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Ethical Ambition: Living a Life of Meaning and Worth
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Ethical Ambition: Living a Life of Meaning and Worth

3.6 of 5 stars 3.60  ·  rating details  ·  80 ratings  ·  13 reviews
Named as a Christian Science Monitor Best Book of 2002, Ethical Ambition is now available in paperback. As one of America's most influential law professors, Derrick Bell has spent a lifetime helping students struggling to maintain a sense of integrity in the face of an overwhelming pressure to succeed at any price. The result of a meditation on Bell's own achievements, Eth ...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published October 1st 2003 by Bloomsbury USA (first published 2002)
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May 30, 2011 Adam rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Social advocates, non-conformists, public servants, fighters of the good fight, most everyone
Recommended to Adam by: Jayper Saper
Shelves: memoirs, inspiration
My brother introduced me to Derrick Bell's writings long before I considered applying for law school. He handed me this book the first day I came home after being accepted to Professor Bell's current institution. Thanks Jayper. . .

Ethical Ambition is a meditation on the challenges, frustrations, inspirations and humiliations that one may face in choosing to fight the good fight. In recounting stories from his own life and those of others who have struggled against injustice, Bell demonstrates th
The messages in this book, though they may provide solace for many individuals and may provide them with much sought guidance, they do not apply to a younger audience. I found very little in this book relatable. The courage of the individuals mentioned in this book is to be applauded and emulated. However, the author describes moral dilemmas from a religious perspective, and so discusses only the way in which one should act armed already with the certainty of the ideal course of action. This mak ...more
Disclaimer: I may have read this book to quickly. It might be the kind of book that you need to read slowly and with intention. I was reading it on a deadline.

I liked the subject matter but I didn't love the delivery. I think that Derrick Bell is a genius...and I felt like this book made it clear that he also thinks he is a genius. Even if he's right, it still sort of rubbed.
Dean Jackson
Awesome! A really affirming book about answering to your own morals even if it's totally contrary to popular conventions. I like books that give a nod to the path I've chosen. Sometimes going against the norm is thankless if not downright hostile, so this book could be thought of as a great big hug from my grandpa.
Very timely, especially when talking about class politics and other structural obstacles in justice work. Prof. Bell is brilliant and even more rare, humble + inspiring + pragmatic in his advice . I'm glad to make time to read more of his writing.
Lauren Tamraz
I think I wanted to like this more than I actually did. He meant well, and offered good advice, but I remember being bored. A good read for educators.
A must read for all professionals, particularly those going into the legal field.
Benedict Reid
Yeah. Ethics are good. Do you have anything further you want to say?
Good book to reconcile life and ethics. Somewhat of a dry read.
Jen Chau
i loved this book -- found it inspiring and validating.
Tracey Duncan
this is a person to be admired. if you're into that.
Inspiring read on ethical living.
I was totally underwhelmed.
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Derrick A. Bell Jr. is a Professor of Law at New York University School of Law and a legal scholar and activist in critical race theory.
More about Derrick A. Bell...
Faces At The Bottom Of The Well: The Permanence Of Racism And We Are Not Saved: The Elusive Quest For Racial Justice Silent Covenants: Brown V. Board of Education and the Unfulfilled Hopes for Racial Reform Confronting Authority: Reflections of an Ardent Protester Gospel Choirs: Psalms Of Survival In An Alien Land Called Home

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“We live in a system that espouses merit, equality, and a level playing field, but exalts those with wealth, power, and celebrity, however gained.” 63 likes
“Power in the hands of the reformer is no less potentially corrupting than in the hands of the oppressor.” 18 likes
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