An excellent examination of the cult phenomena. Described as "The #1 Best-selling Guide to Protection, Rescue, and Recovery from Destructive Cults," Hassan's book explains what elements are common to cults, and what defines a cult.
As a former member of the the Unification Church
(a.k.a. "Moonies") and a psychologist (he obtained his degree after exiting the Moonies), Hassan offers a unique perspective and insight into the cult movement.
Although peppered with examples and anecdotes from the Moonies, Hassan
is careful to keep the analysis general enough to apply to many other "questionable" groups and organizations.
When is a cult not a cult? Does a group have to be "religious" to be a cult, or could a "non-religious" cult exist? Hassan answers these questions and more, and clearly defines the difference between unusual beliefs (which do not necessarily identify a group as a cult) and dangerous & destructive social factors (which, independent of the beliefs, make a group a cult, according to Hassan's definition).
Strongly recommended for anyone who has friends or family in an "unusual" group; this book will help you to either dismiss your fears of cult involvement, or give you the advice you need to deal with this difficult situation.
Even more strongly recommended for anyone who feels they are an a group that has been "mislabelled" by society as a cult. This book will either help you to understand what defines a cult (so you can defend yourself against criticism) or else give you an interesting perspective on how others view your organization.