Item description for Moral Courage by Rushworth M. Kidder...
Overview Outlines principles for ethical behavior while counseling readers on how to put ethical thinking into practice, drawing on the stories of leaders, whistleblowers, and everyday people to examine such events as the Enron scandal, the space shuttle tragedy, and the war in Iraq. By the author of How Good People Make Tough Choices. Reprint. 20,000 first printing.
Why did a group of teenagers watch a friend die instead of putting their own reputations at risk? Why did a top White House official decide to come clean and accept a prison sentence during Watergate? Why did a finance executive turn down millions out of respect for her employer? Why are some willing to risk their futures to uphold principles? What gives us the strength to stand up for what we believe?
As these questions suggest, the topic of moral courage is front and center in today's culture. Enron, Arthur Andersen, the U.S. Olympic Committee, abusive priests, cheating students, domestic violence -- all these remind us that taking ethical stands should be a higher priority in our culture. Why, when people discern wrongdoing, are they sometimes unready, unable, or unwilling to act?
In a book rich with examples, Rushworth Kidder reveals that moral courage is the bridge between talking ethics and doing ethics. Defining it as a readiness to endure danger for the sake of principle, he explains that the courage to act is found at the intersection of three elements: action based on core values, awareness of the risks, and a willingness to endure necessary hardship. By exploring how moral courage spurs us to strive for core values, he demonstrates the benefits of ethical action to the individual and to society -- and the severe consequences that can result from remaining morally dormant.
Moral Courage puts indispensable concepts and tools into our hands, equipping us to respond to the increasingly complicated moral challenges we face at work, at home, and in our communities. It enables us to make clear, confident decisions by exploring some litmus-test questions: Is the benefit worth the risk?Am I motivated by my desire to uphold my beliefs or just to impose them on others?Will my actions create collateral damage among those with no stake in the outcome?
While physical courage may no longer be a necessary survival skill or an essential rite of passage out of childhood, few would dispute the growing need for moral courage as the true gauge of maturity. Treating this subject not as an esoteric branch of philosophy but as a practical necessity for modern life, Kidder deftly leads us to a clear understanding of what moral courage is, what it does, and how to get it.
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Studio: Harper Paperbacks
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8" Width: 5.9" Height: 0.76" Weight: 0.6 lbs.
Release Date Mar 14, 2006
Publisher Harper Collins Publishers
ISBN 0060591560 ISBN13 9780060591564
Reviews - What do customers think about Moral Courage?
Fails to refute moral relativism Nov 17, 2005
While this book contains many interesting and illuminating anecedotes of personal courage (or the lack thereof), it fails on one key point.
Kidder argues against moral relativism, suggesting (based on interviews) that honesty, respect, responsibility, fairness, and compassion are universal values. These are just words, however, and they can mean very different things to different people. To people in a very communal culture, responsibility might be used to mean the individual's responsibility to the community. In more individualistic cultures (and in the philosophy of Ayn Rand) it would more likely mean responsibility to self. To some fairness means equality, while to others it can mean extreme discrimination. A refutation of moral relativism demands that different people agree upon the same meanings, not merely the same words.
With this failure, Kidder's entire case falls down. He presents moral courage as "the string" holding together the pearls (of moral values). When those very values are in question, moral courage becomes undefinable.
The Courage of Your Convictions, Morals... May 21, 2005
It seems that ethics is the primary issue now, ethics in government, in business and in private concerns. Moral courage is described as "the bridge between talking ethics and doing ethics." I don't think that is necessarily the moral issue.
Morality has nothing to do with ethics. Morality is standing up for your rights and standing firm when others do harm to you. He asks, "Am I motivated by my desire to uphold my beliefs or just to impose them on others?" There is no way to impose anything on anybody who is not willing to accept it.
Some of us fight for moral courage, which is so lacking in today's world. But is telling the truth right when it can hurt someone else desperately? Is that moral? Is it ethical to do things and say things which you know will cause irreperable harm to innocent people?
Our culture is full of those who get their kicks out of putting down an old woman and making her feel soiled, even though they have not touched her physically. Emotional abuse is by far a much greater harm to the psyche than any physical abuse is to the body. I know, because I endured it for 21 years. But I am a survivor, and I have always stood up for my rights. I was praised once upon a time, a while back, as sticking to my convictions, that not so many people will stand behind the courage of their convictions.
You don't have to achieve maturity to have moral courage. It just takes determination and character, no matter what your age is. No, it is not esoteric or practical, it is a necessity in today's world not to back down. That's the Scots-Irish in us Southerners.
Dr. Kidder is from the East where morals are different from the Bible Belt of the South. He is highly educated and serves on many boards as a VIP. I wonder what audience he wrote this particular book for, us commoners who have to struggle with everyday problems, like a death in the family, or the CEOs who dally with other people's money. There is a vast difference.
An important topic no matter what your station in life Apr 3, 2005
Take a look at your hometown newspaper on any given day. You might read about a deadly fire that could have been prevented had a city or town inspector been doing his or her job honestly and diligently. Or there just might be a story about a high ranking elected official who is abusing the public trust they have been sworn to uphold. Or maybe a group of high school students have been caught plagiarizing their term papers. How do you react when you read these kinds of stories? Are you outraged or do you merely shrug your shoulders and yearn for the "good old days" when people were more responsible and more accountable for their actions. As we enter the increasingly complex world of the 21st century, it has become quite apparent that there is a need for more and more of us to display "Moral Courage". Much to my amazement, author Rushworth Kidder reveals in the opening pages of his book that a search on the internet revealed that no one has ever written a book on this specific subject. To Kidder there are three elements to "Moral Courage"--an individual must have principles, there has to be an element of danger or risk involved and one must show a willingness to endure. As a means of illustration, the author cites numerous real-life examples of individuals who found themselves facing very real ethical dilemmas. Some of his subjects would fail the test miserably while others would respond in a heroic way. Kidder goes on to explain that the most difficult moral dilemmas are not those situations where the choices are clearly "right against wrong" but rather the situation that commonly occurs where one must struggle with "right vs. right" choices. I cannot think of anyone who would not benefit from reading "Moral Courage". Like it or not, each one of us is bound to face a number of thorny issues and moral dilemmas during the course of our lifetime. Rushworth Kidder has given us all lots of food for thought in his fascinating new book. Highly recommended.
Maintaining Principles Under Pressure Apr 3, 2005
Rushworth Kidder's examples of moral courage by people in different walks of life are useful, instructive, and inspiring. Kidder analyses the qualities that constitute moral courage and the character of the people making morally courageous decisions in a wide variety of contexts. I don't think that there is anyone one who could not benefit by reading this book, and it doesn't need to be read through, at one sitting. In fact, it may be better to read parts and reflect on them instead of reading it cover to cover. I was moved to share it with my 15 year old daughter, who read the parts I selected with interest. Moral Courage is an ideal textbook for high school or college students as it provides real life examples and a framework of analysis that will stimulate discussion and bring attention to the issues that confront us today as individuals and as a society. Moral Courage demonstrates the great value and importance of being aware of our choices and making the tough decisions that are needed more than ever today.
Moral Courage by Rushworth Kidder Mar 10, 2005
Rush Kidder's new book, "Moral Courage" examines both the structure of a value system and the essential idea of morage courage which enables any value system to work. Kidder, the founder of the Institute for Global Ethics, and an important commentator on practical ethics is well suited to look at what makes ethics work in the workday world.
There are nine chapters in the book which neatly fit into three sections. The first section which I would call "Basics" includes Standing Up for Principle; Courage: Moral and Physical; and The Courage to be Moral. The second section which I would call "Elements of Moral Courage" includes The First Circle: Enduring the Hardship; The Second Circle: Recognizing the Risks; and The Third Circle: Enduring the Hardship. The final section which I would call "Practical Applications" includes Fakes, Frauds and Foibles : What Moral Courage Isn't; Learning Moral Courage, and finally, Practising Moral Courage in the Public Square.
The book uses many personal stories to demonstrate by example, just what is meant. It has a solid theoretical structure but the clear illustrations of real people applying the theory in their own lives makes it both very readable and useful as a text in courses on practical ethics.
I believe this is a book that should be in the library of any person who has a sincere interest in practical or applied ethics. Its analysis of moral courage will, I believe, become a classic. I think it will give ethicists as well as others a common language as well as a common way to examine ethical situations. Since the illustrations come from a very broad spectrum of human experience and differing societies, the book should be a useful tool no matter what area of ethics an individual is involved in. It is very clear and does not resort to jargon. It will, without doubt, be an important tool for practical ethics for many years to come.