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Heroes: What They Do and Why We Need Them 1st Edition

5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0199739745
ISBN-10: 0199739749
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Editorial Reviews

Review


"An important contribution to the literature on schemas, social cognition, and
self-identity." -PsycCRITIQUES


About the Author


Scott T. Allison is Professor of Psychology at the University of Richmond.

George R. Goethals holds the E. Claiborne Robins Distinguished Professorship in Leadership Studies at the University of Richmond.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (October 29, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199739749
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199739745
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 1 x 6.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #287,788 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By Michael J. Kerrigan on September 28, 2015
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Heroes… What They Do & Why We Need Them

This book by Scott Allison and George Goethals, two social psychologists from the Department of Psychology at the University of Richmond crafted an unusually well written book by academics but for all readers.

It is unusually well done for several reasons:
• It is a splendid read compactly covering the topic of Heroes and Villains in 207 pages.
• The book cites numerous psychological studies yet understandable to the lay reader. However, I did have issues with the chronology of foot notes
• It is readable by balancing the academic studies with references to movies (Casablanca, One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Gran Tourino); sports (Babe Didrikson Zacharias, Roberto Clemente, Jackie Robinson) the important literary works of Shakespeare (Hamlet, Julius Caesar, King Lear, Macbeth, Twelfth Night) philosophers (Socrates, Kant, Nietzsche) as well as political heroes (Washington, Lincoln, Reagan)
• It touches de riguer, the required studies, stories and authors in the genre (Outliers, Gilgamesh , Campbell et al.)
• It does tilt slightly leftward in it’s depiction of social change and list of heroic figures but also includes heroes like Ernest Shackleton, Booker T. Washington, Sully Sullenberger, those who neither the left or right would dispute.
• Scott Allison and George Goethals have touched all the bases, in a largely balanced way.

In my opinion, reading the chapter on Obstacles: Triumph over Adversity alone warrants purchase of the book. The chapter’s focus on people who show greatness in serving others while combining the concept of moral courage with underdog stories that makes for an outstanding read.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book had me hooked at the introduction, in which the authors choose to highlight Rick, my namesake from Casablanca, as their quintessential hero. This is my favorite movie for many reasons, but primarily because Rick's climactic act of selflessness is one of the most inspiring examples of cinematic heroism.

Beyond that, Heroes is a book that inspires in its own right. Throughout its chapters we are shown many heroes and types of heroes (some we may not agree with, but the authors do not shy away from controversy, nor are they parochial in their examples) and given thoughtful insights into the circumstances and psychology, enduring and ephemeral, that define them. Ultimately, we see that heroism is both grand and personal, and that the potential to be superhuman is in all of us.

In this current age, where so much of our culture is mired in darkness and the focus is on celebrities and characters that are corrupt and contemptible, this book is a breath of fresh air. Read it, give it as a gift, spread it around. The authors also have a blog where they regularly feature profiles of courage from around the world, as well as from history and literature; it can be found at the University of Richmond website under the same name as the book.
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Format: Hardcover
Heroes: What They Do & Why We Need Them is, to use an overly clichéd phrase, a thought provoking essay on the nature of heroism. More than once I found myself putting the book down and mulling over the points Allison and Goethals were making. Encompassing everything from myths to contemporary fictional heroes the book delves into what makes a hero and more importantly how society at large views them and states the traits often associated with them. The books is easily accessible due to the examples of contemporary heroes but the subject is never dumbed-down. I recommend that you not only read this book but discuss it as well.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Very quick shipping. Got this for someone as a gift and they enjoy it.
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