The Common Good Book Summary - The Common Good Book explained in key points
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The Common Good summary

Robert B. Reich

Spread the word of the good deed before it’s too late

3.9 (51 ratings)
18 mins

Brief summary

The Common Good by Robert B. Reich argues that we must prioritize the well-being of society over individual interests. It provides insight into how we can achieve a more equitable and prosperous future for all.

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    The Common Good
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    The common good sums up the ideals and values society needs in order to function.

    On any given day in America, thousands of nurses, doctors, social workers and teachers do what they must to save lives, assist people and spread knowledge. And, to maintain the safety of the community and of the nation, there are thousands of police officers, firefighters and people in the armed forces.

    What these people have in common is that they’re all contributing to the common good of society.

    The common good is comprised of the values, ideals and norms shared by a society. It is what citizens expect of one another and what connects them to one another. In other words, it’s the unwritten laws of morality that we choose to live by and the ideals we hold as one community.

    Explicitly, it consists of ideals like freedom, fairness, equality in the court of law, equal opportunity, respect for others and their opinions, a sense of community and trust in public institutions, such as universities and courts.

    This notion of a virtuous society has its roots in the Bible and the Enlightenment.

    Indeed, James Madison, the founding father and fourth US president, took direct inspiration from the philosophers of the French Enlightenment when he wrote in Federalist No. 45 that “the public good and real welfare of the great body of the people, is the supreme object to be pursued.”

    The Bible also shaped the idea of the common good. America was once a country made up of many religious communities, whose devotees were pious, charitable and dedicated to the good of society.

    The common good – a set of social values and ideals – took shape, in part, as a result of this dedication.

    If the notion of the common good didn’t exist, we’d probably think that the police, judges, legislators and regulators were benefiting from the laws they were enforcing. And if that were the case, there would be no fairness or justice, leaving everyone to look out for themselves in a jungle where only the strongest, smartest or richest would survive.

    Though a chaotic, corrupt society doesn’t sound ideal, there are some who disagree with the notion of the common good. We’ll explore their views in the next blink.

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    What is The Common Good about?

    The Common Good (2018) is a call for Americans to try and work toward the collective good once again, rather than continue along the path of “whatever-it-takes-to-win,” which has been the overriding mentality for the last few decades. The author outlines the importance of the common good and how we should go about restoring it.

    The Common Good Review

    The Common Good (2018) by Robert B. Reich is a thought-provoking read that explores the importance of the common good in our society. Here's why this book is worth your time:

    • Reich presents compelling arguments about how prioritizing the common good can lead to a fairer and more prosperous society.
    • The book provides a wide range of examples from history, politics, and economics to support its ideas, making it insightful and informative.
    • With its practical suggestions for promoting the common good, the book empowers readers to take action and make a positive impact in their communities.

    Best quote from The Common Good

    The idea of the common good was once widely understood and accepted in America.

    —Robert B. Reich
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    Who should read The Common Good?

    • Americans who are concerned about the current political environment
    • People who feel that Western capitalism is losing its moral compass
    • Those interested in American cultural and social history

    About the Author

    Robert Reich teaches public policy at the University of California, Berkeley. He’s written over a dozen books, including the best seller Saving Capitalism. During Bill Clinton’s presidency, he served as Secretary of Labor.

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    The Common Good FAQs 

    What is the main message of The Common Good?

    The main message of The Common Good is the importance of working together for the benefit of society.

    How long does it take to read The Common Good?

    The reading time for The Common Good varies, but it typically takes a few hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in 15 minutes.

    Is The Common Good a good book? Is it worth reading?

    The Common Good is a thought-provoking book that offers insights into building a better society. It's definitely worth reading.

    Who is the author of The Common Good?

    The author of The Common Good is Robert B. Reich.

    What to read after The Common Good?

    If you're wondering what to read next after The Common Good, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • Suicide of the West by Jonah Goldberg
    • The American Presidency by Charles O. Jones
    • Populism by Cas Mudde and Cristóbal Rovira Kaltwasser
    • Saving Capitalism by Robert B. Reich
    • How to Think Like a Philosopher by Peter Cave
    • Win Every Argument by Mehdi Hasan
    • Philosophical Investigations by Ludwig Wittgenstein
    • The Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory by Tim Alberta
    • Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
    • Free Speech by Jacob Mchangama