Practical Wisdom



❮KINDLE❯ ❧ Practical Wisdom ❄ Author Barry Schwartz – E17streets4all.co.uk A reasoned yet urgent call to embrace and protect the essential practical human uality that has been drummed out of our lives wisdom It's in our nature to want to succeed It's also human nature to wan A reasoned yet urgent call to embrace and protect the essential practical human uality that has been drummed out of our lives wisdom It's in our nature to want to succeed It's also human nature to want to do right But we've lost how to balance the two How do we get it back Practical Wisdom can help Practical Wisdom is the essential human uality that combines the fruits of our individual experiences with our empathy and intellect an aim that Aristotle identified millennia ago It's learning the right way to do the right thing in a particular circumstance with a particular person at a particular time But we have forgotten how to do this In Practical Wisdom Barry Schwartz and Kenneth Sharpe illuminate how to get back in touch with our wisdom how to identify it cultivate it and enact it and how to make ourselves healthier wealthier and wiser.Practical Wisdom

an American psychologist Schwartz is the Dorwin Cartwright Professor of Social Theory and Social Action at Swarth College He freuently publishes editorials in the New York Times applying his research in psychology to current events.

Practical Wisdom ePUB ò Hardcover
  • Hardcover
  • 336 pages
  • Practical Wisdom
  • Barry Schwartz
  • English
  • 10 January 2015
  • 9781594487835

10 thoughts on “Practical Wisdom

  1. says:

    Reading this book fed my soulIt argues that we need to have empathy freedom to rely on personal judgment and wisdom of experience in our daily interactions and in our larger institutional structures when instead we are bound by unbending rules and demoralizing incentives that erode any sense of humanness—concern for others or the greater good—in our interactions Indeed they argue that we are weaving an ever tightening net of rules and incentives around ourselves that is draining what wisdom we have left in a downward self feeding spiralI remember while working on my teaching degree a professor in one of my education classes saying we would all “sell out” in some way within five years that our youthful idealism would run up against and lose out to pragmatic concerns I’ve heard similar anecdotes from those in other professions the idea that wisdom and ideals aren’t practical that the “real world” corrupts them because it’s too dirty and competitively self interested This book makes the case that we don’t have to accept that reality—that wisdom and pragmatism are not contrary—and that it is possible to change things if we learn to institute practical wisdom as a larger ingredient in our interactions with each other than our rules and incentivesWorking from Aristotle’s idea of phronesis the authors define practical wisdom as the ability to make nuanced moral decisions that react and adapt to the particular contexts of each situation They draw from Daniel Pink’s work on motivation Dan Ariely’s research that bad incentives can compete with and replace good ones and the evidence of many others and provide numerous examples—both positive and negative—of teachers doctors lawyers and bankers to demonstrate their points There are individual canny outlaws still practicing moral wisdom in these realms but what we need are system changers to redeem our institutions that demoralize lessen the morals of most of the people who practice within themIt’s hard to feel like I’m doing to book justice with just a summary without getting into its specifics and examples If you’d like to see what I mean I blogged about one of its points here though I extrapolated their point at the end of the post to add further implications that I see Otherwise I’ll leave you with this list of comparisons from the book though it only gets into rules; if you want incentives follow the link Rules Talk asks What are the universal principles that should guide our moral choices? Wisdom Talk asks What are the proper aims of this activity? Do they conflict in this circumstance? How should they be interpreted or balanced?Rules Talk tends to be about absolutes Wisdom Talk is context talk—talk about nuanceRules Talk sidelines or even labels as dangerous moral imagination and emotion Wisdom Talk puts them at the center because they allow us to see and understand what needs to be seen and understoodRules Talk ends with determining the right principle or rule to follow Wisdom Talk ends with determining whether to follow it and how to follow itRules Talk marginalizes the importance of character traits like courage patience determination self control and kindness Wisdom Talk puts them at the centerRules Talk urges us to consult a text or a code Wisdom Talk urges us to learn from others who are practically wiseRules Talk is taught by teachers in the classroom Wisdom Talk is taught by mentors and coaches who are practicing alongside us

  2. says:

    They want to restore faith in American institutions healthcare law banking without instaling regulations or offering incentives both of which are too blunt they say There answer is to turn to Aristotle's sense of practical wisdom phronesis Phronesis is a product of experience and used to reach pragmatic ends Examples include judges making clever sentences doctors diagnosing and curing ills etc They argue that rulebound institutions prevent this kind of entrepreneurial experimentation and if we made space for it again without so many rules the institutions would do better I am sympathetic to this argument but they short circuit their argument by downplaying a lot of the problems that rules were installed for especially in terms of banking They argue that true professionals are interested in their professional goals above remuneration and so can be trusted but I don't think this is often the case and am unwilling to extend trust as much as they are They do make the nice aegument although obvious that wisdom is the balancing of different demands and so is often too subtle for rulesWisdom is also choosing the right way to look at things we have lots of different ways need the right oneEmotion is also central to wisdm wisdom is not all rational Need to be empathetic for example But also need to be detached Again balancngSome needless cognitive science stuff about pattern recognitionWar on wisdom mandatory sentences teaching to tests doctors taught not to be empatheticHeroes are canny outlaws people who outwit rules to act wiselyNote that incentives erode willfulness and give wrong reasons for doing stuffPlea for professional autonomyAnd I guess part of my problem is that while I think doctors and lawyers and teachers might have a right to professional autonomy I'm not sure that bankers do I just don't like the extension of that argument to finance especially in light of the way finance boys destroyed the worldInstitutions also demoralize the worker HMOs for example

  3. says:

    This pop science book differs from most of its kind in that it relies heavily on the wisdom of the ancient Greeks specifically Aristotle Basically it's a treatise on like the subtitle says how to do the right thing in the right way how to be wiseWisdom is one of those things where you don't even realize how much you lack until you're old enough to be a little wise Who wouldn't want to read a book that helped them make the right decisions? I did This is exactly the kind of book I like to read scientific mostly psychology and sociology with another discipline or two ethics and philosophyI can't say this book struck me as poorly written Each chapter leads neatly into the next and there are plenty of anecdotes to keep it from being too dry That said I found myself unable to finish it I got about halfway through and decided I'd given it enough of a shot One of the problems is that the authors seem to have read the exact same books I've already read so nothing felt new The other problem is that I couldn't really get a good handle on what it was about so it felt like a bunch of ordinary stories emphasizing and proving uncontroversial points Everything seemed pretty obvious and I didn't get what they were trying to proveIf you haven't read a lot of books in the philosophyethicssociology genre this might be an okay book for you It wasn't good for me

  4. says:

    I've always felt that much of the world lacks humanity because we put strict rules in front of using our heads It appears Barry Schwartz and Kenneth Sharpe feel the same way and dive deep into the way our institutions have become structured and dehumanized They're thorough in their examples and cover the justice system the healthcare system the banking industry and the educational system Their explanations include a walk through neuroscience and philosophy alike I experienced the audiobook version of this book which is narrators by the authors

  5. says:

    “Wisdom is not the mysterious gift of a handful of sages but a capacity that we all have”I remember slipping out my bedroom window and running over to my friend’s house to watch Spike Lee’s classic film Do The Right Thing I don’t know why but I guess I felt like I just had to watch it Something in the title captivated me A simple four words that inspire a headache of uestions and complexitiesDo the right thing What does that even mean? And if we have trouble defining it how in the good lord's name are we supposed to do it?Barry Schwartz author of The Paradox of Choice along with Kenneth Sharpe have attempted to untangle the mess of ‘right thing’ by providing us with an old tool ‘wisdom’ as the thing we need to develop and use if we desire to ‘do right’“We try to fix problems with increased oversight and incentives rules and incentives sticks and carrots”Practical Wisdom The Right Way to Do the Right Thing is both an investigation into a world run a muck with rules regulations codes and laws and an unveiling of the theory of ‘practical wisdom’ Wisdom the authors claim is a combination of an ability to perceive a situation have appropriate feelings about it to deliberate what would be an appropriate response and then to act To do so by being courageous and fair open minded and truthful calm and kind Virtues and traits that have been co opted out by rules and regulations“Rules without wisdom are blind and at best guarantee mediocrity”When awash in rules and incentives the ability to do right is subjugated by the demand to do as you are told But the authors argue that rules can't tell you how to do the constant balancing of everyday work Of deciding between better and best or bad and worst Of choosing how to balance being honest with being kind Only wisdom can help you do thisSchwartz and Sharpe believe that the traits of wisdom are built into our DNA just waiting to be unlocked by the right experiences and through cultivation With practice we can all be able to make wise judgments be able to perceive the complexity in a situation and evaluate the nuance of situations accurately These skills will allow us to better handle the ethical puzzles and uandaries we face every day without having to rely on rules that only let us down and provide barely adeuate solutionsAs the world becomes increasingly complex we cannot rely on rules and incentives to progress society in any meaningful way We must learn to be wise to be practical to be moral ethical and perceptive Then we will be able to ‘do the right thing’Overall Score 37 5In a Sentence To do the right thing we have to know what the right thing is and that takes practical wisdom

  6. says:

    I know I shouldn’t purloin dust cover blurbs for a book review Of course they exist to puff the book “irresistible book one that every politician CEO parent and citizen in America should read” “pioneering work” “a rare and rewarding book” “must read new treasure trove” But there I did it Those phrases come from the blurbs on the back of “Practical Wisdom The Right Way to Do the Right Thing”Which I know the title sounds a little self helpisch doesn’t it? It’s a shame that As much money as book publishers spend to get cover art right you’d think they’d care about titles too The cover art on this book has a photo of a marble bust of a jut jawed purposeful Aristotle with a sharpened yellow pencil behind one ear Too bad the title doesn’t look like thatIt’s fun to imagine a meeting of ad types blue skying a title for this book “Fools for Rules” “Phronesis Hotter’n Sophia” “Born To Be Wise” “When Dumb Things Happen to Smart People” “Aaargh Self Helpisch? This Is a Book Every Politician CEO Parent and Citizen in America Should Read WTF’s Wrong Wichu?”On second thought let’s leave the ad guys out and hope that enough brick and mortar bookstores survive 28% of all book buyers find out about the last book they bought by browsing at a bookstore so that every politician CEO etc will maybe see the catchy bust of Aristotle with the pencil behind his ear pick up the book see the blurb that talks about them and do the right thingWhich would be to read the book and find out about the demoralization and dehumanization of our doctors bankers lawyers hold the jokes and teachers through the proliferation of rules and monetary incentives By considering the cost of procedures as an aspect of health care doctors distort treatment By selling products bankers don’t address the needs of individual borrowers By focusing on billable hours instead of client needs lawyers monetize justice By having to shape instruction to maximize test performance teachers leave some children behind and ignore the ones who happen to be where the test says they need to beIn essence where there is a heavy and unbending reliance on rules and artificial incentives there is a corresponding lessening—and weakening—of wisdom and judgment Human beings are removed from the transaction The problem this book says is not that there are rules—rules are necessary—but that an over reliance on rules is destroying our capacity to exercise judgment And down that road are robots terrorists and sociopaths which most of us have no desire to beI heard it said sometime a while back without really understanding it that if you cared about the hereafter you should read the Bible but if you cared about the here and now you should read the Greeks Authors Schwartz and Sharpe help me understand this remark with regards to the Greeks anyway by showing how among them Aristotle brought some systematic understanding to the here and now of the human enterpriseIn this understanding excellence in any activity among humans—including day to day living— depends on our ability to use experience a sense of purpose empathy and judgment in order to negotiate challenges and remain true to ourselves Done well the result is the fulfillment of purpose that we know as happiness And this happens to be true in jobs and careers as much as it is in daily life—after all they’re a big part of daily life The authors report a congruence between the ideas of Aristotle and the conclusions of social science as to the sources of personal contentment and job satisfaction Living well really would be the best revenge if that’s you’re out forBut this kind of thing doesn’t just happen It needs to be nourished and guided Experience is an important element Not to mention an understanding of purpose Without a sense of purpose there’s little to guide human beings—except rulesWhat the authors advocate here is that our institutions take the lead in proliferating fewer rules and wisdom Because that’s what makes us humanSo everybody’s going to read this book right? Riiiight

  7. says:

    Because I needed the practical wisdom to prevent the dog from biting my ear off How you enjoy the book is a measure of your practical wisdom as well do you rather want to go through the pages like a Bolt of lightning and add one to your finished shelf? Or do you want to immerse yourself in the book and be changed by it? The book doesn't really incite any major a ha moments but it does have its beautiful takeaways I know that I needn't waste my time defining what 'good' is which is important as well to ensure that we don't use a flawed definition of good but I can focus on being good Feeling good And all that45 Engaging read Maybe not for all but definitely for a lot

  8. says:

    In Practical Wisdom Barry Schwartz and Kenneth Sharpe explore the Aristotelian notion of practical wisdom phronesis The book touches on some philosophy but in a very rudimentary sense Essentially the book illuminates the problems that come with removing practical wisdom from several of our important institutions Schwartz and Sharpe argue that we live in a rule and incentive obsessed culture that has crowded out practical wisdomIn the end they argue that Aristotle was right to flourish to achieve happiness eudaimonia demands practical wisdom Overall it’s a great read with an important message

  9. says:

    Great explanation on how incentives and rules are crowding out wisdom and how wisdom is developed This book goes beyond the book How We Decide by Jonah Lehrer and explains how we decide to do the right thing

  10. says:

    I didn't love the book It was full of anecdotes and no real research He had some interesting ideas but didn't really go into depth The main idea is to use judgment; don't just follow the rules and ignore the subtleties of individual situations

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