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Posted May 14, 2011
Fun, non-technical journalistic style, poignant, deals directly with the questions but no slam dunk answer to the meaning of life.
I enjoyed Eric Felten's venture into virtue. Ultimately, the book is an encouragement to hang in there in spite of daily accounts of betrayal and difficulty in even defining what loyalty is and how to do it. He makes a solid case in a journalistic/editorialistic style (as opposed to a logical philosophical style) that we should not lose heart in pursueing and being loyal. Loyalty, a trustworthiness, is fundamental to successful healthful human interaction. The instances of success of loyalty is not news; so much not news that we miss when it occurs. After a lengthy discourse on the difficulties loyalty presents (which are really the problems of ethics) and carefully noting the problems of conflicting loyalties, he arrives at a personal conclusion that exhorts the individual to weigh out a situation and use "good" judgment. He rejects rule based formulaic systems with excellent examples but lacks more technical or precise formal arguments which I would have liked to have seen. But I can't really fault him for this. It would have made the book a much slower read. I found the book delightful and fun to read. My reason for not going 5 stars was my own penchant for precision argument. The way it is written puts it much more in the reach of a more general audience.
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Posted September 15, 2011