evil actually does exist in some people, (was Hitler just lonely, too?) and that some people are so disturbed they cross moral/ethical lines. Then again, as I said from the beginning, what do I know? I'm not a trained scientist. But I can't accept all her theories, which seem too simplistic. The book itself is well-written.
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  • Antonio Delgado
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Catriona
    January 1, 1970
    “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 “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 agree, there’s no standard measure of ‘evil.’ The judgment of humans and institutions is filtered through the perspective of what is normal for each particular culture.Can ‘evil’ be measured precisely, scientifically, medically, or legally? Dr. Shaw has endeavored to break down some pivotal events, crimes, and psychological studies in order to examine more closely what ‘evil’ means to us, in all its contexts, past and present. The book discusses this weighty subject in a way that would be useful in an educational or professional setting. However, without dumbing down her language, she’s made the book easily understood and fascinating for ordinary readers.Though it isn’t a religious book, religion is discussed, as well as other controversial but pertinent topics.I thoroughly enjoyed it — as a parent, a concerned citizen, a writer, a crime fiction fan, and an imperfect human being. I still feel guilty, but I’m pretty sure that I’m not evil.https://catsgame.wordpress.com/2018/1...
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  • Shaela
    January 1, 1970
    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 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 decision define an individual as "evil"? Could our everyday thoughts, actions, or norms be categorized as “evil”?This book is an innovative take on the subject of the human psyche. It is interesting and well written, with concepts and explanations that are very relevant and well rounded. Each page presents an uncomfortable but thought-provoking argument wrapped in a unique opportunity for introspection and novel thinking. A truly enjoyable book on quite a prickly subject.
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  • Aaron Schmuhl
    January 1, 1970
    So, this is a hard book to review. It's mostly hard because I don't want it to seem like I think it's a bad book, but the alternative is that there really isn't anything to hang your hat on with it. The cover says "The Science Behind Humanity's Dark Side," but that really isn't what the book is about. Yes, there's some science and studies referenced in the book, but a more accurate subtitle is "Why Nothing is Really Evil." So, if you're looking for a deep-dive into the psychology and biochemistr So, this is a hard book to review. It's mostly hard because I don't want it to seem like I think it's a bad book, but the alternative is that there really isn't anything to hang your hat on with it. The cover says "The Science Behind Humanity's Dark Side," but that really isn't what the book is about. Yes, there's some science and studies referenced in the book, but a more accurate subtitle is "Why Nothing is Really Evil." So, if you're looking for a deep-dive into the psychology and biochemistry behind why humans do evil stuff, this book really isn't for you. No matter what "evil" is presented in the book, the overall goal is to explain why this is subjective and not all evil. For example, the last line of the book is "It's time we rethink evil." I get it, and the author isn't wrong, but it's not really why I wanted to read the book. The author writes in a very pop-nonfic kind of way, which is fine and engaging, but also tends to inject a little bit too much of her personal opinion and stories about herself on various topics into a book that's purportedly about the science of evil. While she mostly does a good job of saying "I think that..." before these injections, some of them don't seem to be a good fit. She also tends to equate things that I'm not sure should be equated, (I'm hesitant to mention this, but...) for example at one point she directly compares saying that someone got a computer virus because they didn't patch their computer to victim blaming victims of revenge porn. I mean, I suppose they're fundamentally similar, but I'm not sure that those things are really comparable. Those types of odd comparisons are frequent enough in the book to make you step back and doubt much more of it.Honestly, it's an interesting read at times (specifically when the author focuses on the science), but there's not enough in here to make me willing to recommend it. There are enough good parts where it's not a waste of time, either, which is why I'm leaning towards 2 stars.
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  • Latkins
    January 1, 1970
    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 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 you look at the world in a different way. I didn't always agree with the author, but that only made it more compelling.
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  • Kristy
    January 1, 1970
    **Thank you to NetGalley for a free copy of Evil: The Science Behind Humanity's Dark Side in exchange for an honest review.**Dr. Julia Shaw tackles the interesting subject of evil using thorough research and evidence. Does evil truly exist? Shaw delves into topics such as serial killers, pedophiles, zoophiles, terrorists and Nazis. She argues that what most consider evil isn't simply black and white. And boy does she get into that gray area!
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  • Emily
    January 1, 1970
    **I received this digital ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.**This title caught my attention right away, because I, like many other people, am caught up in the true crime zeitgeist. Also, I'm alive and a part of this mucky world right now, so this kind of exploration seems important. I don't disagree with her thesis ultimately: that evil is not a useful construct through which to view human behavior. The book also has a couple of very interesting chapters on human sexuality tha **I received this digital ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.**This title caught my attention right away, because I, like many other people, am caught up in the true crime zeitgeist. Also, I'm alive and a part of this mucky world right now, so this kind of exploration seems important. I don't disagree with her thesis ultimately: that evil is not a useful construct through which to view human behavior. The book also has a couple of very interesting chapters on human sexuality that highlighted what the author seemed to be most interested in. Otherwise it was, unfortunately, a disappointment. My first clue that she wasn't trying to be objective or professional in any way was a parenthetical comment she made about Jeffrey Dahmer's sentence of 15 consecutive life sentences, something like "(you know, just in case he survived the first one.)" Though she has an MS in law, she was either accidentally or purposely overlooking the fact that the multiple life sentences were not utilitarian punishments, but rather meant to establish a sense of "justice" for each crime he was convicted of. Throughout the book the author states multiple times that we are conditioned to be biased toward victims and to dehumanize murderers, so I guess that line of reasoning follows.In between neurological studies and statistical data about how humans perceive evil, Shaw goes on several personal screeds on topics like the uselessness of airport security and the injustice of bi-erasure. Again, I didn't disagree with her opinions, but I wasn't really interested in being preached at. That's not how this book was positioned.Though the whole book was bracketed by Nietzche quotes, the only source that she called out as racist was Hannah Arendt of all people (I'm not saying she's incorrect, I'm just saying it was interesting that she was the only one who got this treatment). Shaw dredged up the Milgram experiment a couple of times, first using it to refute the idea that laughing at inappropriate times was inherently evil and then for its usual purpose: to talk about the banality of evil (lol). She also used the Stanford Prison Experiment for its typical purpose of illustrating groupthink gone wild while almost completely glossing over the major flaws that have caused the experiment to be discredited.Anyway this has a couple of interesting chapters in the middle about unsavory topics. If you feel like learning some interesting statistics and attitudes about pedophilia and zoophilia, about a quarter of this book is for you.
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  • Eric Sala
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Andy
    January 1, 1970
    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 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 offering examples of possible behavior or moral dilemmas. Overall, I can really recommend this book to anyone interested in psychology and wanting answers for why we sometimes (or often) do horrible things to one another.
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  • Sumomi (Privater Account)
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Bimal Patel
    January 1, 1970
    Is Evil an absolute entity or does it depend on our perspective i.e is it subjective judgement hat we pass related to an act? How do you define Evil? Are some people evil and others by dichotomy not evil? The book Evil: The Science Behind Humanity's Dark Site by Julia Shaw sheds light on these and many more perceived or factual biases against what our society considers Evil. I think we all have evil tendencies but they are sub-clinical that let's us function and be considered "normal" in the eye Is Evil an absolute entity or does it depend on our perspective i.e is it subjective judgement hat we pass related to an act? How do you define Evil? Are some people evil and others by dichotomy not evil? The book Evil: The Science Behind Humanity's Dark Site by Julia Shaw sheds light on these and many more perceived or factual biases against what our society considers Evil. I think we all have evil tendencies but they are sub-clinical that let's us function and be considered "normal" in the eyes of society we dwell in. Overall, this book is a good read and makes a case against evaluating one's own self before compartmentalizing acts as evil or not-evil.P.S: Thank you ABRAMS book for forwarding me a copy for free in return for my unbiased opinion about this book.
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  • Erin
    January 1, 1970
    Shaw's main question for her readers is this: should we as a society be using the word evil? Is it okay to label someone evil, in turn forever damning them for their bad decisions? Shaw doesn't think we should - that there are many facets of someone 'turning evil' and that we need to do better to understand these people's behaviors (like pedophilia or psychopathy) instead of deeming them less than. I tend to not agree with Shaw's hypothesis (I do think murderers should be labeled murderers for t Shaw's main question for her readers is this: should we as a society be using the word evil? Is it okay to label someone evil, in turn forever damning them for their bad decisions? Shaw doesn't think we should - that there are many facets of someone 'turning evil' and that we need to do better to understand these people's behaviors (like pedophilia or psychopathy) instead of deeming them less than. I tend to not agree with Shaw's hypothesis (I do think murderers should be labeled murderers for the rest of their lives!), but I was impressed with her wide array of knowledge, as well as her fascinating collection of research studies. Although at times I lost the main thread, Shaw included so much interesting information, that it didn't matter too much in the need. A great psychology read!
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  • Jill Elizabeth
    January 1, 1970
    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 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 and grey that underpin the world. BUT, that said, I cannot agree with her that this basically means everything/everyone is on a spectrum of ok-ness and we just need to understand the point of view of the thing/person and then everything is magically acceptable... (Yes, I know I've over-simplified things a bit there, but bear with me.)This is a great book for discomfort - and discomfort is a great thing when it comes to ideas. I am a lawyer by training and a philosophy student by education. I really enjoy considering where ideas come from and what underpins them, and enjoy having my perspective challenged. It's uncomfortable at times, but it's valuable precisely because of the tendency to oversimplify/other-ize mentioned above. The world is a complex place and the people within it even more so - motivations shift, as do perspectives, and it's important to understand where opinions (and the "facts" we rely on to form them) come from. Shaw draws attention to all of this, and does a masterful job doing so. She has a generally engaging and easy-going writing style, even when addressing dicey topics that make most of us squirm. I like the way she focused on various types of so-called evil - from people with predilections to intangibles, her broad range 0f sub-categories was thorough and thought-provoking particularly in the comparisons/contrasts that it raised in my mind while reading.BUT. (And you knew there'd be a but...) I just can't say that I agree with the concept that there really is no such thing as evil. Her point that human slavery is just a continuum point away from Wal-Mart just doesn't cut it for me. There's a moral relativism here that I am struggling with mightily - while I certainly don't agree that the presence of middlemen make bad acts magically good or less bad, I also can't agree that a person's conscious decision to intentionally do something with complete and utter disregard for the consequences to any-/everyone but themselves, knowing what those consequences will be, is somehow on par with a decision to sell cheaply made products from China. BUT (yes, another one) I DON'T HAVE TO agree or understand to have found the book a fascinating argument about the state of the world, the position of privilege many of us reside in within it, or the difficulty in comprehending the motivations behind actions we cannot imagine committing... That's the beauty of the book - while it infuriated me in many places, it did so because it made me question my own preconceptions and biases, and for that I say kudos to Ms. Shaw. There's a LOT of food for thought here and even if I'm not 100% sure of the nutritional value of all of it, it was still satisfying...
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  • Shawna
    January 1, 1970
    “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 “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 (a lot of science), pop culture, and personal stories that makes this book one of my favorites of the year. At some points it is funny but she definitely knows when to reign it in when talking about sensitive subjects.While I love to challenge ideas, this really had me thinking about what we consider evil and why do we consider it evil? This book touches on many aspects of what could be determined “evil” by culture at large. I think we all need to see the other side of evil and try to understand how those who commit heinous crimes mind’s work and how we can prevent bad events from happening.This book does touch on sensitive subjects such as murder, sexual assault, and sexual deviancy, terrorism.
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  • Brandie
    January 1, 1970
    ***I won this book from a Goodreads.com giveaway***Before I was even halfway through the introduction my brain was spiraling down the philosophical hole of what separates humans from animals in terms of ‘evil’ actions. Can a person(s) empathize with those we deemed the evilest of evil?But Shaw is not asking us to give them a free pass. As she says, it’s not a book about philosophy, religion, or morality. It’s about the ‘why’ we do bad things, even to one another, and to get us to look at these a ***I won this book from a Goodreads.com giveaway***Before I was even halfway through the introduction my brain was spiraling down the philosophical hole of what separates humans from animals in terms of ‘evil’ actions. Can a person(s) empathize with those we deemed the evilest of evil?But Shaw is not asking us to give them a free pass. As she says, it’s not a book about philosophy, religion, or morality. It’s about the ‘why’ we do bad things, even to one another, and to get us to look at these action in a scientific manner instead of an emotional one. It’s a book that, at times, is very hard to read. I almost didn’t read Chapter 6 on paedohebephiles. I didn’t want to humanize them. But I read it anyway. And I understand what she’s saying, that they should feel safe to talk to a therapist and have ‘normal’ human interactions in order to keep their urges in check. But I think I’d still have a hard time sitting down with one and having a conversation. There were many hard areas to read but this was definitely the roughest. It’s a book that some would snarl their nose at and toss in a corner. But Shaw does a great job at piecing the studies together and shifting the way you think about evil. The book is definitely Pop-Science and Shaw can’t help letting her own emotions peek through. Is she trying to say ‘Hey, I feel you!’ or is the topic that controversial that the author, who is trying to get you to separate emotion out and use rational and scientific thought, is not able to do as she says?Even so, I’d still recommend it. Of note, Shaw mentions a website she and her colleagues started in February 2018 talktospot.com. Where you can chat with a bot named Spot. Spot allows you to chat about any workplace harassment with Spot and Spot will offer advice and record the conversation for your own use. It helps encourage reporting workplace harassment and improves accuracy of the reports.
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  • Jason
    January 1, 1970
    Julia Shaw's easy prose style makes this a smooth ride through some deeply troubling terrain. Be prepared to become uncomfortable as she asks hard questions not only of others but also of you, me, she herself—all of us. Evil, she notes, may not be as easy of an us and them division as we'd like to think.Evil: The Science Behind Humanity's Dark Side presents research, both long established and cutting edge, into why people do what people do, and it does so without become mired down in academia-sp Julia Shaw's easy prose style makes this a smooth ride through some deeply troubling terrain. Be prepared to become uncomfortable as she asks hard questions not only of others but also of you, me, she herself—all of us. Evil, she notes, may not be as easy of an us and them division as we'd like to think.Evil: The Science Behind Humanity's Dark Side presents research, both long established and cutting edge, into why people do what people do, and it does so without become mired down in academia-speak. Be prepared for the questions she asks to linger in your head long after the final page. As we enter a future in which emerging technologies make us less rather than more connected, these questions may be among the most important ones we can ask.Thought provoking, easy to read, highly recommended.
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  • Stephanie Stennett
    January 1, 1970
    The point of this book is the definition of evil. What we THINK it is, and to some extent, why. What are our motives and morals, and how subjective the definition is. Sometimes the self-evident isn't so, and needs to be stated, clearly, loudly, repeatedly: we are all capable of "evil," at least someone's definition of it. (I am still having trouble with not seeing paedophiles as "evil." But I understand her point.) I'm not sure what some other reviewers here expected from this book. The flap cop The point of this book is the definition of evil. What we THINK it is, and to some extent, why. What are our motives and morals, and how subjective the definition is. Sometimes the self-evident isn't so, and needs to be stated, clearly, loudly, repeatedly: we are all capable of "evil," at least someone's definition of it. (I am still having trouble with not seeing paedophiles as "evil." But I understand her point.) I'm not sure what some other reviewers here expected from this book. The flap copy sums it up pretty well. Maybe the word "science" threw them, and they wanted statistics or something. Because her citations are impressive, both current and past.
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  • Richard
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Macie
    January 1, 1970
    At first I was not sure what this book was going to be about, it captured my attention from the very beginning and I ended up finishing it in one day. Rethinking evil may seem like a challenge. The Author was not afraid to bring up topics that make many people uncomfortable. I will definitely rethink the word evil from this point on.
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  • Kim
    January 1, 1970
    Dieses Buch hat einiges in mir bewegt. Es war eine absolute Bereicherung es zu lesen. Und es hat seine Wirkung nicht verfehlt: ich diskutiere über diverse Themen dieses Buches nun mit meiner Familie, Freunden und anderen. Absolut empfehlenswert!!
  • Perry
    January 1, 1970
    An examination of what people think as evil is usually something that they have not considered fully. Looks at some of the strangeness of people in an effort to "demystify the other." There seemed to be an odd tone shift in the middle of the book.
  • Michael
    January 1, 1970
    A fascinating and insightful look at evil and the human side of nature. The author has done an amazing job of exploring evil and the human brain. The book gives us so much to think about. I won this book in a GoodReads Giveaway.
  • Jeanette Blain
    January 1, 1970
    3.4*
  • Kira
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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