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The Good, the Bad & the Difference: How to Tell the Right From Wrong in Everyday Situations
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The Good, the Bad & the Difference: How to Tell the Right From Wrong in Everyday Situations

3.37 of 5 stars 3.37  ·  rating details  ·  126 ratings  ·  18 reviews
The man behind the New York Times Magazine’s immensely popular column “The Ethicist”–syndicated in newspapers across the United States and Canada as “Everyday Ethics”–casts an eye on today’s manners and mores with a provocative, thematic collection of advice on how to be good in the real world.

Every week in his column on ethics, Randy Cohen takes on conundrums presented in...more
ebook, 256 pages
Published April 23rd 2002 by Harmony (first published January 1st 2002)
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Kirsti
A philosopher and former writer for Late Night with David Letterman writes an ethics column for the New York Times. These are his greatest hits. My favorite observation: "The larger the public relations staff, the more suspicious the enterprise."
Reid
If you are interested in the topic of ethics and ethical quandaries, this is a wonderful book. This happens to be a passion of mine, and I couldn't get enough of it. Randy Cohen is a very unassuming and humorous writer, with a wry take on these sometimes serious subjects. He can also take criticism better than most of us probably could and as you can guess, this comes in handy in his line of work. If ethics fascinate you, this is the book for you. If not, you probably will get bored in some part...more
Ben Siems
This book essentially consists of highlights from Randy Cohen's New York Times Magazine column, "The Ethicist," with additional commentary by Cohen.

First and foremost, strange though it may be to say of a book on ethics, The Good, The Bad, and The Difference is a very entertaining read. That is the case mostly because Cohen is extremely witty and doesn't mind sacrificing a bit of deep ethical analysis for the sake of spinning off a sarcastic joke. It is also partly a result of the fact that some...more
Brendan
I enjoyed Randy Cohen's Ethicist podcast immensely, so I was very happy to run across this book of compiled Ethicist columns (published in 2002). He writes a little introduction to each section, then profiles a number of columns from each category. There's a section where he responds to replies, and a short section where he admits that his thinking has changed. It's enjoyable, especially if you like his style of humor and writing. And the ethical questions at the heart of the book are nice puzzl...more
Kaitlin
This was entertaining at first but quickly grew boring. This should be viewed as a quirky read, to be read in snippets or given as a gift to the right individual (if you don't know who that is, don't get it for them). This is not something you're meant to sit down with on Saturday and pore over until Sunday morning.

There were some interesting situations, but like I said, I grew bored with the premise quickly. The topics here would make for a spirited debate, but as it stands, you're just reading...more
Jason
I like Randy Cohen. I genuinely admire his bravery in tackling weekly a field that most wouldn't touch with a ten-foot pole. Dispensing ethical advice to strangers in a public forum? Talk about teeing yourself up for criticism. I enjoy his column in the Sunday NY Times and have actually found that I agree with his take more often than not. I enjoyed this book as a collection of some of those articles. But, man....good luck with the critics. Talk about something doomed from the get-go.
Monty
Oct 31, 2007 Monty rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: bathroom readers
I read the author's column every week in The Seattle Times and really enjoy his humor as well as his way of looking at ethical dilemmas. I like his book as well, though after awhile I get saturated with one ethical question after another. If you want to read the book, get the paperback (I have the hardback) because it's supposed to include questions from the hardback that readers responded to. I haven't finished the book and may not because of my saturation level and its library due date.
Sabrina
He writes exceptionally well, but the advice dispensed to readers in moral quandaries are usually.. well, idiotic. If I were called upon to counsel others, I would use an antipodal approach. However, this stems from his obligation to please the greatest number of people as possible as \"the Ethicist.\"

Dave Eggers's advice in the book was similarly -- if not exaggeratedly more -- unhelpful. Discursive and facetious, nothing that will inform ethical questions.
Scott
The Ethicist is the first column I read each week in the NYT Magazine, so I was glad to come across this "compilation of situations" by Randy Cohen. Those familiar with his work in the NYTM will be very comfortable with the style of this book. I enjoyed the read, but I would have appreciated a bit more biographical information about Randy and how he rose to his current position.
Sarah
Set of columns from The NYT Magazine's Ethicist Randy Cohen. Not awesome, not horrible. Every once in a while it surprised me with something really thought-provoking. The cheesy jokes were a bit overdone. In all probability, if my personal ethics lined up more with Cohen's, I would have found this to be a fabulous book.
Melissa
A collection of advice from the author's NYT column, it makes for a thought-provoking read on ethics in everyday life. I enjoyed the story-problem approach and the fact the author invites guest columnists to debate particularly sticky situations.
Joanna
Read this on a road trip, and it is a good vacation read. Quick and often funny, it's a collection of letters to 'the ethicist' newspaper column. It's interesting to see what kinds of moral questions concern people enough to write in for opinions.
Chris
If you enjoy "The Ethicist" in the Sunday Times Magazine (and what well read, over-educated, middle-class liberal New Yorker DOESN'T), what's not to love? Cohen is, as always funny, caustic, and (usually) right.
Alicia Shafer
I love his column in the newspaper and really enjoyed reading this collection. He added enough new ideas and commentary that there is something new even for those people who have read all his stuff before.
Wayne
I picked this up to hone my sense of ethics. Highly recommended for anyone concerned whether they really know what the right thing to do is in any given situation.
Cindy
Apr 30, 2009 Cindy marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Ethics are always interesting
Quinn
Oct 24, 2007 Quinn rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Isn't his column in the NY Times fun?
Mary
very interesting
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