The title of this book pretty much sums it up: Why are we so fascinated by evil, death, scandal, and other dark parts of life? What does this say about human nature? To answer these questions, Wilson consults biologists, sociologists, and psychologists, and also relates stories and examples from his own experience. He shares several different theories. The traditional idea is that we all have a good side and a bad side; horror movies and gossip allow us to indulge our bad sides in (relatively) harmless ways. Wilson, however, concludes that there is value in the darkness itself, because without it goodness has no meaning.
I just couldn't get into this book. The subject is really interesting, but it jumps around too much for me. It seems like Wilson is just randomly listing thoughts, with info from other sources thrown around to emphasize his points. There are a few good ideas, but a lot of it is repetitive. It wasn't a total waste of time, but I don't think I'll be recommending it to anyone.