Most of us take our integrity for granted. As a result, a false confidence distorts our decision-making as individuals, in business and in our nation. The big breaches of integrity we see all around us—that we tend to blame on others—can be addressed by the “practice” of integrity as a learned skill, in our individual relationships, our workplaces and in our nation.
But first, we have to let go of the illusion that we “have” integrity as a matter of intuition and that we are innately ready for big things without practicing on small things.
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Breaches of integrity are common in our public institutions, our workplaces and even in our personal relationships. Yet each of us has the means and responsibility to repair the tear in our social and moral fabric, not by pointing fingers at others, but by recognizing and resisting the scores of small, seemingly inconsequential ways we make moral compromises in our own lives.
The Law of Small Things begins with an IQ (Integrity Quotient) test designed to reveal the casual way we regard our promises and the misconceptions we have about acting truthfully. The book shows how most people believe that integrity is something we “just have” and that we just do, like a Nike commercial. It depicts these and other deceptions we deploy to appear to act with integrity without actually doing so.
The Law of Small Things also exposes how our culture encourages breaches of integrity through an array of “permitted promise-breaking,” a language of clichés that equates self-interest with duty, and the “illusion of inconsequence” that excuses small breaches with the breezy confidence that we can fulfill integrity when it counts.
Brody challenges the prevailing notion that integrity is a possession you hold permanently. No one “has integrity” and no one is perfect in practicing it. What we have is the opportunity to uphold promises and fulfill duties in each situation that faces us, large and small. Integrity is a practice and a habit of keeping promises, the ones we make explicitly and the ones that are implied in all our relationships. Ultimately, developing skill in the practice of integrity leads us to knowledge of who we are—not in the way the culture defines us, but in the way we truly know ourselves to be.
The Law of Small Things: Creating a Habit of Integrity in a Culture of Mistrust will be published in January 15, 2019 by Berrett-Koehler.
“This book is full of examples of truthfulness and values-driven action – or the lack thereof; while also challenging us to reconsider our unthinking habits of self-justification and self-deception.”
– Mary C. Gentile PhD, author of Giving Voice to Values, University of Virginia Darden School of Business
“The Law of Small Things is both a how-to guide and a spiritual meditation. Some anecdotes read like great dinner conversations, others like Zen parables. Some trigger ‘a-ha’ moments. Almost all provoke deep, sometimes uncomfortable, identification.”
- Aaron Woolf, Peabody award winning documentary journalist
“Brody pulls the curtain back to reveal our capacity for self-delusion. He reminds us that the political turbulence of our time originates with our own “small” day-to-day decisions.”
- Richard Robbins, author of Global Problems and the Culture of Capitalism
“The Law of Small Things offers an extremely sophisticated yet practical approach to repairing the tear in the social, ethical, and moral fabric of the United States and the world. “
- Rabbi Gabriel Cousens, MD, MD(H), DD (Doctor of Divinity)