Top positive review
26 people found this helpful
Great beginning discussion
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.