Book title : Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do?
Author : Michael J. Sandel
Review by: Ahmet Bozer, former executive vice president of the Coca-Cola Co. and president of Coca-Cola International
Since the 2007-08 financial crisis, I have been thinking that we are in transition from one human era to another. Events throughout 2017 strengthened this belief, prompting me to read this thought-provoking book again. As we move into a new era which will most likely be shaped by technological advancement, the question really is: Are we going to be better off?
In my view, how we think about the concept of justice is fundamental in answering this question. Justice means more than living with rule of law. Even if laws are made by the elected, for a number of reasons, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are just.
With these thoughts in mind, I have been looking for a deeper discussion on the topic of justice. I was not looking for answers, but for intellectual stimulation, and Sandel delivered. He does a superb job in providing a history of philosophical thought on justice as well as making one think about the wisdom from the past in the context of what happens today. It certainly spurred enhanced thoughtfulness on the subject, both as a human being and as a business professional. In an indirect way, it also reinforced my belief that in business, we sometimes try to improve performance without focusing sufficiently on the human angle.
As one reads and thinks through the book, it is fascinating to see how humanity moves forward through competition between different and sometimes opposing ideologies. But sometimes in our work and personal lives, that healthy balance can be elusive. We’re not always inclusive enough in our dialogue to try and find the best fusion in diversity.
Namik Kemal, a 19th century Ottoman intellectual, writer and more, said that “The truth shines through the fight of ideas.” I wish humanity would take that to heart in this difficult age, and this book is a good place to start for anyone interested in deeper thought on the topic in their personal, professional or social lives.