I picked this book up on a recommendation from a student. The title is certainly catchy, and as it is full of odd (and some amazing) experiments, I thought it’d be an interesting read.
It is definitely interesting. Some of the experiments are downright sick (he goes back in time a bit, when we had less understanding of science, or maybe even morals). There are several headings in the book, and he categorizes experiments under them (for example, some of the most disturbing are under the heading, “Frankenstein’s Lab”). Other categories include: “Bedtime Stories”, “Mating Behavior”, “Oh, Baby!” and “The End”.
What I liked most about this book was learning more about experiments I’m already familiar with, and even teach the outcomes of. This included Milgram’s experiment, a couple of Zimbardo’s experiments, Watson’s “Little Albert” study, and Festinger’s cognitive dissonance study.
Though a lot of the experiments are interesting, I wasn’t a big fan of the author’s writing. The experiments were written well enough, and he provided more information (juicy details like the experimenter having an affair with his assistant) than I’ve gotten in textbooks. But he often ended the experiment with some sort of corny joke, which, for me, grew tiresome. Other times he created a scenario to introduce the experiment that I found contrived.
There are a lot of things I liked about the book, and his corny humor is really just a minor detraction. Overall I recommend the book if you’re into experiments and their evolution.