The Common Good (Paperback)

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At one of his author events, Craig Johnson said he wanted his character, Sheriff Walt Longmire, to embody kindness and decency, said we needed it in the world.  Robert Reich takes on that subject pointing out the way things used to be, when corporations had roots in the community and leaders were expected to serve the interest of citizens.  He points out that this moral way of being has broken down, that instead of working for The Common Good, leaders and captains of industry are often out for themselves, willing to lie and skirt the law to enrich themselves and further their aims.  Rich provides a long list of tipping points that moved the nation away from altruism toward greed, culminating in a president willing to lie, frequently.  This book is not about one president, or one political party, it is about a philosophy of being truthful, caring about community, and having a regard for others. 

— Deon Stonehouse


Robert B. Reich makes a powerful case for the expansion of America’s moral imagination. Rooting his argument in common sense and everyday reality, he demonstrates that a common good constitutes the very essence of any society or nation. Societies, he says, undergo virtuous cycles that reinforce the common good as well as vicious cycles that undermine it, one of which America has been experiencing for the past five decades. This process can and must be reversed. But first we need to weigh the moral obligations of citizenship and carefully consider how we relate to honor, shame, patriotism, truth, and the meaning of leadership.

Powerful, urgent, and utterly vital, this is a heartfelt missive from one of our foremost political thinkers.

About the Author

ROBERT B. REICH is Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley. He has served in three national administrations and has written fifteen books, including The Work of Nations, Saving Capitalism, Supercapitalism, and Locked in the Cabinet. His articles have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal. He is co-creator of the award-winning documentary Inequality for All and of the Netflix documentary Saving Capitalism, and is co-founder of Inequality Media. He lives in Berkeley and blogs at

Praise For…

“Against the grain of much liberal thinking . . . Reich’s proposals would make a good starting point for a new progressive political project.” —Michael J. Sandel, The New York Times Book Review

“Very timely . . . Reich’s work is an important call for reform that should appeal to a wide audience disaffected with the status quo.” —Library Journal (starred review)

“Reich’s lucidly defining and empowering call for revitalized civic awareness—complete with an enticing list of recommended reading and discussion guide—is an ideal catalyst for book-group conversations.” —Booklist
“Clear-voiced and accessible.” —Publishers Weekly

“Brief but well-argued . . . a provocative essay.” —Kirkus
Product Details
ISBN: 9780525436379
ISBN-10: 0525436375
Publisher: Vintage
Publication Date: January 15th, 2019
Pages: 208
Language: English