Books briefly noted: Ethical living

Outlook Book Review Editor Amy Paglliarella highlights some must-read books about ethical living.

How to Be Perfect: The Correct Answer to Every Moral Question

Michael Schur
Simon & Schuster, 304 pages | Published January 25, 2022

Fans of the cerebral TV comedy “The Good Place” will immediately recognize the ethical conundrums that its creator describes. Schur educates us on philosophical schools of thought (e.g. utilitarianism and consequentialism) and explains the teachings of Plato, Kant and others in light-hearted ways. Between humorous anecdotes and practical applications (should I root for the Redskins? Watch Woody Allen films?) this is “summer school” at its finest.

The Good Life Method

Meghan Sullivan and Paul Blaschko
Penguin Press, 304 pages |Published January 4, 2022

Notre Dame philosophy professors Sullivan and Blaschko wrestle with life’s big questions in their popular class, “God and the Good Life.” This accessible and thought-provoking book invites the rest of us into the discussion. The authors offer an approach to making life choices (ranging from who to love to what work to pursue) that aims to help us in “the essential human task” of “finding the right life goals and figuring out how to accomplish them.”

Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals

Oliver Burkeman
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 288 pages | Published August 10, 2021

Forget FOMO (the “Fear of Missing Out”) — Oliver Burkeman wants us to experience the “joy” of missing out rather than buy into the “fear.” Instead of tricks and techniques that commoditize time, this mind-altering book suggests that we “embrace finitude” and focus on what’s most vital. Burkeman suggests a healthier relationship with time that just might be what our Creator intended.