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on August 15, 2002
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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on October 11, 2000
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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on July 8, 2015
Very interesting read! Bought this for a criminal justice class as suggested reading and actually got a lot of good information out of it. The author has a very laid back style and makes sure you understand his meanings with real life examples that just about any person can understand.
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on January 2, 1998
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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on September 28, 2006
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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on August 27, 2012
A enjoyable read (albeit rather technical at times) that helps shed light on a well publicized - but poorly understood - virtue.
Highly recommended.

On a side note: Carter mentions writing three books on transcendent public virtues. Integrity & Civility - but what is the third?
Likewise, where does one go from here? Amazon's list of "people also purchased..." is terrible for this book.
Suggestions?
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on March 15, 2016
Should be on every one's reading list. It is not about honesty. One can be completely honest and dead wrong. Carter insists that "Discernment is the hard work of integrity." And a person of integrity acts on what he or she believes to be right. In this presidential year, a topic for study.
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on October 3, 2000
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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on October 7, 2012
I had to read this for class, but it turns out to be a really good book. I like his examples of how integrity is defined in his scenarios, and what is NOT integrity. Basically, the book defines the word integrity.

Verdict: Recommended buy.
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on April 4, 1999
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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