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Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion

Jonathan Haidt

A groundbreaking investigation into the origins of morality, which turns out to be the basis for religion and politics. The book is timely (explaining the American culture wars and refuting the "New Atheists"), scholarly (integrating insights from many fields), and great fun to read.

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Book Information

Publisher: Pantheon Books
Publish Date: 03/13/2012
Pages: 419
ISBN-13: 9780307377906
ISBN-10: 0307377903
Language: English

What We're Saying

November 27, 2012

The strategy + business best of business books list is always one of our favorites of the year—one we always look forward to—and this year's does not disappoint. The strength of the list is in it's breadth and flexibility. The categories always change slightly to reflect the important topics of the year, and they choose experts on those topics to pick the best books published in those categories. READ FULL DESCRIPTION

Full Description

Why can't our political leaders work together as threats loom and problems mount? Why do people so readily assume the worst about the motives of their fellow citizens? In The Righteous Mind, social psychologist Jonathan Haidt explores the origins of our divisions and points the way forward to mutual understanding.
His starting point is moral intuition--the nearly instantaneous perceptions we all have about other people and the things they do. These intuitions feel like self-evident truths, making us righteously certain that those who see things differently are wrong. Haidt shows us how these intuitions differ across cultures, including the cultures of the political left and right. He blends his own research findings with those of anthropologists, historians, and other psychologists to draw a map of the moral domain, and he explains why conservatives can navigate that map more skillfully than can liberals. He then examines the origins of morality, overturning the view that evolution made us fundamentally selfish creatures. But rather than arguing that we are innately altruistic, he makes a more subtle claim--that we are fundamentally groupish. It is our groupishness, he explains, that leads to our greatest joys, our religious divisions, and our political affiliations. In a stunning final chapter on ideology and civility, Haidt shows what each side is right about, and why we need the insights of liberals, conservatives, and libertarians to flourish as a nation.

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