Behaving Badly: The New Morality in Politics, Sex and Business
“There seems little doubt that tech has changed the way morality operates in the modern world. Few people have paid as close attention to this subject as the social critic and publishing maven Eden Collinsworth. Collinsworth spent years observing morality in a close, pragmatic way here, in Europe, and in Asia, and has written a brilliant book about it: Behaving Badly.”
—The Octavian Report
“Written with brio and great charm . . . an implausibly entertaining romp through the ethical questions of our time, a kind of romantic engagement with morals that is never moralistic.”
—Andrew Solomon, Author of Far from the Tree: Parents, Children and the Search for Identity
“Very rarely does a voice cut through all the noise and deliver a brand new take on the world as we know it, but Eden Collinsworth does just that, exploring all the in-between areas that exist in society in an extraordinarily unique way.”
“There is a case to be made that a serious subject needs to be approached both with sensitivity and a strong dose of humour if it is to hold our attention and make us think. This Collinsworth has done magnificently on the complex issues of morality.”
—Christine Loh, Under Secretary, Legislative Council of Hong Kong
What is the relevance of morality today?
Addressing this question with self-effacing wit and unremitting resourcefulness, Eden Collinsworth enlists the famous, the infamous, and the heretofore unheard-of to unravel how we make moral choices in an increasingly complex—and ethically flexible—age.
To call these unsettling times is an understatement: our political leaders are less and less respectable; in the realm of business, cheating, lying, and stealing are hazily defined; and in daily life, rapidly changing technology offers permission to act in ways inconceivable without it. Yet somehow, this hasn’t quite led to a complete free-for-all—people still draw lines around what is acceptable and what is not. Collinsworth sets out to understand how and why. In her intrepid quest, she seeks out, among others, a prime minister, the editor of the Financial Times, a holocaust survivor, a pop star, and a former commander of the U.S. Air Force and grapples with the impracticality of applying morals to foreign policy; precisely when morality gets lost in the making of money; what happens to morality without free will; whether “immoral” women are just those having a better time; why celebrities have become the new moral standard-bearers; and if testosterone is morality’s enemy or its hero.