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Ethics for the Real World: Creating a Personal Code to Guide Decisions in Work and Life by Bill Birchard, Clinton D. Korver, Ronald A. Howard

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CHAPTER 4

Draft Your Code

Committing Yourself to Ethical Principles

The moral virtues, then, are produced in us neither by nature nor against nature. Nature, indeed, prepares in us the ground for their reception, but their complete formation is the product of habit.

—Aristotle1

YEARS AGO, the head of a local law firm was shopping at a yard sale held by a woman recently widowed. He came across a legal briefcase, almost unused, recently the property of the widow’s husband. The briefcase, easily worth $300, was selling for $40. He said to the widow, “Don’t you realize how much this is worth?” She answered disconsolately, “I don’t care; I just want to get rid of it.”

The attorney paid the $40 and walked away. But he never used the briefcase. ...

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