Better, Not Perfect: A Realist’s Guide to Maximum Sustainable Goodness

Max H. Bazerman. HarperBusiness, $29.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-06-300270-8
Ethical self-improvement is a task best taken one day at a time, argues Harvard Business School professor Bazerman (The Power of Experiments, coauthor) in this encouraging primer aimed at businesspeople. Utilitarianism gets a bad rap, Bazerman writes, but with the right outlook, it can help people reach their “maximum sustainable level of goodness.” This means figuring out how to create as much value as possible for the most people, in as sustainable a level as possible. He focuses on such areas as identifying waste (both corporate and personal), allocating time more effectively “both for your own benefit and for the benefit of others,” and practicing philanthropy more with an eye toward genuinely helping others than gratifying one’s ego. The book is best where it uses familiar examples like the runaway trolley problem and the prisoner’s dilemma to nudge readers into rethinking their preconceptions about ethics, away from rule-following and toward considering the practical implications for others. Bazerman’s encouraging call for readers to keep moving in the right direction, even if they aren’t on the fast track to perfection, is a much-needed and sane approach to personal betterment. (Sept.)
Reviewed on : 05/01/2020
Release date: 09/01/2020
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 256 pages - 978-0-06-300271-5
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