April 12, 2018

Eight Editions Later, Hogg’s Textbook Still a Market Leader

"Serendipity and luck": That's what Social Psychology Professor and Program Chair Michael Hogg thinks is behind his book's long-running success. Critics have added other reasons: deep expertise, flexibility, and strong engagement with readers, too.

How do you set out to write a market-leading textbook?

Michael Hogg’s answer is simple. You don’t.

“We never planned to write a market leader—like most things in life it was a mix of serendipity and luck,” said Hogg, a professor of social psychology and chair of the Social Psychology program as part of the Division of Behavioral & Organizational Sciences.

Hogg is referring to Social Psychology, the book he co-authored with Graham Vaughan back in 1995, which has just been published in its eighth edition. According to the book’s publisher, Pearson, Social Psychology is leading the market in introductory texts about social psychology in several global markets: the UK, continental Europe, Australia, and New Zealand.

Social Psychology textbook
In the last two decades, Hogg and Vaughan’s book has reached some 3 million students.

The book’s sales have reached the kinds of figures associated with commercial books being sold in commercial markets: Over its lifetime, Hogg and Vaughan’s book has sold some 330,000 copies and reached an estimated 3 million students.

There must be more than serendipity and luck behind this success, right?

Various reviewers cited by Pearson have identified many reasons for the book’s value, ranging from its ability to keep up with “the fast-moving world of social psychology” to the way the authors have enabled students “to both cognitively and emotionally engage with the ideas and evidence.”

Hogg said he is thankful for this feedback, adding that he and Vaughan work well together and that their combined experience “teaching intro social psych across three continents” must have given them “a knack for making it accessible.”

“Graham and I love social psychology and feel it is an important science,” Hogg said. “It is incredibly gratifying to know that we can reach so many people with our book instead of simply standing in front of a class and lecturing.”