August 12th, 2008
10:25 AM ET

John Edwards - Cheating Myths

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Dr. Lisa Boesky
Psychologist, National Speaker & Author

John Edwards…many of those who didn’t want him for president still viewed him as a “nice guy.” A politician cheating? Not shocking. But, John Edwards, the squeaky clean devoted husband who let his cancer-stricken wife stand at his side throughout his entire campaign? Devastating.

Most of us have either cheated, been cheated on, or know someone who has been unfaithful. Yet, much of what we think about cheating is WRONG!

  1. Infidelity spells the end of a marriage: It definitely feels that way when you first find out—anger, depression, anxiety. There appears to be no way to work it out. But, with time (and a lot of work), it is possible to rebuild the trust. If couples seek professional help to deal with the aftermath of the affair, their chances of staying together are pretty good.

Filed under: Ethics • John Edwards
August 1st, 2008
07:41 AM ET

Is vacation ethical? The answer – and why!

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Bruce Weinstein, Ph.D.
AC360° Contributor
The Ethics Guy, BusinessWeek.com

Which of the following statements is most accurate for you?

A) I receive 15 days of paid vacation each year, and I take them—guilt-free.
B) I receive 15 days of paid vacation each year, but I feel guilty if I take any of them.
C) I haven’t had a vacation in years; I’m loyal to my company or business and am proud of this fact.
D) I work for myself and don’t take vacations; if I don’t work, I don’t make money.

Even if you chose “A,” you surely know people in the other three situations. We in the United States wear as a badge of honor the fact that we rarely, if ever, take time off from work. We need to earn a living, and many of us like what we do, so our reluctance to take vacations is justified, right?

No, it isn’t.

Leaving work behind for a period of time is not only acceptable; it is our ethical obligation.

Here’s why.

Filed under: Bruce Weinstein • Ethics • Raw Politics
July 18th, 2008
07:30 AM ET

The ethics of picking a vice president

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Bruce Weinstein, Ph.D.
AC360° Contributor
The Ethics Guy®, BusinessWeek.com

Who should Senators Barack Obama and John McCain pick as their running mates? This is one of the most debated questions in the presidential campaign, but it shouldn’t be viewed as merely a strategic concern. Whenever we ask what someone should do, and the rights or well-being of others hangs in the balance, we are asking an ethical question. That’s why who our next vice president ought to be is an important ethical issue.

The Vice Presidency: Much Ado About Nothing?

The U.S. Constitution specifies two primary duties of the vice president: to be the first in the line of succession to the office of the Presidency and to preside over the Senate. Beyond these two responsibilities, however, the Constitution leaves the exact nature of the office open to the whims of the President, and up until the 20th century, vice presidents had little contact with the executive branch.

However, nine occupants of this office have succeeded to the presidency... FULL POST

Filed under: Bruce Weinstein • Ethics • Raw Politics
July 15th, 2008
08:30 AM ET

Buying and selling celebrity baby photos

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Bruce Weinstein
AC360º contributor and The Ethics Guy, BusinessWeek

Angelina and Brad are the latest in a long line of celebrities clamoring to sell photos of their babies to the highest bidder.  Apparently, this is perfectly legal to do.

But it’s still wrong.   Here’s why.

First, the fact that we have a legal right to do something doesn’t mean that it’s right to do it.  For example, you wouldn’t be breaking the law if you routinely broke lunch dates with friends when something better came along, but it’s wrong to do such a thing.  Ethics holds us to a higher standard than the law does; it calls upon us to “live our best lives.”

Second, a parent’s most important responsibility is to be concerned primarily with protecting the interests of his or her child. It is a severe violation of this responsibility to sell photos of one’s child to the highest bidder.

“But what if that money goes to charity?,” FULL POST

Filed under: 360° Radar • Bruce Weinstein • Ethics
July 3rd, 2008
10:59 AM ET

What's Your Ethics IQ? Part 1: Ethics at Work

Bruce Weinstein, Ph.D.
The Ethics Guy, BusinessWeek

Daniel Goleman's books "Emotional Intelligence" and "Social Intelligence" have made a huge impact on our culture. We could all develop our ethical intelligence, too. That means not only understanding the difference between right and wrong, but also choosing to act ethically, especially when there is great pressure to do otherwise. It's not enough to know what's right; the ethically intelligent person does what's right, and is committed to doing so time and again.

How ethically intelligent are you at work? Take the following quiz to find out.

1. One of the people you have just hired seems to be attracted to you, and you are attracted to this person. Both of you are single. Would you:

A) Ask the person out on a date.
B) Have only a professional relationship with the person.
C) Ask the person if your intuition is correct, and if it is, discreetly pursue a romantic relationship.

2. A co-worker in the next cubicle has a habit of spending a lot of time making loud and distracting personal phone calls about things that are obviously trivial. Would you:

A) Ask the person to keep the volume at a reasonable level.
B) Focus on your own work.
C) Talk with the person about why it's in everyone's interest to limit personal phone calls.


Filed under: Bruce Weinstein • Ethics
June 18th, 2008
01:23 PM ET

What does the death of Tim Russert teach us?

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Bruce Weinstein
The Ethics Guy, BusinessWeek

The death of Tim Russert touched me deeply. I never knew him personally, but like many of those who watched him regularly, I felt as though I did.

I was particularly moved by the outpouring of love and affection from journalists. The emotional highlight was the roundtable discussion that Tom Brokaw led on Sunday’s “Meet the Press.” I’m glad that Brokaw broke his own “no weeping” rule toward the end of the program, when he choked up as he recalled the bond he shared with Russert; Mike Barnicle came close to doing the same shortly afterward. It’s been a long time since journalists allowed their feelings to come through so boldly, and rightly so.

Amidst the swirl of memories and emotions, I wondered if the panelists ever told Russert while he was alive how much he meant to them. If not, they wouldn’t be alone. After all, when are we most likely to tell someone that we care deeply about him or her? At that person’s funeral! How much good does that do for the departed? Not a lot.

Filed under: 360° Radar • Bruce Weinstein • Ethics
June 10th, 2008
08:52 PM ET

A code of ethics for politicians

Bruce Weinstein
The Ethics Guy, BusinessWeek

The campaign for the White House, which seems to have been going on forever, still has five months to go, and it’s possible that the nastiness, squabbling, and irrelevancies that have characterized this campaign – and too many before it – will get worse. This isn’t just unpleasant or unfortunate; it’s unethical, because such pettiness detracts from a meaningful debate about the issues that truly matter to the public.

I therefore propose a code of ethics for the candidates to follow. Everyone – we citizens, the political parties, the democratic process, and the candidates themselves—will win if the candidates follow this code.

The proposed guidelines are rooted in the five fundamental principles of ethics:

Filed under: Bruce Weinstein • Ethics • Raw Politics
June 6th, 2008
08:55 PM ET

iPhone 2.0: Does the i stand for isolation?

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Bruce Weinstein,
The Ethics Guy, BusinessWeek

Eleven years ago, Apple Inc. began using the phrase "Think different" in its advertising campaign, and the phrase quickly became as iconic as "Where’s the beef?," "Got milk?," and other catchy slogans.

On June 9, the company will unveil iPhone 2.0, and everyone who hopes to be cool will want one. What could be wrong with that?
A lot, as it turns out.

Our society has devolved into a mass of turned-on, tuned-out, and plugged-in technophiles. Whatever distinction used to exist between public and private life is all but gone. Waiting on line at the grocery store or post office used to mean striking up a conversation with the person in front of you; it now involves blurting the intimate details of one’s love life into a cell phone for all to hear, or scrolling through a playlist for just the right song, or checking our e-mail.

There are three costs associated with this self-absorbed behavior...

Filed under: Bruce Weinstein • Ethics • Technology
June 3rd, 2008
06:17 PM ET

The art of losing well

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Bruce Weinstein
The Ethics Guy, BusinessWeek

Why does Hillary continue to run, when the odds against her winning the Democratic Party’s nomination are so slim? Perhaps it’s because she truly believes she is the best person to be the next President of the United States. Perhaps it’s because she is convinced that, with continued determination, she can succeed at this formidable task. But the reason could be much simpler.

She may consider losing to be a form of personal failure.

If so, she is clearly not alone in feeling this way. We live in a culture that celebrates winners and chastises losers. “Winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing” might well be the unofficial motto of this country. Indeed, everyone loves a winner, but losers are viewed with scorn and derision. This is more than unfortunate; it’s unfair. I will argue that we should rethink losing and that we ought to embrace our losses, rather than run from them.

UCLA football coach Henry “Red” Sanders (who, not Vince Lombardi, coined the expression) was mistaken in holding winning to be “the only thing.” No one would rationally want to live in a world in which winning is our sole objective. There are other considerations that are as, or more, important than winning, whether the subject is football, corporate management, dating, or any other social activity.

The five fundamental principles of ethics are:

Filed under: Bruce Weinstein • Ethics • Hillary Clinton • Raw Politics
May 29th, 2008
01:29 PM ET

Scott McClellan’s Ethics

Editor's Note: Bruce Weinstein, "The Ethics Guy" will analyze the ethical issues at stake with former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan and his new book, tonight on 360° 10p ET.

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Bruce Weinstein
The Ethics Guy, BusinessWeek

For the past several days, there has been a lot of discussion about Scott McClellan and why he has written his tell-all book, “What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington's Culture of Deception.” Much of the criticism has focused on McClellan’s motivation for writing this book. Is he disgruntled? Does he feel guilty? Is he simply trying to cash in on his former position in the Bush administration?

As provocative as these questions may be, they are not nearly as important as the central ethical question raised by this story: was it right for McClellan to write such a book?

Looking at the ethical issues at stake, I argue the following:

Filed under: Bruce Weinstein • Ethics • Scott McClellan
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