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Not by Chance Alone: My Life as a Social Psychologist
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Not by Chance Alone: My Life as a Social Psychologist

4.28  ·  Rating details ·  139 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
How does a boy from a financially and intellectually impoverished background grow up to become a Harvard researcher, win international acclaim for his groundbreaking work, and catch fire as a pioneering psychologist? As the only person in the history of the American Psychological Association to have won all three of its highest honors--for distinguished research, teaching, ...more
Hardcover, 284 pages
Published August 24th 2010 by Basic Books (AZ) (first published July 28th 2010)
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John Kaufmann
Good autobiography, should be 3.5 stars. I don't read a lot of biographies, particularly autobiographies - I usually find them too self-congratulatory and full of anecdotes and stories that may (or may not) be interesting but that are ultimately meaningless and/or irrelevant. But I've really admired Aronson's writings, and thought this book worth a try. I was amply rewarded. Aronson traces his intellectual development over the years, as well as his interactions with other major players in his fi ...more
Aug 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
I read this book over the duration of a few days. I picked this book up after reading a few chapters of "The Social Animal" by Aronson. I enjoyed his writing in both, to say the least. I was, and continue to be, hungry for personal insight into the world of academia, which I've had little of with the exception of speaking with a few professors. This book satisfied my appetite for the time being.

I enjoyed Aronson's approach to his own biography.
As he notes in his introduction, there seem to be tw
Dec 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A fantastic read not only for psychologists. The author describes his life in a smart and witty way showing how apparently insignificant events led him to find his purpose and meaning in life. It offers also some interesting insight into the academic work at different universities ( e.g. Harvard being a disappointment)during a period of big cultural changes ( caused by Vietnam war, civil rights' movement, feminism). It was so well written that I didn't even mind reading for the tenth time about ...more
Mar 08, 2016 added it
I'm still not quite used to memoirs and this is the my first-time reading memoir of a social psychologist. I enjoyed learning about the stories on cognitive dissonance research, how psychology was done in the 60s and 70s. It puts the social and cognitive psychology I study now into perspective. Life and research stories are nicely curated. But again, there is something awkward about memoirs. Studying psychology has distant myself a little bit from my own self-concepts on the conscious level. Rea ...more
Austin Simpson
May 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is the best book I've read since 'Infinite Jest' this past summer. Besides being a vivid portrait of a life lived following the same passion I find myself to have, Aronson's autobiography is funny, fascinating, heartbreaking, and encouraging all at once. An absolute must read for anybody who loves psychology, learning, or understanding being human.
May 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
An inspiring autobiography of the famous psychologist Elliot Aronson. It documents his life's journey as well as scholarly discoveries. The book reveals a kind and humble soul underneath a smart academic.
Feb 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. Eliot Aronson seems to be an amazing combination of talented writer, researcher and humanist and he tells his story with a lot of humor. Added bonus: I learned a lot about the field of social psychology.
Oct 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Turned out pretty good, i just took forever.
Kurien Parel
Currently my favourite book
Beebee Pomegranate
Feb 25, 2016 rated it liked it
cute story, well told. You feel like Elliot Aronson invited you to tea to tell you his life story.
Oct 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone interested in social psychology
Very interesting scientific insights and positive implications for our society. Aronson is an amazing social psycholigist and a great contributor to society.
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Elliot Aronson (Born January 1932) is listed among the 100 most eminent psychologist of the 20th Century, best known for his Jigsaw Classroom experiments, cognitive dissonance research, and bestselling Social Psychology textbooks. He is the only person in the 120-year history of the American Psychological Association to have won all three of its major awards: For distinguished writing (1973), for ...more