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The Righteous Mind Audiobook

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

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Publisher's Summary

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.

Download the accompanying reference guide.

©2012 Jonathan Haidt (P)2012 Gildan Media LLC

What the Critics Say

"Haidt is looking for more than victory. He's looking for wisdom. That's what makes The Righteous Mind well worth reading…. a landmark contribution to humanity’s understanding of itself.” (The New York Times Book Review)

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  •  
    Amazon Customer Lino Lakes, MN USA 07-14-13
    Amazon Customer Lino Lakes, MN USA 07-14-13 Member Since 2016
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    "Required reading... with one caveat."
    What did you love best about The Righteous Mind?

    Broad, scientific approach to understanding the biology of human behavior.


    What other book might you compare The Righteous Mind to and why?

    "Thinking Fast and Slow" by Kahneman and "The Believing Brain" by Shermer in terms of understanding neuroscience and the way our brains, opinions and behaviors come about.


    Any additional comments?

    We've created a culture where we all operate under the illusion that we need to be right. We convince ourselves that our thoughts and actions stem from some innate ability to realize and appreciate a guiding, transcendent truth, whether it be social, spiritual or logical. The humbling reality is that we have selfish genes which utilize complex modules to ensure their survival. Haidt cogently describes our biology with both scientific and symbolic aplomb.

    As a biologist and physician, I have great appreciation for this perspective. I particularly appreciate the analogy between our ethical "taste" modules and our literal gustatory senses. We cannot fight the fact that we are hardwired to respond to these tastes and indulging them initiates the neurochemical cascade which, if deprived, would leave us bereft of the true experience of humanness.

    Continuing this analogy, I would attempt to demonstrate where Haidt possibly falls short in helping both himself and his reader best apply their enhanced understanding of human and cultural biology.

    As our ethical "tastes" for sanctity, loyalty and authority have a place in maintaining safety and wellness, our taste for sugar and fat has served our species greatly in times of scarcity. The utility of these modules is entirely contextual though. In the United States (my very divided country), we live in relative abundance. The vast majority has an excess of calories as well as social safety. The context has changed and indulging our hunger for fat and sugar as well as symbolic tribal loyalty, sanctity and authoritarian acquiescence has very negative consequences. We benefit when we recognize mal-adaptive application of natural tendencies. There is little risk that we will go hungry if we forgo calories and there is little risk that the fabric of our society (and our own differential survivability) will fall apart if we question authority, symbolism or factionism.

    We live in a country of abundance and safety. Indulging these tastes is causing an epidemic of obesity, hypertension, diabetes and heart disease. Could not the same be happening when insisting on applying unnecessary ethical modules? I enjoy being clean AND my understanding of germs and public health tells me I don't need to be continually vigilant. I enjoy my groups of shared interest AND I don't need to denigrate or vilify any groups to which I do not belong. I appreciate order AND I know rules and laws exist to serve a social purpose but my eternal soul is not at risk should I fail to worship compliance.

    Haidt is correct in that Conservatives indulge their ethical tastes more broadly. Their message is an ethical meal that satisfies many of our cravings. The Liberterian and Liberal ideologies are less appealing to a broad population... but dining at their table more often may be the only way of preventing the epidemic of ethical indulgence?

    67 of 73 people found this review helpful
  •  
    K. Cunningham San Francisco, CA 09-21-12
    K. Cunningham San Francisco, CA 09-21-12 Member Since 2013

    Kerry

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    "Why Good People Are Divided - Good for whom?"

    By and large, I think this is a good and even an important book. In it, Haidt very clearly lays out the research that supports the view that human beings have been endowed by evolution with 6 moral intuitions, or foundations. The moral intuitions are innate, which Haidt clearly explains does not mean fixed and immutable, but, rather, arranged in advance of experience. We don't all have a fixed set of moral intuitions, but there is a limited palate from which experience may paint the picture of how we perceive the world.

    The most important part of Haidt's research and the argument of this book is that liberal and conservatives share these moral intuitions but tend to emphasize them very differently, and it is the different emphases that cause the divisions among us. In brief, liberals tend to assign moral weight to issues of justice (is it fair - does everyone have an equal chance) and harm/care (does it cause harm to another - bad; or does it help another - good). Conservatives share these intuitions, but their take on justice is different. For a conservative, justice is determined by proportionality. Each according to his/ her contribution, not his/ her need. In addition, everyone, but conservatives to a much greater extent than liberals, also feel that questions of loyalty (to one's group/family/country), authority (obedience), and purity/ sanctity (as in not mixing this with that) are moral issues. A sixth intuition concerns liberty. Here again, however, liberals and conservatives differ in how they think about liberty. Liberals wish to be free of constraints applied by other members of the group, while conservatives think of liberty as freedom from government.

    As a framework for parsing arguments between liberals and conservatives, I think this is extraordinarily helpful. What Haidt and colleagues argue is that when we disagree with our ideological counterparts, the disagreements arise from differences in the weight we apply to these moral intuitions. For liberals, there really are just two primary moral issues, fairness and harm/care, while conservatives also value authority, loyalty, purity and liberty to a great extent.

    Importantly, Haidt argues that each of the moral intuitions has been vital to the evolution of human culture. While those among us who are liberals care more about justice and care, without the other intuitions, we would never have achieved the groupishness and hence the culture that separates humans from other animals. It is primarily the conservative intuitions that have been responsible for providing the glue that held groups together over our evolutionary history, and it is as groups that human beings have generated a culture that has distanced us from our primitive ape cousins.

    Not much to take issue with there.

    Ultimately, however, Haidt explains that his study of morality produced in him a sort of conversion from liberal to moderately conservative, having discovered the value of groupish moral intuitions. He also cites research showing that conservatives are better able to take the view of a liberal into account that vice versa, and invites liberals to try to broaden their view to include these other intuitions. His suggestion in this book and elsewhere is that more conservative voices should be added to the intellectual debate over the role of moral intuitions in society.

    So here's my problem with that. 1) I am liberal and have a hard time, as he says, understanding how the groupish intuitions might continue to retain their value as moral intuitions in the modern world. It seems to me that many of our greatest problems today have to do with the oversized role of these moral intuitions in buttressing parochial concerns (issues of importance to my group only), leading to inter-group conflict.
    2) I am a member of a group (gays) that has been and still is legally disenfranchised in this country, and that disenfranchisement is largely justified by referral to the moral intuition purity. I can't marry my partner, because too many people in this country believe that to allow me to do so would somehow violate the purity/sanctity of heterosexual marriage. So, I can't get behind it. Of course, that is my parochial concern, but I can point to similar concerns that would affect nearly everyone. Purity/Sanctity, in my view, is a moral intuition that has outlived its useful life.
    3) Too much of Haidt's argument has the flavor of a naturalistic fallacy. One is committing the naturalistic fallacy when one deems something to be good on the basis of it being natural. Another way it is expressed is when a person assumes that something ought or should be a certain way solely on the basis that it is that way in nature. Haidt's argument is more subtle than saying that because people are endowed with six moral intuitions, therefore all six ought to be valued equally. But, for may taste, his argument still relies mostly on the argument that because these six moral foundations were all critical for the development of what we consider to be civilized society, that they are all to be consulted in policy- and decision-making now. Much of our civilization consists of norms and rules for curbing natural instincts. The instincts that continually reify parochial groupishness, ie, the conservative moral intuitions, are among the natural instincts that I believe must be curbed. An alternative take is that the moral foundations are fine as is, but the groups to which they are applied must be continually enlarged to include everyone, and then perhaps everything. Clearly, this circle-enlarging has been occurring and will likely continue. That's great. But, shouldn't we also work to limit the sway of the intuitions that, while historically vital, are presently harmful or at best of dubious value for large swathes (i.e., anyone not in the majority) of our society today?

    239 of 263 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Douglas Auburn, WA, United States 01-09-13
    Douglas Auburn, WA, United States 01-09-13 Member Since 2008

    College English professor who loves classic literature, psychology, neurology and hates pop trash like Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey.

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    "A Brilliant And Insightful Book!"

    Haidt does an amazing job here of showing us how it is our intuition that often decides for us in regard to controversial (and even trivial) subjects, and then "uses" rationale as an ad hoc reasoning machine to justify the decision. Haidt also shows how this is not always a bad thing, that "gut instincts" can be truer and better than those come to entirely on rationale (if the latter were even possible, which, it seems, it isn't in most normal people.) Rationale can temper intuition, but if someone's mind is truly to be changed, it must be the intuition that is addressed first, not the rationale. If one can understand this, violent arguments can often be defused and the "opponent" can be understood as something other than "someone who is stupid" or who "refuses to accept MY logic." A must read!

    17 of 19 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jes Hobart, IN, United States 11-06-12
    Jes Hobart, IN, United States 11-06-12 Member Since 2011
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    "This book opened my eyes"

    I heard about this book on a podcast I was listening to. In this book Jonathan Haidt does a great job explaining why we think the way we do and why we're shaped to think the way we do. Here is a book that if you listen/read it all the way through will explain to you why we vote the way we do and think the way we do. I used to not understand people who practice strict religious teachings. Now I understand it (read the book to find out why). It also explains why people are Republicans and others are Democrats. It explains why their not understanding each other or the world. This has been a real eye opener for me and has already been helpful since I began to apply the principles in my life. I've been recommending this book to everyone I hear say something about Republicans or Democrats. It is a must read for anyone!

    21 of 24 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kel S Canberra, Australia 10-06-12
    Kel S Canberra, Australia 10-06-12

    Kel

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    "Hopefully the start of a more productive dialogue"

    The thing that saddens me when I read books on moral psychology is that it makes it clear that we as a species have come to a good understanding about how it is we think, yet that understanding doesn't filter down to the individual level. Like Michael Shermer's The Believing Brain, or Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson's Mistakes Were Made (But Not By Me), this book has within it much that could help keep in check the more extravagant of cognitive pitfalls, yet how does it make that tricky journey from the psychology journals and out into the public? This book, as good as any other on the topic I have read, has me hoping it will be able to make a little headway.

    Since I'm not a psychologist, I can't comment on the quality of the research, except to say that I found the presentation of the ideas was clear and very illustrative. Haidt's writing style is very accessible, and whether or not you agree with him by the end, anyone who carefully listens should at least appreciate where he was coming from. By the end, there's perhaps a means to appreciate where other people are coming from.

    One major problem was that in his efforts to give a descriptive moral psychology, he ignored the prescriptive aspect. The question of whether or not people see morality a particular way doesn't make that way warranted. Of course Jonathan Haidt knows this, but neglects to mention this until near the end of the penultimate chapter, and even then does little more than shrug at the prospect. That's fair enough as he's not a moral philosopher, but for several chapters preceding that brief mention he focused on trying to understand morality from a neurological perspective - even going so far as to ridicule those current prescriptive theories as being inadequate and possibly the result of Aspergers' syndrome. As the reader this was quite jarring, as he was seeming to make the same mistake Sam Harris did in The Moral Landscape by descending into neurobabble.

    For example, much is made of Western Educated Industrial Rich and Democratic (WEIRD) phenomenon of moral psychology where the educated products of enlightenment thinking see the role of moral thought in a very different way from all other societies (and even the poor in their own society). While he makes an interesting case for why moral psychology as a discipline has misfired by focusing on the WEIRD, be doesn't address the inverse case - why some of us are WEIRD? After all, being weird is the anomaly.

    If you keep in mind that his account of morality is descriptive rather than normative, then the book reads much better. It's a good account of how to think about how other people think on moral issues, and that is a vital part of having an understanding of where other people are coming from. For that, the book is good. And as far as the presentation goes, Haidt's willingness to describe the diagrams was useful, and him breaking out in song was an unexpected joy.

    20 of 23 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Wayne Matthews, NC 07-20-15
    Wayne Matthews, NC 07-20-15 Member Since 2016

    I love espionage, legal, and detective thrillers but listen to most genres. Very frequent reviews. No plot spoilers! Please excuse my typos!

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    "The most important book in decades!"

    I first read the dead tree version of Jonathan Haidt's The Righteous Mind when it was released in 2012. 9 months ago I purchased the audiobook and found when listened to in conjunction with the online materials as the narrator recommends it was as easy to understand and the original book. Late in 2013 another social psychologist, Joshua Greene, wrote the book Moral Tribes which he intended as an attempt to challenge some of the conclusions of Haidt's The Righteous Mind. The Righteous Mind is based on years of serious studies that are will documented and properly analyzed while Moral Tribes is a long, flailing, immature argument with \based almost entirely on Greene's personal political philosophy. Both books have high reader ratings on Audible and Amazon, but The Righteous Mind is clearly far superior to Moral Tribes.

    Both Haidt and Greene describe themselves as left of center politically and both are PhD social psychologist. Haidt's book is not primarily about political beliefs: it is about six categories of moral concepts that groups of people (tribes in Greene's language) hold. But the relative importance of the six categories of moral concepts do translate into political philosophy and Haidt's studies of group moral values do lead to discussions of political differences, so that is why Haidt's interviews and speeches are mostly about political differences.

    The Righteous Mind is based on numerous studies of human beliefs of morality. The studies are fascinating. It is a wonderful book apart from the political conclusions. The Righteous Mind is a hugely important book that can help us better understand ourselves and others. And it can help us to work together constructively despite our differences. I wish everyone would read this important book!

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Maria T. New Haven, CT 08-20-12
    Maria T. New Haven, CT 08-20-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Insightful and thought-provoking book!"
    Where does The Righteous Mind rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    I really enjoyed this book! Haidt has a wonderful ability to make research ideas and results gripping and easy to understand. And when it comes to how the human mind works, there are quite a few surprises in this book even for a seasoned psychologist :)


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Righteous Mind?

    Haidt's ideas on why religions are useful and existed in every society throughout the human evolution are riveting!


    Have you listened to any of Jonathan Haidt’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    For anybody who enjoyed Haidt's The Happiness Hypothesis, you will love this book as well.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I found the first half of the book much more fast-paced and engaging than the second half but I still couldn't stop listening to it until the very end and it was well worth it. By "couldn't stop listening to it", I meant that I didn't switch to some other book or podcast like I normally do when the pace gets slower. I do not listen to anything in one sitting - I only listen to books when driving, doing chores around the house, cooking, etc. But then, with this book, it really pays off to have some time between ideas to absorb and process them.


    18 of 21 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James 04-04-15
    James 04-04-15 Member Since 2016
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    "How Not to Offend Our Secret Cows"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes! Because the information is helpful.


    What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

    The narration of this Audible audiobook by the author is just OK, however I think it could have benefited from a professional reader/performer. Tone and tambour of professional voice and knowing when to put the proper inflectional twist can add life and interest when the facts become a bit dull.


    What about Jonathan Haidt’s performance did you like?

    The narration of this Audible audiobook by the author is just OK! He annunciated the words clearly and the meter moved along nicely. The voice is not unpleasant but it lacks liveliness.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Yes, the metaphor at the start of each of the three parts I found useful.


    Any additional comments?

    One of the biggest problems of the modern political scene is the right cannot seem to communicate with the left and the converse is also true. Whether we all get together at Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Easter or at an office gathering, we all have that certain relative or office friend you know you cannot discuss politics with, without sending them into what seems like a torrent angry words, bordering on foaming at the mouth, and an implacable wall of not hearing a word you say. This book written by, social and cultural psychologist, Ph.D. Jonathan Haidt, explains why certain issues are a “hot button issue” on either the right or the left. He does this by providing a metaphor for understanding the interaction of the unconscious mind and the conscious mind when it formulates its sense of right and wrong, known as morals in PART ONE of the book. This section is how the individual mind works. How it marries the emotional feeling unreasoning part of our brain with the rational conscious articulate part of our brain. In PART TWO, he provides a different metaphor to explain why morals have different priorities and vary in focus from person to person. Thus at the heart of any dispute between generally honest and moral people, a heated difference in approach can rise to the point where we stop listening to one another. By keeping in mind these differences in approach are not motivated by sinister concerns, we can overcome the divide, and perhaps work toward a common solution. In PART THREE, another metaphor provides a context in which we can understand that we behave differently when we act as an individual and when we act as a group. The emotional need to belong to a group for both survival and comfort is hard wired and can overcome our better individual judgment in the heat of collective passion of herd solidarity.

    Unless you are academically inclined and enjoy reading about experiments designed to get at the root of what drives our behavior, this book can be a bit of a slog at times. However, considering the useful prospective I have extracted from this book and apply to both real life situations and evaluating written material, it is well worth the effort to master the material in this book. When you are on the receiving end of a relative’s diatribe of full troughed, “I hate all taxes and the government that imposes them – rant – rant- rant, there is not one good tax in the last 100 years;” to be able to stop and deflate that expansive gas bubble with one question was priceless. The individual on exhibit is not some cheap hearted, flinty, miserly person. He is in fact a good business man, loving husband, good father, and respected member of his community. But the moral imperative that drives his psyche are a desire to be fair and anger at cheating. When he is feed too many examples of fraud and abuse of the social welfare system, he becomes blinded to his desire to be fair, and totally ignores his sense of Christian caring and a desire to not harm others. What stopped this man’s rant you ask? I simply ask him if he would abolish the social security tax and move his then to be destitute parents in with him. All of a sudden government was not so bad. His blinders were off! We could then discuss rationally, like two human beings, flaws in government welfare policy that could do with some revision to ensure the taxes were going to the truly needy and deserving and the “free riders” were driven out. The reverse of this example is also true. Among some of my leftward leaning friends, when they get their hair on fire over the evil selfish greedy right, “shredding of the social safety net to line their already rich pockets;” I know their moral imperative is driven by a sense of caring for others and to prevent harm from happening to the unfortunate good people. With them, I simply reach into my experience bag from when I was a workers compensation claims adjustor, for an example of a claimant who would use crutches to go into a scheduled medical examination, then exit the exam, toss his crutches into his truck bed, and then drove to a farm where he returned to roofing the barn. I then ask, “Is it fair to allow the undeserving to steal benefits intended for the truly needy from the system?” All of a sudden the flaming hair goes out and a more reasonable tone replaces empty rhetoric.

    What this book did for me? It made me aware that there are two or more sides to most issues. Opponents need not be demonized as evil or stupid just because they differ in your approach to an issue. In recognizing the moral underpinning of their argument and granting their motivation the respect it deserve for their position, I am able to do two things. One is to disrupt the blind rant that really says, “NO ONE LISTENS TO MY MORAL OUTRAGE!” Two lay the basis for dialog when the fires of rage have been quenched. When you recognize the moral underpinning of the rage, you defuse it by in effect saying, “I recognize the morality of your position now let’s talk about a practical solutions like human beings.” Then I am more likely to garner respect and a willingness to hear where I am coming from, and be open to what I am saying. The book “Think Like a Freak” by Ph.D. Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner, (reviewed elsewhere) addresses these same problems using the term incentives and persuasion as tools for change.

    Finally, the book makes clear, that people who keep on hitting the key moral receptors that drive an angry reaction are looking to drive movements and form an unreasoning mass in a slavish hive like mentality against a target of rage. When we unconsciously allow ourselves to be manipulated in such a way, it does not lead to good public policy, or privet dispute resolution.

    By using the tools this book provides it has made me a much better consumer of thoughts and ideas, either oral or written. It has also made me better at persuasion when I disagree with those thoughts or ideas. Our moral values are our personal sacred cows. The quickest way to produce discord in the society is to offend others sacred cows. When you offend another’s sacred cow you offend their personhood and foreclose dialog.

    In writing this review I hope to persuade the reader/listener to get this book and consume the content. I have done so by providing two storytelling examples of how the book has benefited me. Hopefully, I have piqued your interest to learn more about the various receptors that underpin our moral values and that drive our action and conversation in life. When confronted with an individual in the throes of moral outrage we have a choice. We can throw the bucket of gas of our own moral outrage on the conflagration and burn it all down; or we can choose the bucket of, “I hear your moral outrage” provide recognition and reason to it, then extinguish the flames and engage in dialog. It has worked for me and I cordially invite you to see if it will work for you. I highly recommend the take away from this book even as I acknowledge a wish it could have been as entertaining in its presentation.

    Personal note: I have both the audio and hardback book. I prefer the cover art on the version published in the United Kingdom’s version in 2012. The cover on the US version in 2013 is plain, dull, and a bit pedantic. The British version will poke you right in the eye. At the bottom of the US Amazon page select United Kingdom to get to the British Amazon. Once there look up 2012 hardback version of “The Righteous Mind” and you will see what I am talking about. They also show the US 2013 version so you can compare the two’s cover art and make up your own mind.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Darwin8u Mesa, AZ, United States 02-24-15
    Darwin8u Mesa, AZ, United States 02-24-15

    I write for myself, for my own pleasure. And I want to be left alone to do it. - Salinger ^(;,;)^

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    "I was Made to Disagree with my Father."

    Jonathan Haidt give a nice social science explanation for how we align politically and how we are built to disagree. This is one of those books that seems to fit in the same evolutionary psychology space as Bob Wright's 'The Moral Animal'. It is a combination of ethnography + evolutionary psychology + experimental psychology.

    In 'The Righteous Mind', Haidt isn't seeking simply to explain why some people vote Left and others vote Right, or why some people believe in God A and other believe in God B. Haidt's bigger purpose is to explain how we are all hardwired to use reason NOT to MAKE our moral decisions/choices, but rather to use reason to BUTTRESS the choices (about God, politics, etc) that we've already made.

    While I think his approach is a bit too simplistic, I still use his Moral Foundations Theory to explain why my father and I might have some overlap in values but different political views. I like the whole matrix of:

    1. Care/harm: cherishing and protecting others.
    2. Fairness/cheating: rendering justice according to shared rules. (Alternate name: Proportionality)
    3. Liberty/oppression: the loathing of tyranny.
    4. Loyalty/betrayal: standing with your group, family, nation. (Alternate name: Ingroup)
    5. Authority/subversion: obeying tradition and legitimate authority. (Alternate name: Respect.)
    6. Sanctity/degradation: abhorrence for disgusting things, foods, actions. (Alternate name: Purity.)

    Do I agree that liberals rank certain of these values higher than conservatives? Yes.
    Do I agree that conservatives might value some of these foundational values more than liberals? Yes.
    Do I agree that this list is the end-all, be-all of our Moral compass? No.

    I think this is a good beginning. It is another social science draft that gives another way to look at how we think, how our thinking has evolved, and how we interact with each other. Any theory involving the human brain is bound to be a bit of a game in the dark. I think there are answers and many of the answers are compelling, but not all answers will be final or correct.

    Look, there were certain parts of this book that just felt right, so I will spend a bit of time building a rational reason why it feels right and then post that reason on Audible.

    18 of 22 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Connie Freeland, WA, United States 09-18-12
    Connie Freeland, WA, United States 09-18-12 Member Since 2008
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    "Bridging the liberal / conservative chasm"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Righteous Mind to be better than the print version?

    Most "readers" will appreciate the superb delivery of the audio version. Those of us (myself included) who discover that his worldview and ideas reshape our own will either want to listen to the audio twice or also purchase the print version -- to enable note taking and marking up of the most important pages.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Because the ideas are so unsettling for social and political liberals (like myself!), the author's tone and personal story vignettes are absolutely vital to keep me from becoming defensive (and thus no longer really listening). Yet, by the time he concludes, I feel fully affirmed -- as the need today is not for liberals to go conservative, but for liberals to become morally fuller by maintaining our existing commitments while opening to searching for solutions that are no longer win-lose but win-win. In fact, I recall watching online a spring 2012 interview that Bill Moyers conducted with the author, and Bill's curiosity and open delight in this larger worldview are a treasure to watch. Morality becomes all encompassing.


    What about Jonathan Haidt’s performance did you like?

    The author is the audio narrator -- and he is superb! Personal stories he tells are especially powerful this way, and his best stories are those that reveal the pivotal experiences in his own life that led him from social/political liberal to a wider embrace of the full spectrum of moral and ethical appreciation.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    It is way too long to listen to in one setting -- but very compelling to use as bedtime listening on consecutive nights or for a very long road trip.


    Any additional comments?

    I learn so much these days online via short videos, newsclips, blogs, op-ed pieces, etc. that I tend to become stingy about my time reading a traditional book. Books are often not time-efficient enough for me anymore. But The Righteous Mind exemplifies deep respect for the reader/listener's time via its organization, writing, storytelling, and editing. It actually restores my faith in learning via books. As I reflect on my experience, I see that what took the author a lifetime to achieve in worldview expansion, I actually got in a week of evening listening.

    14 of 17 people found this review helpful
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  • Mr
    LONDON, United Kingdom
    7/8/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Good Book"
    Where does The Righteous Mind rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    The author is an excellent narrator, it made listening a pleasure. The book was well structured with summaries at the end of each chapter.

    As a liberal the book made me think about myself and why I am the way I am!

    I did not agree entirely with everything written, it certainly challenged my ideas as to what is right and wrong. This makes me want to find out more about the subject to find more answers.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    na


    Which scene did you most enjoy?

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    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    na


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • SwissTony
    6/12/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "a left wing academics journey to the centre ground"

    Whilst there are a few good ideas here it is mostly evidence light assertions like an extended TED talk. His defence of religion bypasses the atheists main point that it is a highly unlikely hypothesis for the creation of the universe. He swings by group selection without looking into the genetics of it, has the requisite politically correct view of cultural relativism.. the native peoples I met were quite happy with their values so who an I too judge... failing to see that in almost every oppression in the past there have been oppressed people who defended the status quo.
    there are also the ridiculous assertions...
    apparently suicide bombing has been conclusively proven to have nothing to do with religion by an academic - well clearly that settles it then! criminality in the 60s, 70s and 80s and it's decline in the 90s was caused by leaded petrol - nothing to do with abortion rates, decreased use of cash, decreased cost of consumer goods etc
    Ultimately it's just the story of a left wing academic realising that conservatives are not baby eating monsters but people with a less utopian (more realistic?) view of humanity. The depressing thing is that this is news in the 21st century West.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • levw49
    United Kingdom
    4/29/13
    Overall
    "A thoroughly interesting book!"

    I always feel that book's read by the author are far better to listen to and this book illustrates the point perfectly. Haidt is open, honest, informative and passionate about his chosen field of moral psychology. Throughout the book he is unbiased and remains remarkably dispassionate with regards to a variety of moral, social and political views, thus making this book thoroughly educational and informative whilst allowing you to make up your own mind and opinions. I would certainly recommend this to someone who is interested in this field, I have listened to it twice so far and i'm still not bored of it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Jim Vaughan
    Malvern, UK
    11/26/12
    Overall
    "Brilliant! Well researched, accessible, convincing"

    This is a highly intelligent, yet accessible book, beautifully read by the author himself.



    If like me you are puzzled by the stupidity of other people's beliefs and values, then I urge you to read "The Righteous Mind". At its core is a message of reconciliation; an enlightened liberation from the "Filter Bubble" of our own confirmation biases to see ourselves & those we most profoundly disagree with as belonging on the same continuum.



    Haidt's thesis is controversial :- that Western liberals (e.g. him & me) are "WIERD" outliers, using just three moral foundations of harm, freedom, and fairness, when for conservative & non Western cultures, morality includes a far broader spectrum of sensibilities, including hierarchy, loyalty and sacredness.



    Our own values feel like 'The Truth' and the more moral we are, the more self-righteous in imposing our own moral framework. Moreover, we are all moral hypocrites, acting to maximise our good reputation, with our moral rationalisations serving as press officer to our emotional prejudices.



    Haidt cites a ton of research (including his own), underpinned by psychology, anthropology, neuroscience & evolutionary theory: the latter an elegant mix of Selfish Gene, Multi-Level selection and Dual Inheritance Theory, summed up in the sound-byte that we are 90% chimp and 10% hive mentality.



    Yet it was in his uncritical advocacy for the "Durkheimian Hive Switch" that I started to dissent. Anyone who knows the film "The Wave", the deindividuation of rioting crowds, Milgram's Experiment, or phenomena such as scape-goating or "corporate groupthink" will be wary of the dangers of the "Hive Switch", and the potential madness of crowds. The Enlightenment was about liberation from our hive mentality and the benefits of Mill's style individualism and secularism.



    However, that said, I consider Haidt a hero, and I hope this excellent book will help heal the animosity between good people who differ only in the hyper-goods they value.

    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Max
    9/25/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent, but could have been denser"

    Excellent book, but it could have been denser: many points are explained repeatedly and rather wordily. Still an outstanding listen overall though.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • W. Hynes
    Barcelona
    9/7/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Enlightening stuff"

    While sure to frustrate people at one political extreme or the other or the religious or staunch atheist, I'm none of these with tendencies to moments of all of them and this book offered some insight and, dare I say, validation.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Paula Wright
    10/7/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Interesting thesis"

    but I was confused by the absence of any discussion of kin selection. Hence 4 stars not 5.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Chris Samuel
    London
    2/19/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Entertaining and provoking"

    Great narrator, well structured and researched. Made by an expert in the field of moral psychology. A great book to learn from, argue with and grow in our understanding of morality

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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