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The Good, the Bad & the Difference: How to Tell the Right From Wrong in Everyday Situations

Cohen, Randy

159 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0767908139 / ISBN 13: 9780767908139
Published by Harmony, 2003
Used Condition: Acceptable Soft cover
From Once Upon A Time Books (Springdale, AR, U.S.A.)

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Title: The Good, the Bad & the Difference: How to ...

Publisher: Harmony

Publication Date: 2003

Binding: Paperback

Book Condition:Acceptable

About this title


The man behind the New York Times Magazine’s immensely popular column “The Ethicist”–syndicated in newspapers across the United States and Canada as “Everyday Ethics”–casts an eye on today’s manners and mores with a provocative, thematic collection of advice on how to be good in the real world.

Every week in his column on ethics, Randy Cohen takes on conundrums presented in letters from perplexed people who want to do the right thing (or hope to get away with doing the wrong thing), and responds with a skillful blend of moral authority and humor. Cohen’s wisdom and witticisms have now been collected in The Good, the Bad & the Difference, a collection of his columns as wise and funny as a combination of “Dear Abby,” Plato, and Mel Brooks. The columns are supplemented with second thoughts on (and sometimes complete reversals of) his original replies, follow-up notes on how his advice affected the actions of various letter writers, reactions from readers both pro and con, and observations from such “guest ethicists” as David Eggers and the author’s mom. Each chapter also features an “Ethics Pop Quiz,” and readers will be invited to post their answers on the book’s Web site. The best of them will appear in a future paperback edition of the book.

The Good, the Bad & the Difference is divided into seven sections:
·Civic Life (what we do in public)

·Family Life (what we do at home)

·Social Life (what we do in other people’s homes)

·Commercial Life (what we do in situations where money is a factor)

·Medical Life (the rights and obligations of patients and caregivers)

·Work Life (ethics for the professional sphere)

·School Life (moral questions from and about kids)

Each section provides a window into how we live today, shedding light on the ways in which a more ethical approach to the decisions we make, and to our daily behavior, can make a big difference in how we feel about ourselves tomorrow.
From the Hardcover edition.


Humbly perched atop his "accidental" vantage point (he never intended to be an ethicist), New York Times Magazine columnist Randy Cohen eagerly analyzes the circuitous moral landscape below and offers smart advice in The Good, the Bad & the Difference. Nearly 200 reader letters, Cohen's thoughtful responses, and occasional counterpoints from guest ethicists make up the bulk of this engaging collection. Divided into seven topics, questions seek guidance on appropriate behavior at work, school, and home; with friends; in public; in the medical field; and in situations where money counts. They range from the clear-cut (seeking justification for acts of revenge), to the no-win situation (think "whistle-blower"). The ethicist in Cohen provides a quick, logically gleaned response; the novelist in him "skillfully limns the complex and subtle relationships and the unspoken obligations that bind people together"; and the humorist in him makes it all irresistible. Each chapter's "Pop Ethics Quiz" invites readers to exercise their own moral muscles on serious and whimsical dilemmas. While Cohen claims no formal background in ethics, perhaps his stint as a writer for Late Night with David Letterman was school enough, for he shows a remarkable ability to smoke out the wrong and carefully preserve the right, even in the kookiest situations. --Liane Thomas

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