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The Joy of Sin: The Psychology of the Seven Deadly Sins [Paperback]

Simon Laham
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
Price: 7.40 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

16 Feb 2012
Using modern psychological science, a great deal of research, historical anecdotes and an eloquent turn of phrase, the author contends that the 'seven deadly sins' not only feel good, but are also good for you. From gluttony to greed, to envy and lust, even the deadliest of sins can make you smart, successful and happy. For example, anger can breed perseverance, sloth: hopefulness, greed: happiness and envy can actually bolster one's self-esteem. Based on many studies, the author tells us why the greedy are happy, the slothful are smart, gluttons are social butterflies and how anger can make you a fearsome negotiator. The simplistic labelling of the seven deadly sins as 'sins' or as uniformly wrong does nothing but breed contempt for 'sinners' and stifle sophisticated discussion. Sin rails against this simplicity. Each chapter will cover an array of fascinating psychological research that demonstrates just how interesting and complex the seven deadly sins are. So the basic message of Sin: relax, spend, eat, drink and generally covet - you'll be better off for it.

Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Constable (16 Feb 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849016429
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849016421
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 455,646 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Simon Laham, PhD, is an experimental social psychologist and lecturer at the University of Melbourne, Australia, with an interest in the psychology of morality and social interaction. He received his PhD from the University of New South Wales in 2006 and has since held research posts at the universities of Oxford and Melbourne.

Product Description


Laham...has a knack for describing complex social science with great lucidity. His writing is witty, edgy, itself almost sinfully provocative at times, promoting the occasional wince and, more frequently, an approving chuckle...enviably good writing
--New Scientist

Book Description

A fascinating scientific look at why the seven deadly sins are actually good for us.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
By Pete
First things first, this is not a book about hedonism or sex. Although the title talks of joy, this is more a attempt to present some interesting behavioural psychology using a quirky framework. So if you're looking for smut or slut, this is not the book for you!

What the book does do is attempt to take the famous "7 deadly sins", and examine them from a psychological point of view rather than a moral one. Many of the sins in question (anger, for example) are not inherently wicked, but simply are emotions that have positive and negative aspects. The author looks to explore some of those more positive aspects, especially those which are interesting.

This is a fairly light read, and I finished the book quickly. The research is presented in a simplistic fashion, but that is good as it helps to avoid getting too bogged down in detail. This is a coffee table book rather than an in-depth study aid, although there are still references and bibliography for further reading if you should wish. After a while you notice that there is a constant phrasing along the lines of: "So they thought it might happen. Did it happen? That's exactly what happened". It can get a little irritating after a while to have these constant affirmative set ups, and I've never come across a writing style that uses it before (for good reason I would now argue!)

My only worry with this book is that it's not especially profound or revelatory. Granted it is intended more as a light read, but I do wonder if I will forget everything in it after a couple of weeks.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A joy to read 12 July 2012
If you've ever wondered what modern scientific psychology can do for you, this book provides a range of fascinating and often surprising answers to questions you may (or may not) have asked yourself over the years. What are the benefits of being lustful, lazy, greedy or gluttonous? In a witty and highly readable style, Simon Laham surveys the scientific literature covering these and many other interesting questions. Not only is the Joy of Sin (titled 'the Science of Sin' in the US) a pleasurable read, but you'll learn about some ingenious psychology experiments and gain insights into what makes us the way we are: sinners. From an avid reader of popular science books, this one comes highly recommended.
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By Jezza
Format:Kindle Edition
Lots of implications for 'nudge', motivation, organisations, those concerned with behaviour change. Really well written, acknowledging where there are uncertainties, introducing some technical language from brain physiology without drowning the general reader - a nice book. The sins thing is a bit of a conceit, but pardonable.
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5.0 out of 5 stars So that's why... 9 Dec 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
An interesting explanation behind the Seven Deadly Sins - particularly liked the test environments and the parable of the Good Samaritan was well explained in that the other characters were too busy to stop but the Samaritan had little to do so had the time to spare. Well worth a read!
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2.0 out of 5 stars joy of sins 23 Nov 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
i did not choose this book-it was put on by someone else-not my cup of tea---but sure it is brilliantly written
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