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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

3.72  ·  Rating Details ·  125 Ratings  ·  17 Reviews
From the New York Times bestselling author Derrick Bell, a profound meditation on achieving success with integrity.

As one of the country'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. Frequently asked how he managed to be so ex
Hardcover, 176 pages
Published October 25th 2002 by Bloomsbury USA (first published 2002)
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May 30, 2011 Adam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 18, 2011 Steffy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 11, 2011 Amanda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 29, 2008 Dean Jackson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
May 06, 2009 Shirley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Grace Kamau
Nov 30, 2015 Grace Kamau rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Must read

Enjoyed and savored every page. If you wish to live an ethical life or read stories of those who have it is my prayers that somehow I will incorporate courage in my life and work
James Cooper
All good, inspirational words.
Sep 06, 2014 Roxanne rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A remarkable man writes an unremarkable book.
Feb 20, 2016 ChampLeads rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great analogies, thought provoking for analyzing theories of today and yesterday's issues of how to lead without loosing oneself.
Lauren Tamraz
Jan 16, 2008 Lauren Tamraz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spring-2007
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.
Tracey Duncan
this is a person to be admired. if you're into that.
Jan 24, 2008 Matt rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Good book to reconcile life and ethics. Somewhat of a dry read.
Apr 19, 2011 Candice rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was totally underwhelmed.
Apr 17, 2007 Zeenat rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A must read for all professionals, particularly those going into the legal field.
Jen Chau
i loved this book -- found it inspiring and validating.
Benedict Reid
Yeah. Ethics are good. Do you have anything further you want to say?
Dave rated it it was amazing
Mar 11, 2011
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Sep 21, 2007
Esther rated it it was amazing
Nov 17, 2011
Chris Pierson
Chris Pierson rated it it was amazing
Apr 20, 2012
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May 17, 2011
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Sep 25, 2012
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Derrick Albert Bell Jr. was the first tenured African-American professor of law at Harvard Law School and is largely credited as one of the originators of critical race theory (CRT). He was a visiting professor at New York University School of Law from 1991 until his death. He was also a dean of the University of Oregon School of Law. [wikipedia]
More about Derrick A. Bell...

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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.” 78 likes
“Power in the hands of the reformer is no less potentially corrupting than in the hands of the oppressor.” 26 likes
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