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How to Make Good Decisions and be Right All the Time: Solving the Riddle of Right and Wrong [Hardcover]

Iain King
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
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Book Description

16 Oct 2008
This is a concise, accessible and entertaining guide to being good - the ideal introduction to ethics."How to Make Good Decisions and Be Right All the Time" offers a compelling and jargon-free guide to ethical thinking for everyday life. Iain King presents an introduction to moral philosophy from the ancient Greeks to the Enlightenment and beyond. He argues that right and wrong need a Newtonian revolution so they are no longer a matter of judgment or guesswork, and presents a system of simple formulas for solving difficult moral quandaries. Clearly argued, the book combines new ideas with old and rips apart traditional tenets of morality, dismantling even the golden rule that you should 'do unto others as you would have done unto you'. In their place, the author constructs a new, comprehensive system of ethics, identifying the basic DNA of right and wrong and offering clear advice on how to be good in today's complicated and challenging world.In places controversial and thoroughly engaging throughout, "How to Make Good Decisions and Be Right All the Time" is required reading for anyone with a difficult decision to make.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Continuum International Publishing Group Ltd. (16 Oct 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847063470
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847063472
  • Product Dimensions: 3 x 12.8 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 467,518 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

Philosopher, adventurer, international conflict expert... Iain King CBE has written some fascinating books.

'How to Make Good Decisions and Be Right All the Time' is both an easy-to-understand introduction to moral philosophy and a radical new theory on ethics. Used in philosophy courses, it avoids jargon and explains complicated ideas in simple language. His theory has been widely acclaimed, and his book dubbed "destined to become a classic".

'Peace at Any Price' chronicles the Kosovo intervention, explaining what worked well, what didn't and why. The Economist praised it as "refreshing, serious and well-considered... excellent" while the Journal of Southern Europe described it as "one of the most perceptive accounts ever written on the practical difficulties associated with peace building in the aftermath of ethnic conflict."

Product Description


."..If your focus leaflets are starting to get soggy and you're frustrated with BBC political reporting, this book could be the perfect antidote for you - a reminder that there probably are deep moral truths out there and there is a reason to try to do what's right...This may well become a classic; it's certainly a good read, and definitely makes you think." - Liberal Democrat News

About the Author

Iain King, a former fellow of the University of Cambridge, UK, and author of the acclaimed Peace at Any Price (Cornell University Press, 2006), has faced many testing decisions working in Kosovo, Afghanistan and Africa.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Moral decision making made too simple 2 Jun 2009
Iain King is another contributor to the debate on virtues in human society. In his racily titled book `How to Make Good Decisions and be Right all the Time' King, a UK Cambridge philosopher and colleague of Simon Blackburn, develops a methodology for moral decision making based on a net help calculation that the value of the help to someone else is greater than the cost to the helper. He derives this from two core virtues of empathy and obligation which he claims drive all other virtues although he does not demonstrate this. Similarly King casually dismisses the argument advanced inter alia by Matt Ridley that altruism does not exist but itself has pragmatic drivers. This is surprising as, like Ridley, King appears to be searching for a humanist foundation for virtuous behaviour which does not rely on any divinely revealed code. He quotes heavily from John Rawls on justice but not from his critic Robert Nozick. For an erudite academic the argument is extremely cursory and the proposed methodology very simplistic. Can great moral dilemmas be so simply solved? Can objectivity be achieved in subjective valuations? And if so how come no one realised this before King did? Indeed, due to well known difficulties in moral decision making which he gradually rolls out, King develops from 9 rules in chapter 22 of his book to 14 rules in chapter 30 and finally to 20 rules in chapter 38, only to admit in the next chapter 39 that in reality we face huge uncertainty about the outcomes of any course of action, about the value of those outcomes, and about the interpersonal weighting of these valuations, which invariably calls for judgment and wisdom, which most of us knew all the time.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Morality 6 Jun 2009
The cumbersome title beliesthe book's straigtforward look at ethics.
It will appeal to those who search for the fair and just outcome in a tricky situation.
A morality guide for our own time
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4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining 5 Jun 2009
By Lucy B
I was drawn to this book by the title and found inside a clear and highly readable examination of complex yet everyday (and therefore accessible) moral issues. Making decisions is something we all do, each day, and this book gives you space to think about that process, using short punchy chapters to present a different moral dilemma (yes, even on sex, in case you're wondering) which then gets explored.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Impressive book on ethics and morality 28 Mar 2009
This is a fascinating book on ethics and morality in the modern world. It includes whithin it the greatest ideas about this subject from the ancient world philosphers up to nowdays thinkers. The outcome is a brilliant system how to make good decisions following certain Principles which maybe the majority of people are doing already using their intuition. This book explains how we are making right or wrong decisions and what we need to know to improve our skills. Although the subject is serious the book is easy to read and understand due to the brilliant language and style.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book that makes you think 28 Jan 2012
Having met Iain King in Kosovo, I expected a different book. Mr. King has been working in many hotspots in the world and I waited for stories based on his experience there. However it is good to be surprised. Mr. King writes a book that makes you think. After readIng I had to evaluate his arguments seriously and wonder if I could accept them or not.

Mr. king have had to take many difficult decisions in his work, and it is great to read a book where the author has had the chance to evaluate his work and set it up in a thoughtful book that appeals to everyone.
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