Book Review: The Righteous Mind

“If you think that moral reasoning is something we do to figure out the truth, you’ll be constantly frustrated by how foolish, biased, and illogical people become when they disagree with you.”

Haidt, Jonathan. The Righteous Mind . Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

During the 2021 COVID-19 pandemic, I witnessed and experienced strain within my social circle. Friendships, romances, and family relationships were eroded because of differences in opinions and beliefs. Friction amongst people is nothing new, but it was impressive to see how the pandemic accentuated and accelerated the effect.

Jonathan Haidt, is the author of “The Righteous Mind.” He is a psychologist and morals specialist. He is the creator of the “Elephant and the Rider” analogy, which Noom uses very extensively to describe people’s eating behavior. And that’s what drove me to look into his books. At the time, I also was into reading behavioral psychology, and morals seemed a natural step.

The book promised to answer my question: “Why can’t people just get along or be more tolerant?” It delivered the answer loud and clear.

Throughout the pages of the book, the reader will discover many interesting facts:

  • How humans feel first, and reason second.
  • All the various components of morals, and how people are sensitive to each.
  • How we behave as individuals and as groups.

Every topic is discussed with examples that apply to today’s social context.

My takeaways:

After reading the book, I began to see the world slightly differently. It became very evident how quickly I was judging, and all the information I was not taking into consideration. It also opened the door to another topic for book hunt: compassion.

The book is very well written and backed by an extensive amount of research and it’s full of citations. What I liked about it, is that the author starts by saying “I’m a democrat” but at no point in the book his narrative seems to take any side, but rather being very descriptive.

I definitely recommend this book to everyone.

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