Tag Archives: scott allison heroes

Reel Heroes & Villains

ReelHVfrontcoverWhat makes a good movie hero? Which kinds of villains are the best — or the worst?

In Reel Heroes & Villains, Scott Allison and Greg Smith present a new way of understanding movie heroes and villains. This book is already an Amazon Number One Best Seller. Inside this book you’ll find:amazon-bestseller

  • A new innovative model of heroes & villains in the movies
  • The key to good characters in the movies: Transformation
  • The Eight Great Arcs of transformations in heroes and villains
  • How heroes and villains transform morally, emotionally, spiritually, mentally, and physically
  • How the hero’s journey differs from the villain’s journey
  • 52 reviews of movie heroes and villains in 2014

Reel Heroes & Villains is scheduled for release on August 15, 2015.

Here’s what people are saying about Reel Heroes & Villains:

“Allison and Smith have deftly crafted THE premier text of heroes and villains in contemporary cinema. A shiny portrait that brilliantly dissects the hero-villain dichotomy through a dense mixture of passion, knowledge, and humor to offer profound insights into the hero-villain relationship.”

Jason Roy, The Hero Construction Company


“A daring model of heroism and villainy. Allison and Smith’s analysis forever changes the way we view movie characters.”

Dr. Robert Giacalone, Professor of Business Ethics, University of Denver


“A must-read for all fans of heroes and villains in the movies.”

Dr. James Beggan, Professor of Sociology, University of Louisville


“Those mad geniuses, Allison and Smith, are back. Here are the secrets of the villains you love to hate, by the writers you love to read. Cinema’s worst villains are no match for Allison and Smith.”

Rick Hutchins, Author of The RH Factor


“A dive into the minds of those you love to hate. Allison and Smith examine the shadowy reflection of heroism.”

Jesse Schultz, Author of Alfheim


“A revolutionary way of understanding heroes and villains in the movies. This book is Allison and Smith’s tour de force.”

Dr. James Beggan, University of Louisville


We’re Now Contributors to Psychology Today

Some good news – we’ve been invited to contribute our insights about heroism at Psychology Today’s online magazine.  Over 13 million people visit Psychology Today’s website each month, and we welcome you to follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

We’ve already posted several articles about heroes at Psychology Today. The first is called, Do Heroes Make Us Smarter? In this essay, we describe how heroes are our greatest teachers. Heroes model virtue, clarify complex and paradoxical life truths, equip us with emotional intelligence, and reveal how their journey can be our journey, too.

Our second post is called, 5 Surprising Ways That Heroes Improve Our Lives. In this article, we discuss five non-obvious benefits of heroic action. Heroes elevate us emotionally; they heal our psychological ills; they build connections between people; they encourage us to transform ourselves for the better; and they call us to become heroes and help others.

Our third post at Psychology Today asks the question, Why Are There So Few Heroes? Here we explore various reasons why heroes seem to be in short supply, but we conclude with the promising note that there may be many more heroes out there than you think.

Although we’ll be contributing to Psychology Today, we’ll still be posting hero profiles and analyses regularly at this blog and at our Reel Heroes movie blog. Thanks to all of you for following our work, and please do continue to give us your valuable feedback.

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Our First Book — HEROES: What They Do, Why We Need Them

allison_heroes_9780199739745.jpgWhy do we perceive certain people as heroes?  What qualities do we see in them? What must they do to win our admiration? In Heroes: What They Do and Why We Need Them, authors Scott T. Allison and George R. Goethals offer a stimulating tour of the psychology of heroism, shedding light on what heroism and villainy mean to most people and why heroes — both real people and fictional characters — are so vital to our lives.

Check out the authors’ interview on NPR’s Radio Lab program, in which they discuss their research on underdog heroes.

In their book on Heroes, the authors discusses a broad range of heroes, including Eleanor Roosevelt, the Beatles, Walt Kowalski in Gran Torino, Abraham Lincoln, and explorer Ernest Shackleton, plus villains such as Shakespeare’s Iago. The authors highlight the Great Eight traits of heroes (smart, strong, selfless, caring, charismatic, resilient, reliable, and inspiring) and outline the mental models that we have of how people become heroes, from the underdog who defies great odds (David and Goliath) to the heroes who redeem themselves or  overcome adversity. Brimming with psychological insight, Heroes: What They Do and Why We Need Them provides an illuminating look at heroes — and into our own minds as well.

Heroes: What They Do and Why We Need Them, published by Oxford University Press, is now available for purchase.

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Here’s what they’re saying about Heroes: What They Do and Why We Need Them:


Heroes and villains are outliers on the bell curve of humanity, Good and Evil the basic dialectic of human nature. These fascinating processes are brilliantly illuminated in this well-crafted exposition that takes its readers on a captivating journey.”
Philip Zimbardo, Professor Emeritus of Psychology, Stanford University, President of the Heroic Imagination Project, and author of The Lucifer Effect and The Time Paradox

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Who are our heroes, who are our villains and why? Through a skilled interweaving of fascinating examples, relevant research, and crucial conceptual distinctions, Scott Allison and George Goethals answer these questions for our time.” — Howard Gardner, Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education

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Allison and Goethals have done a masterful job leading the reader through the complex labyrinth of leaders and followers, heroes and villains, and even the nature of evil. The book is both erudite and entertaining. The have used familiar heroes from fiction, popular culture, and everyday life to make important points come alive while remaining true to the empirical research literature across many areas. This is a book that may be destined to cross the line from scientific analysis to best seller.” — Martin Chemers, Professor of Psychology, University of California Santa Cruz

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By conjoining deep insights from psychology, history and the arts, Allison and Goethals have tendered a unique analysis of heroism€”and have succeeded wonderfully.” — Robert B. Cialdini, Regents’ Professor Emeritus of Psychology & Marketing, Arizona State University, and Author of Influence: Science and Practice

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In this outstanding book, Scott Allison and Al Goethals probe beneath the surface of heroes and heroism. What kinds of allison_heroes_9780199739745.jpgpeople are recognized as heroes? What motivates them to take actions that most others are unable or unwilling to take? Allison and Goethals answer these questions with a rich analysis that draws from a wide range of scientific and historical sources.”

Alice Eagly, Professor of Social Psychology, Northwestern University

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George Goethals and Scott Allison, two of the world’s preeminent social psychologists, have combined their considerable talents to produce a tour de force analysis of heroes and heroism.  This book is a scholarly triumph, a heroic intellectual achievement, and one that will both inform and inspire contemporary debate and understanding of this important but neglected topic.” — Roderick M. Kramer, William R. Kimball Professor of Organizational Behavior, Graduate School of Business, Stanford Business School