The Book of Virtues by William J. Bennett

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This 800-page volume is a collection of stories, poems, nursery rhymes, myths, fairy tales and short biographies designed to encourage moral conviction in a society that no longer places much store in morals or convictions. There are ten chapters, each dealing with a separate virtue: Self-discipline, compassion, responsibility, friendship, work, courage, perseverance, honesty, loyalty, and faith. The Book of Virtues is worth reading, at least selectively. It is of course refreshing to think that a book about “right and wrong” can still be a best seller. On the negative side, Bennett is not a believer, to my knowledge, and therefore while his stories all have a moral bend, they don’t all have a Christian bend. Some are actually anti-Christian in philosophy. Morality and Christianity are not synonymous; as a matter of fact, morality can be the enemy of the gospel. So even in a book dedicated to virtue, discernment is needed.

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