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

Front Cover
Harvard Business Press, 2008 - Business & Economics - 212 pages
16 Reviews
People often act reflexively when faced with an ethical challenge. The necessity to make a fast decision leaves little time to think clearly. We get distracted by what our colleagues and others expect from us, and we make snap decisions that we regret.

While most agree that outright lying, stealing, and harming are wrong, they seem to disagree about smaller compromises. This book argues that it's better and more satisfying to choose instead of react, to understand distinctions instead of guess what is right for us, and to remain cognizant of the impact of ethical compromise on our effectiveness at work and our personal relationships.

The chapters of this book offer lessons and practical tools to help readers:

  • 1. Develop radar to identify the situations where we are forced to make ethical compromises;
  • 2. Understand how to use solid ethical logic and principles to foster clear thinking;
  • 3. Draft and refine a personal code of conduct, and make it practical for everyday use;
  • 4. Go beyond ethical basics to using your personal code as a lever for making more consistent decisions and reducing stress in work and life.

Many books about ethics discuss weighty and controversial issues that few of us deal with in daily life--abortion, euthanasia, capital punishment, animal rights. While these books are valuable, they are not so much tools for decision making as food for thought. This book, in contrast, focuses on one of ethics' most insidious problems: our inability to make clear and consistent choices in everyday life. The practical tools and techniques in this book help readers design a set of personal standards, based on sound ethical reasoning, for reducing everyday compromises.

  

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

User Review  - Huang Bingzhang - Goodreads

This book is assigned in my business ethics course. I have to say there are some sparkling points for developing personal code. Yet this book is not for a serious discussion on "why we do this" but "how we do this." Read full review

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

User Review  - Goodreads

This book is assigned in my business ethics course. I have to say there are some sparkling points for developing personal code. Yet this book is not for a serious discussion on "why we do this" but "how we do this." Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

Skillful Decision Making
1
Almost Ethical
11
Draw Distinctions
31
Consult the Touchstones
51
Draft Your Code
71
Choose Action
91
Transform Life
113
Transform Work
131
The Elements of Ethical Thinking
155
Ethical Codes
157
OUR MESSAGES
175
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
187
NOTES
189
INDEX
203
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
211
Copyright

Habit of Wisdom
151

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2008)

Ronald A. Howard is a professor in the Department of Management Science and Engineering in Stanford University's School of Engineering, and the director of the Department's Decisions and Ethics Center. Clinton D. Korver is the founder and CEO of DecisionStreet, which provides Web-based tools to help consumers make important life decisions.

Bibliographic information