Winner of the Zocalo Book Prize
A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice
"Combines powerful moral arguments with superb storytelling."
What moral values do we hold in common? As globalization draws us together economically, are the things we value converging or diverging? These twin questions led Michael Ignatieff to embark on a three-year, eight-nation journey in search of an answer. What we share, he found, are what he calls "ordinary virtues": tolerance, forgiveness, trust, and resilience. When conflicts break out, these virtues are easily exploited by the politics of fear and exclusion, reserved for one's own group but denied to others. Yet these ordinary virtues are the key to healing and reconciliation on both a local and global scale.
"Makes for illuminating reading."
-Simon Winchester, New York Review of Books
"Engaging, articulate and richly descriptive... Ignatieff's deft histories, vivid sketches and fascinating interviews are the soul of this important book."
-Times Literary Supplement
"Deserves praise for wrestling with the devolution of our moral worlds over recent decades."
-Los Angeles Review of Books [This] is a selective moral progress report, an 'intimate sociology and anthropology of ethics' that is engaging, articulate and richly descriptive... Ignatieff's deft histories, vivid sketches, and fascinating interviews are the soul of this important book. They take us from Los Angeles to Rio de Janeiro, to Bosnia, Myanmar, South Africa and Japan; and they inform his answer to its guiding question. For Ignatieff, the ideology of human rights has fallen short. What sustains the fragile flourishing of global cities and diverse communities is not faith in human rights but the 'ordinary virtues' of tolerance, forgiveness, resilience and trust, made possible by adequate maintenance of the rule of law. The ordinary virtues are an open-source operating system, a moral vernacular by which members of different ethnic and religious groups are able to live, if not together, then side by side.-- (11/03/2017) [An] admirable little book.--James Traub"New York Times Book Review" (10/15/2017) A book of considerable style and substance...There is much wisdom in this book.--Joe Humphreys"Irish Times" (01/13/2018) In this extraordinary book, Michael Ignatieff travels across the globe to explore two apparently opposite things: what divides us from each other, and what enables communities of strangers to live side by side. He doubts whether a single legal, religious, or philosophical code can uni
The Ordinary Virtues