Contemporary culture blasts us daily with models of how we should behave -- dubious models at best. From the strip club aesthetics of MTV teen idols to the clawing, hell-bent competitions of reality TV, sometimes it can seem that every corner of our media-drenched society is sending an unmistakable message to us and our children: Shed your dignity, exploit yourself and others, and you'll be on the path to glory.
And yet, as popular talk-radio host Shmuley Boteach contends, there's another way to live, another path to heroism -- and its avatars are all around us.
The Private Adam takes its name from an oft-overlooked passage in the earliest chapters of the Bible -- a passage that speaks directly to the warring impulses that pervade our culture today. As Boteach notes, the figure of Adam is introduced twice: first as a figure in God's image, commanded to subdue and conquer the world; and then as a man created from dust, told to nurture the Garden of Eden and care for it. In this image of two divergent Adams -- the aggressive public figure and the humble private man -- Boteach finds a parable for man's eternal struggle between ambition and altruism, self-promotion and self-sacrifice.
In The Private Adam, Boteach contends that society today is fixated on the dubious values of the Public Adam -- the macho warrior motivated by insecurity more than honor -- and that the result is a crueler and more soulless world. In contrast, he celebrates the Private Adam, the selfless man or woman whose struggle to do right is the stuff of unsung battles every day. Illuminated with inspiring examples from history and contemporary life -- and filled with valuable advice -- The Private Adam is Boteach's most thoughtful and universal book yet.
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Shmuley Boteach is the author of several books, including Kosher Sex and Dating Secrets of the Ten Commandments. Founder of the L'Chaim Society, an organization that hosts world leaders lecturing on values-based issues, Boteach served for eleven years as rabbi at Oxford University and was named Preacher of the Year in 2000 by The Times of London. In 2000 he founded the global Heal the Kids initiative with singer Michael Jackson. He has appeared on Today, Larry King Live, The View, and many other programs. Boteach lives in Englewood, New Jersey, with his wife, Debbie, and their seven children.
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