Book Review: The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil

Reviewed by Marley Cortez

Philip Zimbardo’s The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil brings up an interesting question: How is it possible for good people to turn evil? Zimbardo, a professor at Stanford University, investigates this question in his famous 1971 study titled “The Stanford Prison Experiment.” This book includes all his findings that helps answer this very question.

The book not only seeks to understand why someone would commit evil if he or she is inherently a good person but also asks the reader to assess how he or she would behave in situations similar to the Stanford Prison Experiment. His main point throughout the book is that while individuals should be held responsible for their own conduct, we must also examine the situational and systemic factors that shape individual conduct.

The Lucifer Effect gives an interesting perspective on the human mind. It exposes the good and bad inside yourself as you read. I’d highly recommend this book to anyone who likes psychology and exploring the depths of your mind.

Marley Cortez

Marley Cortez was a sophomore in the Gifted program at Hahnville High. She enjoys singing in the HHS Vocal Ensemble and acting in shows for the HHS Theatre Program.

Editor’s note: Book reviews are published throughout the summer and fall in agreement with Hahnville High School gifted English teacher Deborah Unger in conjunction with the Brown Foundation Service Learning Program and Unger’s “Adolescents Advocate Literacy” Brown Service Learning Grant.


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