All 75 Editions of Textbooks by Hope Professor David Myers Chosen for National Museum of Psychology

Professors have always collected books in their offices, often a lot of books, but in March Dr. David Myers of the psychology faculty went the other direction and emptied his shelves by 75 volumes in response to a unique honor. The National Museum of Psychology, based at the University of Akron in Ohio, had requested that he provide its archives with a copy of each of the editions of the introductory and social psychology textbooks that he has authored across the past 41 years.

And well the museum might. Three of those textbooks — Exploring Psychology, Psychology and Social Psychology (the latter in its 14th edition) — have been in recent years the most frequently adopted psychology texts across colleges and universities. As reported by the Columbia University-related “Open Syllabus Explorer” through its analysis of 272,000 online course syllabi, the books made, respectively, 2,499, 2,188 and 1,728 appearances. In addition, editions of the introductory and social psychology texts developed for high school classes have been studied by most of the 350,000 students taking AP Psychology each year. The books are also used beyond the U.S. — they’ve been published in 22 languages.

Each is its own book, with its own title, its own cover, its own year of production and its own ISBN. But, as does any good scientist, Myers avoids hyperbole, and takes care to qualify the quantity.

“The 75 is a bit of an artificially high count because some of these books are variations, so it’s not like it’s 75 completely independent books,” he explained. “They’re written at different levels, and they each have new information added. But, for example, the modular editions are a different format from the main edition, or we have a brief edition and a super-brief edition.”

He also emphasizes that the credit isn’t all his. Although one name appears on most of the covers, he notes: “I have been fortunate to work on a creative team that loves its mission and loves one another.” It’s an essential cast that includes co-authors, editors and project managers in Holland and at his publishers, the experts in digital media that have helped extend the books’ reach beyond print, supportive faculty colleagues and more.

His textbook-publishing journey began unexpectedly, during the summer of 1978 at a castle near Munich, Germany, where Myers, who had recently completed his 11th year on the Hope faculty, was participating in a week-long research retreat with seven other American social scientists and 16 European colleagues.

“There I was providentially assigned to sit adjacent to University of Massachusetts professor Ivan Steiner,” Myers recalled. “Six months later, in January of 1979, McGraw-Hill’s psychology editor, Nelson Black, called Steiner asking if he might help author a new social psychology text. Steiner demurred, but in the spur of the moment he gave them the name of the little-known social psychologist he had met at the retreat.”

“Black’s ensuing out-of-the-blue phone call to me began months of conversation, which led to my agreeing — with considerable self-doubt — to risk taking on the project,” Myers said. “I reasoned that even if the book flopped, I would at least become a more informed teacher.”

Clearly, the book didn’t flop, but Myers was prescient in anticipating that he’d enrich his own understanding of social psychology. That latter dynamic has even led to several additional books that present aspects of psychological science for a general audience — like The Pursuit of Happiness: Who Is Happy — and Why (1993), A Quiet World: Living with Hearing Loss (2000), Psychology through the Eyes of Faith (2002, with Malcolm Jeeves), Intuition: Its Powers and Perils (2004) and How Do We Know Ourselves? Curiosities and Marvels of the Human Mind. (2022)

“Many of those books have developed when I’ve reflected on material that I’m writing about in a textbook and thought, ‘Wow, that’s so interesting. More people should know about that.’”

His books have also provided Myers the opportunity to share psychology through numerous articles in the scholarly and popular press as well as through interviews in print and on radio, television and podcasts. He also makes material freely available on his website,

The publications have additionally provided a unique way of presenting Hope (the college) to the world. Beyond denoting Myers’ institutional affiliation in the author credit, the textbooks often include examples and even photographs from Hope. For a time, the college’s name even adorned the largest conference room in the headquarters of Macmillan Learning in New York City. (The publisher has since relocated, but its practice in its previous site was to name rooms in honor of its bestselling authors.)

As he reflects on his authorial experience, Myers considers C.S. Lewis’ description of “two sorts of jobs” in The World’s Last Night — the first so enjoyable that people would do the work even if no one paid for it; the other a chore that no one would do unless paid. People don’t always get to have a choice, and Myers is grateful that for him the lines have fallen in pleasant places.

“How blessed I am to have the first sort of job — to be tasked with discerning and communicating wisdom gleaned from the most fascinating subject on Earth, and hopefully, also, with expanding minds, deepening understanding, increasing compassion, arousing curiosity, cultivating critical thinking, and, as a gratifying by-product, with being philanthropic,” he said. “How blessed, and fortunate: If I relived my life a thousand times — sans that providential castle seating assignment and name-dropping, I surely would never have become a textbook author.”


The National Museum of Psychology is housed at the University of Akron’s Cummings Center for the History of Psychology, which also houses the Archives of the History of American Psychology. The Drs. Nicholas and Dorothy Cummings Center for the History of Psychology cares for, provides access to and interprets the historical record of psychology and related human sciences. The museum features permanent and rotating exhibits on the history of psychology as a profession, a science and an agent of social change. The Archives of the History of American Psychology is the world’s largest repository of manuscripts, books, media and artifacts relevant to the history of psychology and related human sciences.

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