A Compelling Idea

How We Become the Persons We Are
by Alan Sroufe

Now Available in Hardcover and Paperback!

“This book is brilliant! Alan Sroufe is one of the most thoughtful and inspiring social scientists in the world. This compelling memoir should be read by everyone.”*

A Compelling Idea is an autobiographical window into the personal and professional journey of a “superstar psychologist.”

Alan Sroufe and his team at the University of Minnesota Institute of Child Development conducted the longest-running study of human psychological development, establishing the reasons why we each behave as we do and see the world as we do. Sroufe’s groundbreaking theoretical and empirical contributions to the fields of developmental psychology and developmental psychopathology have been reported to the academic world in over 150 papers and journal articles and seven books.

From the beginning of his academic career, Alan’s motivation to pursue the study of human development was personal. Having been raised in a dysfunctional family, he wanted to know why he had the problems he did and how his mental health could be improved.

A Compelling Idea is his personal story of this road to discovery.

Now available in paperback! Click here to learn more.

As one reviewer observed, “It is hard to imagine a person with any curiosity regarding who they are and how they developed who would not be fascinated by this book.”


This is a six-minute training video produced by the University of Minnesota, now available on YouTube. In it, Alan presents the simple, basic concepts of attachment theory. It is short and clear and will help anyone who doesn’t know—or doesn’t recall from their developmental psych 101 course—grasp the basics of attachment theory in six minutes.

About the Author

L. ALAN SROUFE, Professor Emeritus, University of Minnesota Institute of Child Development, has been called: “The premier developmentalist of his generation” (The Bowlby/Ainsworth award citation) and “… a founder and leading contributor to the field of developmental psychopathology” (the Distinguish Scientific Award of the Society of Research in Child Development). An internationally recognized expert on early attachment relationships, emotional development, and developmental psychopathology, he has published 150 articles and seven books on these topics, including The Development of the Person, a two time award winner.