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Publisher's Summary

When Prophecy Fails: A Social and Psychological Study of a Modern Group That Predicted the Destruction of the World is a landmark work of social psychology by Leon Festinger, Henry Riecken, and Stanley Schachter which was published in 1956. 

The book examines the case of a UFO cult in Chicago called the Seekers, their expectation of an imminent apocalypse, and their coping mechanisms after the event did not occur. The cult had taken strong actions to demonstrate their commitment to the belief, quitting their jobs, leaving their spouses, and giving away their possessions in eager anticipation of a flying saucer coming to fetch them. 

Festinger built his theory of cognitive dissonance on his observations of the psychological consequences of disconfirmed expectations experienced by cult members.

Public Domain (P)2020 Museum Audiobooks

What listeners say about When Prophecy Fails

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Narration could have been better

Overall, this book is very interesting and well researched. Festinger, et al.'s work is cited extensively and literature on cognitive dissonance and motivated reasoning for good reason.

I feel like I'm being generous giving this narrator two stars though. The narration could have been much better. The narration was very choppy. Some of this could be because the authors were comma happy, but with so many sound bites obviously spliced together in several places, I suspect this was primarily the narrator's fault. The narrator also came off as disrespectful to the study's research subjects on more than one occasion when he was clearly stifling laughter about their belief system. There's no reason that should have been left in this sort of production.

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HORRIBLE reader for an important book

This is an important study that is well-written and accessible for the non-expert. But the reader could not possibly be worse. A highly annoying voice and distracting habit of pausing after every three words is a bad start. But worse is his tone. Obviously mocking and sneering, audibly suppressing a laugh at some of the deluded people discussed. It could be argued that some derision is justified, but not by the reader! He also mispronounces words: “mimeograph” is pronounced “mime graph”?? He misreads words and corrects himself rather than re-recording that segment: “leaned…um…learned.”

This performance does a grave disservice to an important piece of work, especially in the current day of QAnon. I expected much better from Audible.

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I couldn't finish it.

I'm going to have to buy the paper version of this because everything about it's audio book production was the worst I've ever heard. The narrator spoke in an unusual tempo that had strange pauses. The narrator also added in her own laughs to emphasize her interpretation that the author had disdain for Christianity and that the stories told in the bible were laughable. The coupe de grace was that edits were inserted at different volumes and sounded like computer generated speech in a voice mail tree.
Do yourself a favor and just buy the traditional version. The concepts, theories and social science observed by the author are more relevant now than ever before.

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Terrible production quality

Content was good. Narrator and audio quality were very poor. Not worth paying for the audio version, just read the book instead.

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Fascinating study

I love the book. A really interesting story of a prophecy gone wrong.
And the authors touched on all my questions and concerns about their methodology at the end.
My only issue was the audio recording. I kept feeling like the reader was snickering at the people and ideas.
Not that the ideas weren’t pretty far out there, even for a Sci-Fi guy like myself.
But the authors didn’t belittle the subjects, so I expected the Reader to do the same.
Great book though.

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good writing, bad reading

the book is good and fascinating. the reader though chuckles throughout and its grating. mocking almost.

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Amateurish reading and recording

This book's premise can be gleaned within a few chapters, but listening to the excessive details and repetitive scenarios becomes belabored, redundant, and not the least bit illuminating. If you are looking for proof of human credulity read the news or go to a sporting event. It is not a novel concept. This is a much better book for a private detective looking to collect a debt from a spurned business partner.

The audio quality is inconsistent and the narrator has trouble pronouncing many of the place names. It is an amateurish recording and poor audio production. The noise levels are all over the place and it seems like a patchwork of many disjointed recording sessions.

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Great content. Terrible narration

I was recommended this book to read but decided to listen on my work commutes. I’ll go read it instead. Listening to this narration is painful. It’s like listening to a prepubescent William Shatner read a book. Weird pauses between words are mind numbing. It seems as if he is almost laughing during parts as well. Do yourself a favor and just read it.