Richard Reeves introduces this collection of short essays with a challenge: I defy you to find a richer set of writings on the philosophical, empirical, and practical issues raised by a focus on character, and in particular its relationship to questions of opportunity. The evidence? The works of sixteen thoughtful skeptics of and enthusiasts for the public endeavor of character cultivation. The authors in this collection provide differing political perspectives to give at least equal weight to the moral dimensions of character as well as strong demands to honor individual free will and individual development. This collection includes essays that draw attention to the gendered nature of character formation; stress the importance of culture and social norms; and explain the impact of chronic stress in the early years. Still others argue that the construction of a policy agenda for the cultivation of character poses a stark challenge to the partisan culture of contemporary politics, but may also alleviate it by reinvigoratingcommunity life. As Reeves writes, dont take his word for it. Read the essays and see for yourself.
Does Character Matter?
Brookings Institution Press
Essays on Opportunity and the American Dream