"Lucid, elegant, magisterial." (Publishers Weekly)
"Utterly intriguing....A refreshing and timely work." (Kirkus Reviews)
It's always refreshing to hear an author trash the argument that "everyone's morality is equally valid". At the same time being told it might be all the tiny "leaving things better than we found them" that could be a cornerstone of morality, is very interesting. The author also says morality only existing in our intellect is a fantasy of some intellectuals. The author relies on the argument that our moral sense, our better nature as it were, must exist below training and intellect and reinforcement, because if it didn't, we'd all be dead long ago. What is more gripping is the stories of individuals who defied fascist or morally bankrupt societies, and did so as much out as pure emotions like anger as higher leanings. The characters of such moral quandries become more human instead of walking polemics. Another point the author makes is that moral action (against the banality of evil) is often bolstered by consistent parenting where there was mutual respect, also very interesting. When the author makes higher moral action connect to basic emotion and motivation coming from sources within the society that's corrupt, that's when the book clicks.
18 of 19 people found this review helpful
it's a very important subject and the author presents lots of perspectives on the issue; it's just hard to follow the detail just listening
6 of 8 people found this review helpful
Is there anything you would change about this book?
I've read some of Wilson's works, especailly reltated to politics, and have been impressed. I thought this book would take a global view and offer insights into large issues of today. Instead it discusses child development in various cultures. While the examples may be interesting, from an anthropological perspective, I would have liked to see some explicit connection about how adults make decisions. It never brings it into a larger (mature) context of how we act under various situations. I had a hard time understanding the reader. Her voice reminds me of a victorian school marm with an upper-crust English accent. After a while it sounded like chalk acratching on a board.I particuarly didn't like the use of the personal pronoun (as in "I") since Wilson is a man.
Would you ever listen to anything by James Q. Wilson again?
Likely, but I will carefully pay attention to the synopsis. I will not listen to him with the same reader.
Would you be willing to try another one of Nadia May’s performances?
Did The Moral Sense inspire you to do anything?
No. unless I can figure out how to return to my childhood.
This book was a decent listen. Nadia May is a charming narrator, her lilting british accent providing a playful touch to this (at times) stuffy work. However, unless you're really interested in morality, I would skip this one. The author spends too much time on tangential topics, like self-control and attachment, and doesn't succeed in making a coherent point or cogent argument throughout the entire book. It basically reads like a compendium of information, albeit somewhat dated, as neuroscience and evolutionary psychology have advanced a great deal since this book came out. Unfortunately, there aren't really any other books on moral psychology available on audible, so if you're starving for an audiobook on that topic, you might want to check this out. Otherwise, I recommend Robert Wright's "The Moral Animal," even though evolutionary psychology is more the centerpiece of that book than morality per se. Jon Haidt's book "The Happiness Hypothesis" also has some information on morality in it, even though the book purports to be about happiness. Haidt's newest book "The Righteous Mind," though not on audible, is entirely about morality and highly recommended if you're willing to use your eyes.
0 of 1 people found this review helpful
Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?
No, this is a book that is excellent and needs to be contemplated. The reader sounds like she is on speed. Her words are so fast, you cannot absorb the ideas before she is three more points down the road. I had to stop after two chapters and download it to my Kindle so I could think about what he was saying. Somebody get her off her Caffeine
Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Nadia May?
Any one who was not just reading words as fast as possible, but thinking about what they were reading
Any additional comments?
I am sad that the reader made this wonderful book impossible for me to listen on audio.
0 of 1 people found this review helpful
then veers wildly off course into rationalizations and square pegs into round holes.
0 of 2 people found this review helpful
This book's got lots of sense, and is well-reasoned. But a lot of opinions, too.