Values & Ethics: From Living Room to Boardroom
by Jason A. Merchey
Palmetto Publishing Group

"In the long run, the truth is always the most healing, empowering thing."

As the internet began growing into what it is today—a one-stop cultural smorgasbord where anything and everything can be found—the author of this book was running an online talk radio show featuring some of the world’s most preeminent living thinkers tackling large subjects in the pursuit of valuable wisdom. The internet has changed a lot since then, but the value in these interviews and discussions is still the same and now captured in written form for people to easily reference and draw needed inspiration. There are twenty chapters in all, each a transcribed episode of the radio show where expert guests are asked about the topics of their expertise. Subjects range from capitalism to doubt, political morality to raising children with strong characters and values.

Instead of being merely transcriptions of interviews, the book includes hundreds of valuable quotes from historical thinkers, published experts, and even prominent cultural icons like singers and actors. These quotes are used to strengthen the statements of the interviews, add additional wisdom to the conversation, or provide a different perspective on the discussion at hand. Combined with the interviews themselves and footnotes provided by the author to clarify statements or just inject some humor, the end product is an entertaining series of talks about important parts of life that education has failed to prioritize in recent years. The pursuit of wisdom may seem like a nebulous if not obvious thing to chase, but for those who believe it to be a worthy pursuit, these interviews are a fantastic place to start or continue that journey.

The transition from talk radio to transcribed interviews has served these conversations well. The opportunity for the author to combine the history of these thoughtful discussions with well-placed and nuanced quotations after the fact makes for a perfect blending of classic and modern wisdom that refreshes the old while introducing the reader to the new. In its span of the twenty diverse interviews, the book is rather broad in its discussion of different aspects of wisdom and ethics. However, the conversational nature of the interview format makes reading it very enjoyable and digestible. Naturally, it feels more like listening to a radio program rather than reading a textbook. This style of presentation makes dense topics easy to broach and familiar topics fun to revisit.

One of the best things about this book is the selfless way it carries itself. Even though the author is present in the footnotes, as the host of the transcribed interviewers, and as the compiler of the book, the bulk of the credit is given to the interviewees and minds responsible for every quote contained in each chapter. Even during the interviews themselves, the author/host frequently uses a quote from an influential thinker when appropriate, demonstrating a dedicated love for studying and collecting pearls of wisdom from all corners of the earth. The end result is the perfect diving board for anybody looking to do additional reading on any of the topics discussed in this book. From the interview guests themselves and their work to the classic quotes of ancient Greeks and influential modern philosophers, it’s a phenomenal book to tab through or highlight while making a list for further research. A book like this is frequently interesting and insightful to read but rarely this accessible or entertaining, and the author’s passion for the pursuit of wisdom is infectious. It’s an ideal addition to the collection of anyone with a passion for deep thought and a belief that the world can be made better with intelligent, compassionate decision-making.

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