The Bystander Effect
‘Fantastic … It explains the misperception of stacked odds and personal powerlessness that stops individuals challenging bad behaviour. Stunning. Humbling. Thought-provoking’
Kathryn Mannix, author of With the End in Mind
In the face of discrimination, bad behaviour, evil and abuse, why do good people so often do nothing?
Every day, we see examples of bad or immoral behaviour – from sexual harassment to political corruption, from negligence to bullying.
Why did no one stop the abduction of Jamie Bulger, despite many witnesses reporting they felt uneasy seeing the two-year-old’s distress? How did the USA gymnastics team doctor, Larry Nassar, abuse hundreds of young women under his care for so long? Why didn’t anyone intervene when David Dao, an innocent sixty-nine-year-old man, was forcibly removed from his seat on a United Airlines aeroplane and dragged down the aisle by security officers? How did large crowds of men get away with sexually assaulting an estimated 1,200 women in Cologne during the 2015 New Year’s Eve celebrations?
In The Bystander Effect, pioneering psychologist Catherine Sanderson uses real-life examples, neuroscience and the latest psychological studies to explain why we might be good at recognising bad behaviour but bad at taking action against it. With practical strategies to transform your thinking, she shows how we can all learn to speak out, intervene, think outside the group mentality and ultimately become braver versions of ourselves.
Courage is not a virtue we’re born with. A bystander can learn to be brave.
'Look out for this fantastic book, due April 2020. It explains the misperception of stacked odds and personal powerlessness that stops individuals challenging bad behaviour. Stunning. Humbling. Thought-provoking.' Kathryn Mannix, author of With the End in Mind 'A fascinating look at why some of us will go to others' aid, while others do nothing... very readable... encouraging... a surprisingly positive book' Sunday Times 'An examination of moral courage and its disappointing scarcity' Economist 'In this powerful, well-written book, Catherine Sanderson explains what psychology has taught us about why good people so often do nothing... If you have ever regretted being silent (and who hasn't?) this is the book for you' Barry Schwartz, author of The Paradox of Choice 'Thoughtful and beautifully written ... A smart and practical guide to becoming a better and braver version of ourselves' Daniel Gilbert, author of Stumbling on Happiness 'Catherine Sanderson, like no other psychologist, invades our minds. Her riveting storytelling challenges us to rethink why we avert our eyes to evil, tolerate bullying, and excuse unforgivable workplace behaviour' Walter V. Robinson, former editor of the Pulitzer-winning Boston Globe team 'Brilliant ... The unrelenting rigor of her analysis, sweeping breadth of research and evocative lucidity empower us to act - and also give us hope. This book comes not a moral moment too soon' Cornell William Brooks, former President of the NAACP 'Makes a powerful argument for building, as early as possible, the ability to stand up for what's right in the face of peer pressure, corrupt authority, and even family apathy. Citing case after case revealing how easy it is for people's moral instincts to be muted, and detailing how that silence is visible on brain scans, Sanderson guides readers toward her inevitable conclusion: We can do better' Psychology Today
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