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Book Excerpt: Practical Wisdom

The rules we need to guide and govern the behavior of people who are not wise

We do need rules to guide and govern the behavior of people who are not wise: one reason we suffered the recent financial crisis was because weak and loosely enforced rules and regulations allowed shrewd money-making schemes like derivatives to run amok. But tighter rules and regulations, however necessary, are pale substitutes for wisdom … At the same time, rules alone guarantee mediocrity — forcing the truly motivated to become outlaws, rule-breakers pursuing a kind of guerrilla war to achieve excellence — and risk squeezing out wisdom.

— Adapted from Practical Wisdom: The Right Way to Do the Right Thing by Barry Schwartz and Kenneth Sharpe, by arrangement with Riverhead Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA).

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