By James M. Thomas, “Jim.”
149 pp. Alliance for Integrity, LLC. $28.00.
For the general reader, an informative work that combines the First Great Virtue’s governing principles, together with profiles of men and women who exemplify it.
In October 1972, The New York Times published an editorial ranking first the cardinal virtue of integrity. Even above Winston Churchill’s declaration that courage comes first. Wrote the Times, “With integrity, much is possible. Without it, nothing lasting can be achieved.”
In an era marked by high-profile scandals, ethical fiascoes, mass media gullibility, disregard of accountability, gross conflicts of interest, unchecked greed—the list is much longer—thoughtful citizens agree with the Times. For them Jim’s book will prove a treasure trove.
It trods territory largely unexamined, in the deluge of books that have come out in the last twenty-five years. Their authors include scholars, academics, executives, ministers, consultants, philosophers, and motivational speakers. In the main, they steer away from a credible authentic definition of integrity, one that has evolved in meaning since the time of the Biblical Job. In addition, few if any authors identify its motivations, inherent dilemmas, obstacles and vices. Its practical advantages in personal, corporate, and professional life are often overlooked, or treated lightly in passing. Not so Jim’s book; it rings with depth and insight.
Part One of this work lays bare the governing principles. Then, in Part Two, Jim turns to the essence of integrity. He provides unforgettable portraits of men and women struggling to uphold convictions, often at sacrifice and cost higher than many will pay. They range from Max Gottlieb at Pittsburg, to General George C. Marshall, to Chemist Marie Curie, to Sculptor Constantin Brancusi, to CEO James Burke of Johnson & Johnson.
Individuals, executives, and professionals, will find this book invaluable. It will aid in comprehending integrity with greater clarity, in holding tighter to it. In turn, the reader will gain in understanding how this inexhaustible virtue strengthens trustworthiness and reputation. It enforces purpose, braces commitment, defeats alluring temptation, impedes the ill-advised compromise, and heightens self-respect. For all who value those enduring traits, integrity is indeed the ‘Indispensable Element.’
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