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The Character Gap: How Good Are We?

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3.43  ·  Rating details ·  63 ratings  ·  11 reviews
We like to think of ourselves, our friends, and our families as decent people. We may not be saints, but we are still honest, relatively kind, and mostly trustworthy. Miller argues here that we are badly mistaken in thinking this. Hundreds of recent studies in psychology tell a different story: that we all have serious character flaws that prevent us from being as good as ...more
Hardcover, 296 pages
Published December 1st 2017 by Oxford University Press, USA
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Average rating 3.43  · 
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 ·  63 ratings  ·  11 reviews


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Tim
I'm going to start this review with a generalized statement that perhaps many can agree is the case: upon reflection you can see that there is a disparity between the person you are and the person you know or feel you could be. It is this disparity to which the gap in the title of this book is referring. Character also includes many value neutral components (curiosity, introversion, talkativeness) but the specific focus of this book is moral character.

The book is divided into three sections. The
...more
Nikki
Mar 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
We suck. Anyone who doesn't yet know this should read this book. No, I'm not being pessimistic--the data backs me up!
George P.
Mar 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
The cover of Christian B. Miller’s book, The Character Gap, has a picture of Gandhi at the top and Hitler at the bottom with a graded spectrum between them. The picture is fitting, for one of Miller’s central theses is that most people are neither as bad as we could be nor as good as we should be. We are, instead, a muddle. The question that arises, then, is how we can become better than we are.

Miller is A. C. Reid Professor of Philosophy at Wake Forest University and Director of the Character
...more
Kristen
Feb 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
For me, this book was an interesting way to take a step back and try to be more mindful both of how I act and how I think about the virtue (or lack thereof) of my own actions and those of others. The world these days can often seem like a writhing mass of shouts screams that are merely reacting to each other, so it feels like a restful exercise to pause and consider the motivations of common behaviors, good and bad, and account for our own lapses of compassion, honesty, etc.

Miller walks the
...more
Greg Soden
Jun 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this exploration of how good we think we are vs how good we actually are. We all have work to do.
Edward Allen
Jun 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
A good book with a great message. Very simple read but also very thought provoking. Recommend to anyone in a leadership position.
Raymond Chan
Nov 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ethics
An easy read. It serves as a reminder to everyone that we are not that good and not that bad. We can always improve our virtue by knowing thyself. Knowing the intention of your action. Outcome of an action doesn't determine our virtue, but intention.
Giorgio
Aug 07, 2019 rated it liked it
It is a good book. Lots of studies about "character" are in this book but... (always a but)
... at least, to me, there is nothing new:

- There are people with "moral fiber"/Character by default;
- There are people without it, by default;
- Most of us are simply "normal", acting in a good or bad manner depending of the moment;
- We, as beings, tend to "obey" authorities;
- We are inclined to follow the rules and the crowd... unless we can do it otherwise, get some profit, and not been caught;
- It is
...more
Mark
Dec 17, 2018 rated it liked it
Backed up his opinion with psychological studies. Though the interpretation of the studies is suspect at times. He gives some normative advice backed with rare psychological studies. The best aspect of this book is your change in viewing others' moral failures and successes. No longer do you need to label someone as saint or sinner, we are all a mixed bag that hope to grow towards a saint.

This book really could have been 10 pages with footnotes added for the studies.
Barbie Ferrari
Jun 28, 2019 rated it liked it
It's a slog. I can't. It's too not... something. Maybe just the voice reading the audio book.
Lots of data, though. Maybe some other time. Thanks, Public Library !!
Robert Williams
Feb 22, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: on-hold
Thus far I have found this book a little disappointing, rather light on its analysis of what constitutes the good and why (at least as far as I have gotten with it).
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