Ethics (for the Real World): Creating a Personal Code to Guide Decisions in Work and Life

Ronald A. Howard, Author, Clinton D. Korver, Author, Bill Birchard, With . Harvard Business School $24.95 (212p) ISBN 978-1-4221-2106-1

Few are likely to quibble that “Thou shalt not illegally download copyrighted media files” doesn’t have quite the solemnity or clarity of “Thou shalt not steal.” Howard and Korver invite readers into ethics’ gray areas and guide them in developing a personal ethical code hardy enough for the most ambiguous situations. The book presents a four-part plan to become aware of “ethical temptation and compromise,” the fundamentals of ethical logic and using ethics as an avenue to a happier life. The authors successfully tease out the prudential, legal and ethical dimensions of actions—however, readers might become frustrated with the lack of conclusive instructions. Furthermore, while the putative goal of the book is to assist readers in constructing their “personal code,” the sample models presented are so rife with inconsistencies that the book contributes to more ethical confusion than clarity. While the very nature of ethics acknowledges the varying shades of gray, a bit more black and white when it comes to ethical guidance might lead to a more satisfying read. (June)

Reviewed on: 04/21/2008
Release date: 05/01/2008
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