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The Myth of Choice: Personal Responsibility in a World of Limits Paperback – 19 Jun 2012

4.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Biteback Publishing (19 Jun. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849543070
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849543071
  • Product Dimensions: 13.8 x 2 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,474,124 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


The Myth of Choice isn t just tightly argued, it s an enjoyable read as well...Comprehensive and readable enough to satisfy both newcomers and veterans of this debate. --Boston Globe

About the Author

Kent Greenfield is professor of law and law fund research scholar, Boston College. He has lectured at the London School of Economics as well as at leading universities in Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin, Santiago, Montreal, and Vancouver.

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By Hande Z TOP 500 REVIEWER on 13 Nov. 2012
Format: Paperback
Greenfield tells us that his book is about our fixation with choice. He goes on to dismantle the common assumptions that we live in a world where choices are available and that we have the ability to make choices freely. In the course of which he explains the meaning and consequences of responsibility, both personal and collective. His illustration of riding a motorcycle without wearing a crash helmet and meeting an accident illustrates the confluence and confusion between the two types of responsibility, and the role that choice plays in it. Choosing to ride without a helmet is a personal decision, but that may not be a case involving only personal responsibility and choice. Injury and damage arising from an accident involves insurance and public money. Many of our actions impose a cost on others. Being a lawyer, Greenfield examines the types of choices judges make and what assumptions lay beneath those choices. He criticizes judges who look upon their role as "umpires" when, he argues, that is not the case. He discusses the issue choice in debates about gay rights. Why, he asks, should the right to choose not be protected in this instance when the right to choose one's religion is? He shows that conservatives and liberals have a lot more in common than they think when they talk about personal responsibility. If we do something because it is in our nature to do, should we be personally responsible? Conversely, if we do something because we had been affected by external influences, are we personally responsible?

Greenfield discusses the impact of external factors that influence the choices we make, and, further, in discussing the way our brain works, he questions how it is that we become susceptible to such influence.
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Format: Paperback
The first point to make is that this is by Law Professor. The second is that he is an American.

These points are relevant because the potentail UK reader should be ready for a lot of discussion of American legal cases, baseball umpires' decisons, and US political appointments.

Ultimately the book comes to no particuarly striking points. The writer urges us to be aware of our cultural bias in making decisions. Fair enough, but there's a lot to wade through to get there.

The front cover quotes from a review in the Boston Globe that it is "tightly argued". Is that a good enough reason to read it?
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