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Becoming a Mensch: Timeless Talmudic Ethics for Everyone Paperback – November 4, 2010

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 150 pages
  • Publisher: Hamilton Books (November 4, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0761852964
  • ISBN-13: 978-0761852964
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.4 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #754,859 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


…Wonderfully uplifting and practical guide to the cultivation of universal virtues such as kindness, generosity, and self-discipline…[Pies] adapts the ancient wisdom of the Talmudic rabbis [and]…shows himself a master teacher in interpreting the written and lived lessons of the great spiritual and ethical figures of the Jewish tradition in meaningful ways for readers of any or no religious background or commitment. (Cynthia M. A. Geppert, M.D., Ph.D., MPH, chief of consultation psychiatry and ethics, New Mexico Veterans Affairs Health Care System, Albuquerque, associate professor of)

…Pies is a brilliant scholar, a splendid writer, and a deeply thoughtful man. In Becoming a Mensch, he evinces thoughtfulness in two senses of the word: remarkable intellectual depth and sincere concern about the needs and rights of others. By creating modern-day vignettes that illustrate a wide variety of ethical issues, and by drawing on scores of Talmudic and rabbinical sources, Dr. Pies teaches readers of all faiths (and of no faith) what it takes to be not merely a human being, but a humane being. (Robert H. Deluty, Ph.D., associate dean of the Graduate School, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, author, Hearing the Grass Grow and Unfolding)

About the Author

Ronald Pies, M.D. is a professor of psychiatry and lecturer on bioethics and humanities at SUNY Upstate Medical University and professor of psychiatry at Tufts University School of Medicine. Pies is author of Everything Has Two Handles: The Stoic's Guide to the Art of Living (Hamilton Books), The Ethics of the Sages (Rowman & Littlefield), several psychiatry textbooks, a collection of short stories, Zimmerman's Tefillin, and a collection of poems, Creeping Thyme. He lives outside Boston and pursues independent studies in Judaic ethics.

More About the Author

Ronald Pies MD is a physician, poet, and writer living in the Boston area. He has academic appointments at Tufts University and Upstate Medical University, and is the author of several psychiatric textbooks. Dr. Pies is also the author of "Creeping Thyme" (a collection of poems); "Zimmerman's Tefillin" (a short story collection) and "Everything Has Two Handles: The Stoic's Guide to the Art of Living." Dr. Pies's novella, "Ben Maimon's Mind", is available on as a Kindle book.

Recent books include "Becoming a Mensch: Timeless Talmudic Ethics for Everyone" (Hamilton Books); "The Judaic Foundations of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy" (iUniverse); "Ziprin's Ghost" (short story chapbook available only at Harvard Book Store in-house publishing; and "The Heart Broken Open" (poetry chapbook available via the Harvard Book Store/Paige Gutenborg).

Dr. Pies's most recent books are "The Three-Petalled Rose", a study of the links between Judaism, Buddhism, and Stoicism; his new novel, "The Director of Minor Tragedies" (iUniverse); and a new collection of essays on psychiatry, "Psychiatry on the Edge" (Nova).

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey S. Barkin Md on November 14, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Dr. Pies is a well known author and psychiatrist. His books are scholarly but always accessible and enjoyable with a wonderful writing "voice."

In this volume, Dr. Pies systematically goes through what makes for a Mensch, or good person. You do not have to be Jewish (or any religion for that matter) to learn much from this volume. What sets this book apart is that the lessons learned are readily applicable in all of our real life situations, particularly dealing with others in this complex world. Dr. Pies takes us on a journey of everyday, practical ethics using original source material from such great thinkers as Maimonides and Hillel.

This volume is a gem to read - though scholarly, it is both accessible and downright fun. In fact, my only critiscm is that it is so enjoyable as to be hard to even put it down for a minute.

Dr. Pies is to be commended for bringing us such insight, scholarship, and thoughtfulness! A MUST READ!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By ZSM on March 3, 2011
Format: Paperback
This book is a gem in a world where real values are often forgotten...It is a wonderful guidance for everyone - I wish every student would read it before graduation from high school - it would be a better world.
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