Loyalty by Eric Felten
The Vexing Virtue

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A witty, provocative, story-filled inquiry into the indispensable virtue of loyalty—a tricky ideal that gets tangled and compromised when loyalties collide (as they inevitably do), but a virtue the author, a prizewinning columnist for The Wall Street Journal, says is as essential as it is impossible. Felten illustrates the push and pull of loyalties— from the ancient Greeks to Facebook—with stories and scenarios in which conflicting would-be moral trump cards trap the unlucky in painful ethical dilemmas. The foundation of our greatest satisfactions in life, loyalty also proves to be the root of much misery. Can we escape the excruciating predicaments when loyalties are at loggerheads? Can we avoid betraying and being betrayed?

When looking for love and friendship—the things that make life worthwhile—we are looking for loyalty. Who can we count on? And who can count on us? These are the essential (and uncomfortable) questions loyalty poses.

Loyalty and betrayal are the stuff of the great stories that move us: Agamemnon, Huck Finn, Brutus, Antigone, Judas. When is loyalty right, and when does the virtue become a vice?

As Felten writes in his thoughtful and entertaining book, loyalty is vexing. It forces us to choose who and what counts most in our lives—from siding with one friend over another to favoring our own children over others. It forces us to confront the conflicting claims of fidelity to country, community, company, church, and even ourselves. Loyalty demands we make decisions that define who we are.

About Eric Felten

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Eric Felten writes "The"?"Wall Street Journal"?s""well-regarded culture column, ?Postmodern Times.? For four years, he wrote the "Wall Street Journal"?s
Published April 26, 2011 by Simon & Schuster. 320 pages
Genres: Health, Fitness & Dieting, Self Help, Law & Philosophy, History, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction

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Wall Street Journal columnist Felten (How's Your Drink?: Cocktails, Culture, and the Art of Drinking Well, 2007, etc.) explores the ambiguous aspects of loyalty.

Apr 12 2011 | Read Full Review of Loyalty: The Vexing Virtue

Kirkus Reviews

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By trying to show how important loyalty is to our lives, and where the pitfalls are with loyalty, I am hopeful that the book can help people make loyalty an important part of their lives and make that work for people, make it less likely to end up in conflict—and when those inevitable conflicts d...

Apr 26 2011 | Read Full Review of Loyalty: The Vexing Virtue

Ben Casnocha

Almost two years ago, I wrote a post titled Loyalty: An Overrated and Dangerous Virtue: Loyalty is better viewed as a phenomenon of other traits and virtues: trustworthiness, empathy for fellow humans, investing in a relationship in good times and bad, variations of the golden rule, etc.

Oct 04 2011 | Read Full Review of Loyalty: The Vexing Virtue

Culture Mob

This is a delightful book, written with style and wit, and Felten, an award-winning columnist for the Wall Street Journal and an accomplished musician, has produced something truly unusual – a book that is at once sophisticated, entertaining, educational, and challenging.

Apr 21 2011 | Read Full Review of Loyalty: The Vexing Virtue

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