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Do As I Say

How cults control, why we join them, and what they teach us about bullying, abuse and coercion...

Sarah Steel



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28 June 2022
At the heart of being human is the desire to belong. It can make us unspeakably vulnerable to the manipulations of others. Cult leaders prey on this desire, but so do many unscrupulous operators hiding in plain sight.

Sarah Steel, the creator of the popular 'Let's Talk About Sects' podcast, has researched the cults you've heard of - and dozens you haven't. What strikes her most are not the differences between bizarre cult behaviour and 'normal' behaviour but the depressing similarities. Her work reveals that we are all susceptible to the power of cult dynamics.

In Do As I Say, Sarah Steel tells the human tale behind the sensationalism. Sharing deeply personal stories, gathered over years of interviews with survivors, and some shocking tales about the world's most famous cults, she sheds light on the high cost of unchecked coercive behaviours to individuals and communities at large.

Praise for Do As I Say

'Sarah uses the stories of survivors to tease out the common threads of coercive control shared by cults and found in other parts of society. The result is a much-needed spotlight on the behaviours and personalities we are likely to encounter even if we never go anywhere near a cult.' - David Gillespie, bestselling author and lawyer

'In times of uncertainty when you long for simple answers and have a deep desire for community, you can find yourself incrementally handing over your agency to a charismatic but authoritarian and manipulative leader or group-think. In this book Sarah Steel has brilliantly charted how this happens in all sorts of ways and for all sorts of people; it provides an invaluable map to navigate this dangerous terrain.' - Reverend Tim Costello AO

'This book is a most comprehensive and studied look at cults, the leaders, and perhaps most importantly the survivors. Sarah Steel has given the world a real gem - one that will not only educate but also help to destigmatize those who have been harmed by cults and con artists. Bravo!' - Dr Janja Lalich, cult expert, academic and former cult member

Imprint:   Macmillan
Country of Publication:   Australia
Dimensions:   Height: 230mm,  Width: 158mm,  Spine: 26mm
Weight:   442g
ISBN:   9781760986131
ISBN 10:   1760986135
Publication Date:  
Audience:   General/trade ,  College/higher education ,  Professional and scholarly ,  ELT Advanced ,  Primary
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Sarah researches, writes, records and edits 'Let's Talk About Sects'. Her writing has been published in The Guardian, Indiewire and ABC Online, and she has appeared on SBS's The Feed and Channel 9's Today Show. Her work has been commissioned for ABC Radio National's Earshot program, and she has also featured on ABC Radio's Overnights program. In 2019 Sarah appeared on a panel at the OzPod Conference alongside podcast presenters from The Australian's Who The Hell is Hamish and the ABC's Snowball.

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