Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

ENVY: A Theory of Social Behaviour Reprint Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0865970649
ISBN-10: 0865970645
Why is ISBN important?
ISBN
This bar-code number lets you verify that you're getting exactly the right version or edition of a book. The 13-digit and 10-digit formats both work.
Scan an ISBN with your phone
Use the Amazon App to scan ISBNs and compare prices.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Buy used On clicking this link, a new layer will be open
$8.50 On clicking this link, a new layer will be open
Buy new On clicking this link, a new layer will be open
$12.00 On clicking this link, a new layer will be open
More Buying Choices
6 New from $12.00 21 Used from $4.51
Free Two-Day Shipping for College Students with Prime Student Free%20Two-Day%20Shipping%20for%20College%20Students%20with%20Amazon%20Student

$12.00 FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books. In Stock. Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
click to open popover

Frequently Bought Together

  • ENVY: A Theory of Social Behaviour
  • +
  • The Psychology of Jealousy and Envy
Total price: $67.00
Buy the selected items together

Editorial Reviews

Review

"An excellent and extremely valuable book. It is beautifully written and contains startling and enlightening information."

Language Notes

Text: English, German (translation) --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

New York Times best sellers
Browse the New York Times best sellers in popular categories like Fiction, Nonfiction, Picture Books and more. See more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 453 pages
  • Publisher: Liberty Fund; Reprint edition (December 1, 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0865970645
  • ISBN-13: 978-0865970649
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1.2 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #250,321 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I will never look at politics, society, or myself in the same way ever again. This book is a masterpiece, and Helmut Schoeck does an outstanding job of showing just how influential and pervasive the emotion of envy is in society. He studies societies all over the globe and shows us one of human nature's uglier aspects which seems to be universal. I found in this book many lessons for myself personally, and I obtained a more profound understanding of society, especially in terms of damaging economic policies peddled by expediency-minded, power-hungry politicians which not only reduce the prosperity of the wealthy, but do not improve the lot of the poor which such policies are intended to help. This book is an excellent guide to human nature and societal structure.
3 Comments 76 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
This book goes down on my list as one of the most interesting non-fiction books I've ever read. It is a sociological\cultural anthropological study of envy. The author looks at written texts from biblical, Greek, and other ancient writings up to the twentieth century. He surveys anthropologist and sociologist studies on the subject and notes cultural differences in dealing with envy, with some emphasis on how it relates to politics. I honestly didn't find a single dull page in all of this.
Comment 46 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
I loved this book, a true tour-de-force. Although I am a fairly fast reader, it took me a while to get through this, because after reading 10-15 pages, I would have to stop and assimilate the information Schoeck was presenting. Absolutely fascinating.

Schoeck has assembled a vast array of information on the manifestations of envy in societies spanning the globe and across time. He has ferreted out information from the sociological and anthropological literature, fiction literature, cultural fables, crime data, political debates, among other sources. He uses example after real world example to show how ubiquitous envy is as a state of mind, and how various cultures deal more or less successfully with it. Societies that are successful in dealing with envy are essentially those that largely suppress its active, overt expression.

Numerous cases from the sociological and anthropological literature indicate how primitive societies, where objective differences between society members are much smaller than in more developed cultures, actually have more severe problems with the expression of envy than do cultures where such differences are larger. He shows how world-wide in primitive cultures, the 'evil eye' is universally regarded as the sorcerous expression of envious malice, and further shows the lengths to which primitive peoples will go to avoid or deflect the evil eye. Schoeck reveals from objective sources that such envy appeasement is not limited to primitive societies, but that egalitarian redistributionist policies are merely the manifestation of envy avoidance and/or appeasement in industrialized nations.

Schoeck spends extensive energies analyzing the egalitarian-utopian impulse and its various practical experiments.
Read more ›
Comment 29 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
A brilliant and thoroughly researched work, Envy takes a deep, long look into the human psyche and reveals what really makes civilization tick - envy - without which, according to Helmut Schoeck, society is not possible. Negative envy destroys, but positive envy called emulation, is the prime motivating force behind the individual's desire for achievement and acclaim. Schoeck provides distinct definitions of the difference between envy and jealousy, words which are much confused in modern society. Jealousy is explained as 'the endeavor to protect what is one's own by right', while envy is 'the ill feeling one experiences at the success of another, or the joy one felt at someone else's failure'.

Envy does not merely arise out of materialism or acquisitiveness, but rather a deep-seated desire within humans to be equal to, or better than, others; to avoid the evil eye (a great inhibitor to the accumulation of wealth) or ostracism, a common practice in ancient Greece. Schoeck, through numerous case studies, reveals how primitive peoples are just as capable of envy as the modern affluent.

As the most insightful book on the subject I have ever read, it should be referred to often and studied religiously.
2 Comments 17 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
Envy is without a doubt the most corrosive of all human emotions, yet sociological, psychological, and anthropoligical study of its phenomenology is non-existent. How unfortunate!
Enter Helmut Schoek who traces the origins of envy through cultures, philosophy, psychology and politics. After reading this book you will be able to see how politicians appeal to this basest of human emotions to engender dissatisfaction and rage.
The phenomenology of envy needs to be studied in depth because of its pervasiveness in human nature, and societies worldwide. No people, government, religon or social group is immune from its poison.
Comment 51 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
I read Helmut Schoeck's book many years ago and I still consider it the fundamental source for the study of politics. Envy and the deflection of envy are so fundamental to political movements that without understanding these mechanisms, comparative analysis of political systems is worthless.

Because of my proximity in NW, USA his description of the potlatch societies was particularly thought provoking. I believe their relative stasis for 9,000 years can largely be attributed the way in which they treated envy.

Successful societies are those that have developed and continue to nurture coping mechanisms to reduce the prominence this most dangerous of human traits. Unsuccessful societies allow envy to be come prominent and often celebrate it's deflection.
5 Comments 15 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

ENVY: A Theory of Social Behaviour
Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more about Amazon Giveaway
This item: ENVY: A Theory of Social Behaviour