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Integrity Paperback – December 19, 1996


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; English Language edition (December 19, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060928077
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060928070
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #243,886 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

When we talk about character, writes Yale law professor Carter (The Culture of Disbelief), integrity "is in some sense prior to everything else"; thus his mix of anecdote and meditation is a worthy but quirky entree to an important yet hard-to-discuss subject. Integrity, he writes, is more than honesty?it requires actions and a willingness to spurn conformity. After his conceptual musings, Carter addresses the role of integrity in performance evaluations (he avoids routine hyperbole), in journalistic objectivity (he thinks the press should apply to itself the standards it applies to others), in law and in sports. Carter virtually ignores the broad question of integrity in business, but he does have interesting, if sometimes convoluted, thoughts on the role of integrity in marriage. He advises caution in legislating integrity in speech or in politics; his arguments spill over, somewhat overambitiously, into suggesting how integrity can help clean up politics ("We must listen to one another") and how the concept can help people face larger questions of evil. $50,000 ad/promo; author tour.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Integrity is defined in one standard dictionary as a "steadfast adherence to a strict moral or ethical code." Carter (law, Yale) writes of integrity as first among the virtues that define good character. He defines integrity operationally as consisting of three traits: knowing the difference between what is right and wrong; acting on the knowledge of that difference; and an open and public commitment to acting on that difference. Carter writes of everyday experiences, of events in his own life, and of major public events, in which displays of integrity may or may not be apparent. These lead to discussions of the possibility of requiring that people always act with integrity and to the place of traditional visions of Christian integrity in public discourse. None of this seems particularly novel or too controversial. It also seems that much of this has been treated, perhaps in other forms, in Carter's earlier books, most notably in The Culture of Disbelief (LJ 9/1/93) and The Confirmation Mess (LJ 5/1/94). The message still seems to be that American society needs some form of radical reshaping. While his book doesn't really rise to the level of dramatic insight, Carter remains influential. Recommended for public libraries.
Jerry E. Stephens, U.S. Court of Appeals Lib., Oklahoma City
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Carter is a master of framing and providing a context for complex issues like integrity.
Jay
I had to get this book for school and it was much cheaper than in our bookstore and it also came in mint-condition.
rinniferd
An introspective and thought-provoking book that was well worth the effort it took to read and absorb.
Matthew Dodd

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Dodd on August 15, 2002
Format: Paperback
If you have ever thought about integrity (who has not?) and are looking for a comprehensive study or analysis on what this often-used and often-misunderstood character trait means traditionally and in today's society, then this book is a great place to start.
Carter defines integrity with three required steps. Step 1 is the act of discerning what is right and what is wrong; your personal views are well thought out in advance. Step 2 is acting on what you have discerned, even at personal cost. He cautions that doing what is right will often be painful. Step 3 is saying openly that you are acting on your understanding of right from wrong. Carter repeatedly makes the point that the test of integrity comes only when doing the right entails a significant cost.
Carter analyzes actual and hypothetical examples using his three-step definition. His examples include journalists, marriage vows, political candidates, competitive sportsmanship, and college professors' letters of reference, and more.
Carter's scholarly and lawyerly-logic efforts were certainly not light-reading, but he did well in making a potentially dry subject interesting and informative. While his frequent and almost excessive direct references to his Catholic beliefs and his admiration of the American Civil Rights movement led by Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. might make some readers uncomfortable, I thought they were effective and appropriate to his discussions. Towards the end of the book, Carter even proposes a set of eight principles for bringing true integrity to our politics and democracy that will certainly generate both positive and negative critiques.
Overall, I admire Carter's courage in tackling such a difficult subject (everybody thinks they know what it is, but very few seem to agree on it) and being the first to put it out front for all to see. An introspective and thought-provoking book that was well worth the effort it took to read and absorb.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Craig K McConnell on October 11, 2000
Format: Paperback
It is about time that someone has had the courage to stand up and say what he believes about integrity in the world today. Stephen Carter does a good job of posing questions that provoke thought upon a subject that is generally avoided because people like to fool themselves into thinking that they are living a life of integrity. Carter points out how often, in everyday situations, people show that they have not sat down and contemplated their actions before they do something that could make them look bad later. He shows have many people "shoot first and ask questions later" rather than thinking about what is important enough to stand behind and what isn't. A word of warning though, don't read this book unless you are prepared to look at your own life of "integrity."
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 25, 2000
Format: Paperback
It was after reading the authors Culture of Disbelief that made me want to read INTEGRITY. For weeks I had been searching for a book that would best sum up my belief that there are to many hypocrites. People who say one thing but act the opposite. I knew there was a word or theory that would best describe how I felt and then I saw this book and it was like a lightbulb going on. INTEGRITY. It is all about having the gutts to be the person you project yourself to be. Prof Carter has this gift for opening your eyes and you find yourself going "That's Right!" "Yes that's true" "Oh my god that's right" or simply "YES!" Then I got to page 31 and he mentions Commitment. Then begins to describe how we as Americans want reliability, and how we each admire the rare soul who has the integrity to do what is right while all the naysayers mock. How we love it when someone keeps a promise. He then discusses being Forthright, Steadfastness. This is a must read in this election year. A great book for reminding that ethical little person inside all of us that sometimes all it takes to renew anothers faith in humanity is for one man or woman to walk their talk.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Nick on January 2, 1998
Format: Paperback
In line with his previous book, Carter writes Integrity as a "knowledge pot", mixed in with thought provoking concepts, examples and idealogy. Integrity, he depicts, is not an integral moment, but rather an integral life than spans from a personal decision (running a red light), a joint decision (marriage)to a public decision (politics). Carter's carefully selected focus on integrity will enlighten one's perspective on life as a decision; discerning, acting, and public display. I am patiently waiting for Civility, his next writing.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jay on September 28, 2006
Format: Paperback
Carter is a master of framing and providing a context for complex issues like integrity. This is NOT a preachy book with platitudes about the need for integrity. It IS about defining integrity, the situations where it will be tested, and ways to think about integrity as you make your own decisions. In the end, it is a powerfully enabling book that I have referred to and recommended to friends and colleagues repeatedly for many years.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 3, 2000
Format: Paperback
I read this book shortly before the 1996 elections. I studied political science and considered myself a typical American- a strategic voter. I may not like the candidate but if his or her views were similar to mine, I'd vote for him/her. Prof. Carter's entirely changed how I vote and how important I view personal integity in every aspect of life.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By stlev@sgi.net on April 4, 1999
Format: Paperback
While some might fault Mr. Carter for missing some of the deeper philosophical ambiguities of the integrity and ethics questions, at the same time, he also misses a large segment of elitist abstract and obstruse arguments that make no impression on the normal people who are the American democracy. Mr. Carter does the nation a great service by stating the obvious (which if it was really obvious, wouldn't need stating in book length) in language that is sufficient but not difficult and using examples, that, while some might decry the close historical distance, are examples of things that are still close enough to be common knowledge, and thus, readily understandable without long explanation.
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