On Books: ‘Reclaiming Virtue’

There are books that have certain magnetism about them. I just get pulled towards them. John Bradshaw’s Reclaiming Virtue is one of them; I just knew instinctively that it was a good book and I had to buy it. I was in Durban, South Africa then and had spotted this book in a book shop. Like a true traveller I translated the price in Rupees and shied away from buying; but on the subsequent visit to the same book shop this spendthrift could not hold back himself.

I had never heard of John Bradshaw, unaware as I am of the Western World stars. He is very well known for his PBS television programs on topics such as addiction, recovery, co-dependency and spirituality after buying his book.

The book has a subtitle “How we can develop the moral intelligence to do the right thing at the right time and for the right reason”. That tells the prospective reader what the subject of the book is. Such subjects are difficult to write about, usually writers make it a boring treatise on philosophy. This book is different, you get glued to its pages from the first minute of reading, it is written in fluent, short sections and points are made crisply respecting reader’s ability to grasp the message quickly.

For all the HR Managers who conduct seminars on ‘Values’ this book will provide wealth of material which will help them give insights to the participants, not to speak of guidance in their own personal lives.

I am quoting a paragraph that may interest you:

“It was Aristotle’s belief that virtue and human happiness are synonymous. He asserted that we cannot be fully human without developing the inner strengths that he called “Virtues.” Both Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas also believed that at the pinnacle of moral life are the virtues of love and justice, which transcend mere adherence to rules and laws. But these virtues, they said, can be fully developed only when we also develop the skill to make choices based on “lucid and reasonable desire.” They believed that this skill was itself a virtue and they called it prudence or moral wisdom. They saw it as a unique practical intelligence that allows us to discover the best, most caring alternative amid the countless circumstances that are present in every real moral choice. How we can develop this moral intelligence in ourselves and others is one of the cornerstones of this book.”

Enjoy reading it!