Synopses & Reviews
The New York Times Magazine's original "Ethicist" Randy Cohen helps readers locate their own internal ethical compasses as he delivers answers to life's most challenging dilemmas—timeless and contemporary alike. Organized thematically in an easy-to-navigate Q&A format, and featuring line illustrations throughout, this amusing and engaging book challenges readers to think about how they would (or should) respond when faced with everyday moral challenges, from sex and love to religion, technology, and much more. Sure to ignite brain cells and spark healthy debate, Be Good is a book to refer to again and again.
"Culled from his 12-year tenure as the man behind the The New York Times Magazine's 'The Ethicist,' this anthology of Cohen's columns, now divided into categories such as 'Family,' 'Money,' 'Technology,' and 'Love & Sex,' blends nuanced ethical discussions with gentle humor. Although much of the content will be redundant for regular readers of 'The Ethicist' Cohen provides brief essays at the beginning of each chapter, but little else is new the organization of this book helps clarify Cohen's formation of a code of ethics that is socially progressive and community-based. Although some of the dilemmas presented are thought-provoking on their own, the most interesting portions are those in which Cohen returns to earlier decisions, sharing letters from readers, revising arguments, and discussing controversies that resulted from certain pronouncements. Seeing Cohen defend his decisions against intelligent dissenters and remark how the passage of time has altered his thinking on others is perhaps the most instructive aspect of the book a demonstration in how to actually practice the art of ethical thinking. One could argue this was Cohen's intention all along; in assembling this volume, what he has created is 'a set of practice problems' meant to test and strengthen the reader's own ethical compass. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"What [Cohen] has created is "a set of practice problems" meant to test and strengthen the reader's own ethical compass. "
- Publisher's Weekly
"What struck me most was his claim that, despite our quickly changing world of social media and altered interpersonal communications, ethics themselves have not changed much over time. Etiquette changes; social mores shift. But whether you're a Googler or a gladiator, the basic line stays the same: When in doubt about how to act, be good. We all know (pretty much) what that means."
"While there's plenty of common-sense inside this book, there's also lots to ponder about right and wrong."
- Alaska Journal
About the Author
Randy Cohen established himself as the author of the popular "The Ethicist" column in the New York Times Magazine, which he wrote for twelve years. He has appeared regularly on NPR, and is host of the radio series Person Place Thing. He lives in New York City.