Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Good, the Bad & the Difference: How to Tell the Right From Wrong in Everyday Situations” as Want to Read:
The Good, the Bad & the Difference: How to Tell the Right From Wrong in Everyday Situations
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

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

3.39  ·  Rating Details  ·  143 Ratings  ·  20 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
ebook, 256 pages
Published April 23rd 2002 by Harmony (first published January 1st 2002)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Good, the Bad & the Difference, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Good, the Bad & the Difference

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 242)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Mar 27, 2011 Kirsti rated it really liked it
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."
Jan 27, 2010 Reid rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
May 12, 2012 Kaitlin rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 31, 2015 Steph rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I loved the book when I read it, but later found out that Randy had some really bad advice surrounding transgender issues that would potentially endanger the lives of trans people, so I had re-think some of what I thought about his advice overall.
Margaret Sankey
Another collection of Cohen's Ethicist columns, dealing with the moral questions of everyday life--from turnstile jumping to found wallets, with snarky commentary and some satisfying afterwards revealing the outcome of the situation from the original question posers.
Jason , etc.
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.
Oct 31, 2007 Monty rated it liked it  ·  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.
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.
Jun 29, 2008 Scott rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
May 26, 2010 Sarah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: selfhelp_advice
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.
Apr 01, 2010 Melissa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jul 16, 2009 Joanna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Apr 05, 2007 Chris rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 05, 2008 Alicia Shafer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Apr 01, 2008 Wayne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Apr 30, 2009 Cindy marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Ethics are always interesting
Oct 24, 2007 Quinn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Isn't his column in the NY Times fun?
Oct 27, 2008 Mary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
very interesting
Andrew Duncan
Andrew Duncan marked it as to-read
Jan 06, 2016
Linda Leone
Linda Leone rated it really liked it
Dec 29, 2015
Ellen rated it really liked it
Dec 14, 2015
T.S. Garp
T.S. Garp rated it liked it
Dec 08, 2015
Jason Danahy
Jason Danahy rated it liked it
Nov 22, 2015
Grame marked it as to-read
Jan 13, 2016
Kay is currently reading it
Oct 24, 2015
Jill marked it as to-read
Aug 19, 2015
Roger Froom
Roger Froom rated it did not like it
Jul 29, 2015
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • What Color Is Your Parachute? 2009: A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers
  • How to Become a Scandal: Adventures in Bad Behavior
  • Us: Americans Talk About Love
  • The Party after You Left
  • Enough: Staying Human in an Engineered Age
  • Best Friends, Worst Enemies: Understanding the Social Lives of Children
  • A Small Treatise on the Great Virtues: The Uses of Philosophy in Everyday Life
  • The Amazing Mackerel Pudding Plan: Classic Diet Recipe Cards from the 1970s
  • Global Model Village
  • The Best American Crime Reporting 2008
  • Celebration, U.S.A.: Living in Disney's Brave New Town
  • Bookcraft: Techniques for Binding, Folding, and Decorating to Create Books and More
  • The Eagle's Shadow: Why America Fascinates and Infuriates the World
  • Pirate
  • I.O.U.: Why Everyone Owes Everyone and No One Can Pay
  • The Wild Girls Club: Tales from Below the Belt
  • Paradoxes
  • Black and White: The Way I See It

Share This Book