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Better, Not Perfect: A Realist's Guide to Maximum Sustainable Goodness (Hardcover)
Negotiation and decision-making expert Max Bazerman explores how we can make more ethical choices by aspiring to be better, not perfect.
Every day, you make hundreds of decisions. They’re largely personal, but these choices have an ethical twinge as well; they value certain principles and ends over others. Bazerman argues that we can better balance both dimensions—and we needn’t seek perfection to make a real difference for ourselves and the world.
Better, Not Perfect provides a deeply researched, prescriptive roadmap for how to maximize our pleasure and minimize pain. Bazerman shares a framework to be smarter and more efficient, honest and aware—to attain your “maximum sustainable goodness.” In Part Two, he identifies four training grounds to practice these newfound skills for outsized impact: how you think about equality and your tribe(s); waste—from garbage to corporate excess; the way you spend time; and your approach to giving—whether your attention or your money. Ready to nudge yourself toward better, Part Three trains your eye on how to extend what you’ve learned and positively influence others.
Melding philosophy and psychology as never before, this down-to-earth guide will help clarify your goals, assist you in doing more good with your limited time on the planet, and see greater satisfaction in the process.
About the Author
Max H. Bazerman is the Jesse Isidor Straus Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School, where his research focuses on negotiation, behavioral economics, and ethics. The author of over 200 research articles and chapters, his previous books include The Power of Noticing, The Power of Noticing, Blind Spots, Negotiation Genius, and a bestselling textbook, Judgment in Managerial Decision Making. An award-winning scholar and mentor, Bazerman has been named one of Ethisphere's 100 Most Influential in Business Ethics and a Daily Kos Hero. His consulting, teaching, and lecturing includes work in 30 countries. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
"Bazerman’s encouraging call for readers to keep moving in the right direction, even if they aren’t on the fast track to perfection, is a much-needed and sane approach to personal betterment." — Publishers Weekly
“Take some of the best ideas in philosophy, mix in relevant research in psychology, add a lifetime of practical wisdom, and you have the recipe for a realistic guide to doing the most good you can. Read this book, and you will find yourself leading a better life!” — Peter Singer, Princeton University, author of Animal Liberation and Practical Ethics
“We all want to believe that we will help make the world a better place. But how? Take one step at a time, says Bazerman in his delightful and engaging book! More rational thinking and less intuition will lead us to that North Star.” — Sheryl WuDunn, Pulitzer Prize winner and bestselling coauthor of Tightrope
“Max Bazerman has a gift: to grasp the core of our hardest ethical issues, and to bring the best science and arguments to grapple with them. He does this with such clarity and compassion for human nature that you will be more than persuaded—you’ll get up and do something!” — Mahzarin R. Banaji, Harvard University, bestselling coauthor of Blindspot
“Building on the ideas of effective altruism, Bazerman delivers important new insights on how to use your time, money, intellect, and influence to make the world better.” — Will MacAskill, cofounder, Centre for Effective Altruism, and author of Doing Good Better
“Although we’re quick to recognize the moral mistakes other people make, it’s not until it’s too late that we catch most of our own. As a leading expert on this problem, Max Bazerman shows how we can avoid ethical blunders—and do more good along the way.” — Adam Grant, bestselling author of Give and Take and Originals, and host of the TED podcast WorkLife
“Max Bazerman is part behavioral scientist, part mensch—and the sage I consult whenever I’m stuck on a life decision. This brilliant, wise guide shows us why perfect really is the enemy of the good—and how we can all do better.” — Angela Duckworth, University of Pennsylvania, bestselling author of Grit
“Bazerman offers a roadmap that will help readers understand the world around them and how they can most strategically and effectively make things better. I spent my first 10 years out of college trying to be perfect, not better. Oh, how I wish I’d had this book to guide my vocational decisions.” — Bruce Friedrich, cofounder and executive director, the Good Food Institute
"Bazerman brings together the powerful insights of behavioural science and the incisiveness of Harvard Business School on how we can make the world better: more ethical, less corrupt, and more sustainable. It’s also Bazerman’s most personal work yet. He really does want to make the world better, not through lecturing, but by giving people the mental and institutional tools to shape it themselves." — David Halpern, CEO of the Behavioural Insights Team and author of Inside the Nudge Unit
"This will appeal to those seeking practical suggestions for improving business and philanthropic behavior." — Library Journal