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Justice: What's The Right Thing To Do? Paperback – August 1, 2010

4.6 out of 5 stars 2,412 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“[Sandel] The most famous teacher of philosophy in the world [has] shown that it is possible to take philosophy into the public square without insulting the public's intelligence.” ―Michael Ignatieff, The New Republic

“Michael Sandel. . . is currently the most effective communicator of ideas in English.” ―The Guardian

“This book is absolutely indispensable for anyone who wants to be a good citizen. It shows how to balance competing values, a talent our nation desperately needs nowadays.” ―Walter Isaacson, author of Benjamin Franklin: An American Life

“More than exhilarating; exciting in its ability to persuade this student/reader, time and again, that the principle now being invoked--on this page, in this chapter--is the one to deliver the sufficiently inclusive guide to the making of a decent life.” ―Vivian Gornick, Boston Review

“Sandel explains theories of justice . . . with clarity and immediacy; the ideas of Aristotle, Jeremy Bentham, Immanuel Kant, John Stuart Mill, Robert Nozick and John Rawls have rarely, if ever, been set out as accessibly . . . In terms we can all understand, Justice confronts us with the concepts that lurk, so often unacknowledged, beneath our conflicts.” ―Jonathan Rauch, The New York Times

“Sandel dazzles in this sweeping survey of hot topics . . . Erudite, conversational and deeply humane, this is truly transformative reading.” ―Publishers Weekly, starred review

“A spellbinding philosopher . . . For Michael Sandel, justice is not a spectator sport . . . He is calling for nothing less than a reinvigoration of citizenship.” ―Samuel Moyn, The Nation

“Michael Sandel, perhaps the most prominent college professor in America, . . . practices the best kind of academic populism, managing to simplify John Stuart Mill and John Rawls without being simplistic. But Sandel is best at what he calls bringing ‘moral clarity to the alternatives we confront as democratic citizens' . . . He ends up clarifying a basic political divide--not between left and right, but between those who recognize nothing greater than individual rights and choices, and those who affirm a ‘politics of the common good,' rooted in moral beliefs that can't be ignored.” ―Michael Gerson, Washington Post

“Justice, the new volume from superstar Harvard political philosopher Michael Sandel, showcases the thinking on public morality that has made him one of the most sought-after lecturers in the world.” ―Richard Reeves, Democracy

“Hard cases may make bad laws, but in Michael Sandel's hands they produce some cool philosophy . . . Justice is a timely plea for us to desist from political bickering and see if we can have a sensible discussion about what sort of society we really want to live in.” ―Jonathan Ree, The Observer (London)

“Every once in a while, a book comes along of such grace, power, and wit that it enthralls us with a yearning to know what justice is. This is such a book.” ―Jeffrey Abramson, Texas Law Review

“Using a compelling, entertaining mix of hypotheticals, news stories, episodes from history, pop-culture tidbits, literary examples, legal cases and teachings from the great philosophers--principally, Aristotle, Kant, Bentham, Mill and Rawls--Sandel takes on a variety of controversial issues--abortion, same-sex marriage, affirmative action--and forces us to confront our own assumptions, biases and lazy thought. Sparkling commentary from the professor we all wish we had.” ―Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“Michael Sandel is . . . one of the world's most interesting political philosophers. Politicians and commentators tend to ask two questions of policy: will it make voters better off, and will it affect their liberty? Sandel rightly points out the shallowness of that debate and adds a third criterion: how will it affect the common good?” ―Guardian

“Michael Sandel transforms moral philosophy by putting it at the heart of civic debate . . . Sandel's insistence on the inescapably ethical character of political debate is enormously refreshing.” ―Edward Skidelsky, New Statesman

“A remarkable educational achievement . . . Generations of students and educated citizens will be very well served by Sandel's introductory overviews.” ―Amitai Etzioni, Hedgehog Review

“Reading Justice by Michael Sandel is an intoxicating invitation to take apart and examine how we arrive at our notions of right and wrong . . . This is enlivening stuff. Sandel is not looking to win an argument; he's looking at how a citizen might best engage the public realm.” ―Karen R. Long, Cleveland Plain Dealer

“A road map for negotiating modern moral dilemmas . . . For those seeking a short course through moral philosophy from a witty writer, fast on his feet, and nimble with his pen, this thin volume is difficult to beat.” ―Kevin J. Hamilton, Seattle Times

“Michael Sandel, political philosopher and public intellectual, is a liberal, but not the annoying sort. His aim is not to boss people around but to bring them around to the pleasures of thinking clearly about large questions of social policy. Reading this lucid book is like taking his famous undergraduate course ‘Justice' without the tiresome parts, such as term papers and exams.” ―George F. Will, syndicated columnist

Justice is Sandel at his finest: no matter what your views are, his delightful style will draw you in, and he'll then force you to rethink your assumptions and challenge you to question accepted ways of thinking. He calls us to a better way of doing politics, and a more enriching way of living our lives.” ―E. J. Dionne, syndicated columnist

“There have been various attempts over the decades to bury moral philosophy -- to dismiss convictions about right and wrong as cultural prejudices, or secretions of the brain, or matters so personal they shouldn't even affect our private lives. But moral questions always return, as puzzles and as tragedies.” ―Michael Gerson, The Wall Street Journal

About the Author

Michael J. Sandel teaches political philosophy at Harvard University. His books What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets and Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do? were international best sellers and have been translated into 27 languages. Sandel’s legendary course “Justice” was the first Harvard course to be made freely available online and has been viewed by tens of millions. His BBC series “The Public Philosopher” explores the philosophical ideas lying behind the headlines with participants from around the world.

Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 1st edition (August 1, 2010)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 320 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0374532508
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0374532505
  • Lexile measure ‏ : ‎ 1210L
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 10.4 ounces
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.6 out of 5 stars 2,412 ratings

Customer reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5
2,412 global ratings
How are ratings calculated?

Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States on April 22, 2020
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Reviewed in the United States on May 12, 2018
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Reviewed in the United States on February 13, 2018
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Reviewed in the United States on August 10, 2014
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Reviewed in the United States on March 12, 2019
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Reviewed in the United States on April 3, 2016
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Top reviews from other countries

Robert ‘Bob’ Macespera
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 16, 2020
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4 people found this helpful
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angrypierre
4.0 out of 5 stars Enlightening but perhaps not engaging
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 1, 2021
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WeAreWhatWeRead
5.0 out of 5 stars Universal appeal
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 1, 2015
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6 people found this helpful
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Cols
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book, but i may need to read again to fully understand it all
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 21, 2021
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BeMo
5.0 out of 5 stars Changes how I view moral dilemmas
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 7, 2013
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5 people found this helpful
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