This innovative text is an unusually clear and succinct introduction to animal learning - its principles, methods, applications, and limitations. It provides the untrained student with the basics of Pavlovian and operant conditioning.
It's interesting that this book is primarily about animal learning, yet the author has no trouble at all including the words "human nature" in the title and flippantly extrapolating simple animal mechanisms to a very different and complex human entity. But this is what behaviorists do all of the time. Instead of observing, addressing and dealing with a human being, they instead observe animals, really dumb animals, and assume what applies to them must apply to Man - this is a very stupid assumption.
Behaviorists view Man as an animal, subject to the same laws of stimulus-response that he observes in his animal experiments. They flatly denies the existence of a "human mind", personal responsibility and any type of "inner personality". It is essential to understand Watson and other behaviorists to grasp where the current unworkable and basically degrading theories and methods of pseudo-scientific psychology and psychiatry come from. To Watson thoughts, will, intention, purposes and responsibility are meaningless terms which only "seem" to exist. He considers them tedious concepts which interfere with a "true" understanding of Man as a controllable animal devoid of a soul, mind and any ability to act on one's own self-determinism.
It's good to read a book about behaviorism to see just how ridiculous human thought can be. This is as good of one as any!
Behaviorists are not completely wrong - the environment does influence people, sometimes dramatically. But their one-sided approach tosses out any notion of a self-determined responsible human being capable of acting (i.e. behaving) intentionally based upon ethical, moral or well thought-out personal choices and decisions. As with most behavioral psychologists, it's all environmental. They quite comfortably assert that notions regarding an indwelling thinking agent (i.e. you) are useless and should be quickly forgotten! They also quite comfortably view and treat Man like so many atoms, molecules, and bricks in their attempt to "understand" Man as does the physical scientist. This always eventually leads to oppression, control and brute force, because Man is viewed as an animal with no soul - in that case, who cares what is done to him?