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Book review: Giving Voice to Values – Mary Gentile (2012)



Giving Voice to Values: How to Speak Your Mind When You Know What’s Right offers advice on how to stand up for your personal values when you are pressured by your boss, colleagues, customers or shareholders to do the opposite.

The book is inspired by the author’s curriculum, launched at the Aspen Institute with Yale School of Management, which has been piloted in over 400 schools and organisations. Whilst business schools tend to devote time to analysing ethical issues they don’t focus on developing the skills to act upon ethical dilemmas and Giving Voice to Values is designed to fill this gap.

Gentile, who spent a decade at Harvard Business School, gives readers the tools they need to align their professional lives with their principles through the book. She argues that the issue is that people don’t know how to act on their values when they are under pressure not to do so, rather than being able to distinguish right from wrong.

The book challenges assumptions about business and ethics and draws upon a wealth of experiences and case studies to demonstrate various points. Self-assessment practical exercises are also included.

There are also scripts for handling a wide range of ethical dilemmas, although the text challenges readers to think for themselves and decide how they would act in a certain situation.

This practical guide can help people act on their convictions and as a result act more responsibly and ethically.

Whilst the book is aimed at people in business, and written with this in mind, it can be a valuable guide to anyone wanting to act on their values. If you’ve ever kept silent against your better judgement then Giving Voice to Values is an ideal read.