David Riesman Jr., 93, a noted sociologist whose 1950 book, "The Lonely Crowd," which though intended as a scholarly work became an international bestseller and introduced such terms as "other-directed" and "inner-directed" to everyday Americans, died May 10 at a nursing home in Binghamton, N.Y.

The cause of death was not reported.

Mr. Riesman, a Harvard University professor of social sciences from 1958 to 1980, wrote "The Lonely Crowd: A Study of the Changing American Character" with Reuel Denney and Nathan Glazer.

Its publisher, Yale University Press, reportedly hoped the volume would sell at least 3,000 copies. To date, the book has sold more than 1.4 million copies in various editions. It has become required reading in college sociology courses and has been judged one of the most influential sociological studies of the 20th century.

The book and Mr. Riesman have been credited with coining the phrases "inner-directed" and "other-directed" to describe individuals' relations to their society. The book speaks of these character types -- along with "tradition-directed" individuals -- not only to show people's relation to society but also to illustrate the evolution of society itself.

Mr. Riesman suggested that as mankind evolved from warriors to adventurers to corporate beasts, the type of person who prospered in these societies changed, too. A "tradition-directed" person, obeying ancient rules and taboos, found it hard to prosper in modern society. The "inner-directed" individual obeyed the rules taught in childhood, while "other-directed" subjects sought approval by accommodating themselves to the rules of their contemporaries, making themselves ideal for modern corporations.

Mr. Riesman and his work struck a remarkably strong intellectual chord in the American public. Other books that have struck similar chords include Michael Harrington's "The Other America," Charles Reich's "The Greening of America" and Allan Bloom's "The Closing of the American Mind."

In any case, a 1997 study by Herbert Gans cites "The Lonely Crowd" as the bestselling work of sociology of all time. The book also resulted in Mr. Riesman making a Time magazine cover and "the lonely crowd" becoming part of a Bob Dylan lyric.

In 1952, Mr. Riesman and Glazer came out with a sequel to their bestseller titled "Faces in the Crowd: Individual Studies in Character and Politics."

Mr. Riesman, who became a specialist in the sociology of education, was a prolific author, writing or co-writing more than a dozen books ranging from "Constraint and Variety in American Education," which was published in 1956, to "Choosing a College President," which appeared in 1991. He also published two volumes of essays and a 1953 biography of the brilliant and colorful economist Thorstein Veblen.

Mr. Riesman was born in Philadelphia. His father was a clinical professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, his mother a graduate of Bryn Mawr College.

Mr. Riesman entered Harvard University as a pre-med student and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and became managing editor of the Harvard Crimson before graduating in 1931 with a degree in biochemistry.

He was a 1934 graduate of Harvard University law school, where he was a law review editor. He spent the next year on a fellowship studying at the law school with Felix Frankfurter, a future U.S. Supreme Court justice, then spent a year as clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis.

Mr. Riesman practiced law in Boston, then served from 1937 to 1941 as a law professor at what is now the State University of New York at Buffalo. While at Buffalo, he studied psychoanalysis with pioneering psychiatrist Harry Stack Sullivan and later underwent analysis by psychiatrist Erich Fromm.

He became a research fellow at Columbia University law school in 1941, then spent a year as a deputy assistant district attorney for New York County before joining the staff of Sperry Gyroscope Co. From 1946 to 1958, he was a professor of social science at the University of Chicago.

Over the years, Mr. Riesman was a vocal defender of academic freedom and an opponent of the nuclear arms race and U.S. involvement in Southeast Asia. However, he also became a critic of student activists, many of whom favored the same causes he championed. He once edited the anti-nuclear magazine Correspondent.

His wife, the former Evelyn Hastings Thompson, whom he married in 1936, died in 1998.

Survivors include three children and two grandchildren.