The Book of Virtues Info

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Responsibility. Courage. Compassion. Honesty. Friendship.
Persistence. Faith. Everyone recognizes these traits as essentials of
good character. In order for our children to develop such traits, we
have to offer them examples of good and bad, right and wrong. And the
best places to find them are in great works of literature and exemplary
stories from history.
William J. Bennett has collected hundreds of
stories in The Book of Virtues, an instructive and inspiring
anthology that will help children understand and develop character --
and help adults teach them. From the Bible to American history, from
Greek mythology to English poetry, from fairy tales to modern fiction,
these stories are a rich mine of moral literacy, a reliable moral
reference point that will help anchor our children and ourselves in our
culture, our history, and our traditions -- the sources of the ideals by
which we wish to live our lives. Complete with instructive
introductions and notes, The Book of Virtues is a book the whole
family can read and enjoy -- and learn from -- together.

Average Ratings and Reviews
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Reviews for The Book of Virtues:

5

May 24, 2018

GOOD AND BAD CHILDREN (excerpt)
by Robert Louis Stevenson

You must still be bright and quiet,
And content with simple diet;
And remain, through all bewild'ring
Innocent and honest children…

But the unkind and the unruly,
And the sort who eat unduly,
They must never hope for glory -
Theirs is quite a different story!

Cruel children, crying babies,
All grow up as geese and gabies,
Hated, as their age increases,
By their nephews and their nieces!

5

Mar 01, 2010

Reading excerpts from this book at a time is like sitting down in front of the fire with your Grandpa or Grandma telling you stories you can fall asleep too. All the stories, essays, poems, songs, rhymes uphold a virtue. They range from humorous to serious in nature. Any book that carries Henry V's battle cry, "Once more unto the breach, dear friends," belongs in the home library.
5

Aug 28, 2008

5.0 stars (I would give it more if I could). An absolutely superb collection of stories brilliantly edited by William Bennett. A wonderful teaching tool for parents and a lot of fun for kids.
4

Jun 07, 2007

Well I'm rounding 700 pages in this 815-page monster, so I'm going to call it read. Hope you won't protest.
The Book of Virtues is a very large collection of interesting fiction, non-fiction, children's poems, Greek myth, biblical stories, inspiring speeches once given, historical figures' journal entries, tall tales and such. They are loosely compiled according to the "virtue" they posses. This is just the kind of thing I love: Things that are fanciful and thought provoking. Over the course of Well I'm rounding 700 pages in this 815-page monster, so I'm going to call it read. Hope you won't protest.
The Book of Virtues is a very large collection of interesting fiction, non-fiction, children's poems, Greek myth, biblical stories, inspiring speeches once given, historical figures' journal entries, tall tales and such. They are loosely compiled according to the "virtue" they posses. This is just the kind of thing I love: Things that are fanciful and thought provoking. Over the course of the last year or so it has made a wonderful before-bed book. I will get the second installment, The Moral Compass for sure. If I ever have kids, I will read these to them.
As much as it would be grand that the Book of Virtues was brought you by some innocuous scholar, and even better if it was brought to you by someone who represents a true beacon of good will in society, we must face the plain truth is that this book is brought to you (edited, with commentary) by... a right wing conservative republican. Or so I is strongly suggested given that he worked as the Secretary of Education under George Sr. and no other than Margaret Thatcher and RUSH LIMBAUGH write praises on the back cover. I have thought of this often while I've read the book and wondered, am I reading propaganda? Am I perhaps a moral republican masquerading as a liberal?
No. It's a good book. These are fabulous stories. I am afraid to find out more about this man, because, as an open minded and caring person I am willing to believe that really good people embrace all kinds of philosophies and I hope against hopes that this man is as good as the tales he brings together. You just have to let that go, and laugh at the fact that on the back Rush basically implies he was the inspiration and impetus for the whole damn thing! Tear off the back cover and enjoy a book for children and adult children, like me.
...more
5

Jan 20, 2013

"The Book of Virtues" is made up of smaller stories on important life virtues. I was actually kind of excited to read some of the smaller stories, mostly the ones that mean the most to me. I read Loyalty(pg663-737) and Self Discipline(pg19-104), which were both very interesting. I enjoyed Loyalty most, I think because I can relate to that more. One quote in Loyalty is ,"We don't have to like those to whom we are loyal, and they don't have to like us". Reading this quote made me think twice about "The Book of Virtues" is made up of smaller stories on important life virtues. I was actually kind of excited to read some of the smaller stories, mostly the ones that mean the most to me. I read Loyalty(pg663-737) and Self Discipline(pg19-104), which were both very interesting. I enjoyed Loyalty most, I think because I can relate to that more. One quote in Loyalty is ,"We don't have to like those to whom we are loyal, and they don't have to like us". Reading this quote made me think twice about the true meaning of the word "loyal". When I think of being loyal, I think of being honest and giving someone the respect they deserve. This quote is saying that even if you don't like someone, you need to remain civil to them and treat them like you would treat any other person. Looking at both meanings, I have decided that mine and the book's quote both make up the whole meaning of loyalty. I have a girlfriend in which I am loyal to. I do not lie to her and she trusts me because of that. I also show loyalty by being respectful even to those I don't care for. Now that I understand more about loyalty, I am going to make sure that I always remember the true meaning when dealing with anybody affecting my life. The other short story I read is called Self Discipline, something I don't have. Reading this story really made me realize not discipling myself is ONLY hurting me. This short story was mostly made of poems, but there was also some writing to help the reader understand the big picture. I didn't really understand the poems, so it was a good thing there was reading. I have made many mistakes in my life, some I have made more than once. School and grades are my biggest. "I would do anything to go and start highschool over again", is one quote I catch myself saying all the time. Thinking about it, that's my first problem. I need to stop feeling sorry for myself, realize the choices I have made, and correct the wrong ones. If I would have disciplined myself when I had made wrong choices, there is a good chance I wouldn't have made the same bad choices again. In the future I will discipline myself. If I want to succeed in life and become a better person, I need to realize when I do something wrong and I need to make sure I teach myself not to do it again. "The Book of Virtues" is a really great book, and I reccomend it to anyone but mostly teens. I feel that anyone who reads this will have a better point of view on themselves and people around them. Just these two short stories have made an impact on me, and I think I will read the rest. ...more
2

Nov 03, 2008

Oh. That was my reaction once I finally got around to cracking this tome open. It turns out this book is not what I was thinking it was going to be. Based on the title, I was expecting real, true stories that illustrated great moral truths. Ya know, like the guy who was honest about the clerk giving him too much change, even though he didn't know how he was going to feed his family that night, and then because of his honesty, the store manager offers him a job, and he's able to feed his family Oh. That was my reaction once I finally got around to cracking this tome open. It turns out this book is not what I was thinking it was going to be. Based on the title, I was expecting real, true stories that illustrated great moral truths. Ya know, like the guy who was honest about the clerk giving him too much change, even though he didn't know how he was going to feed his family that night, and then because of his honesty, the store manager offers him a job, and he's able to feed his family forever, etc. That kind of thing. But no, this is a book of fables, nursery rhymes, popular myths (okay, some of it is true), that are the kind of thing parents repeat to their children to scare them into obedience. Not exactly inspiring.
Actually, in my skimming I came across a poem my mom had me memorize as a child. It's called (I believe) "Little Orphan Annie" and is about the help (Annie) who tells the children how "The goblins will get you, if you don't watch out!" and how other children were disrespectful to their elders or didn't keep their rooms clean or whatever, and were snatched away by demonic goblins in the night. I thought that was a good illustration of the purposes of this book.
Granted, it's large enough that there's bound to be some worthwhile material in it. But not too much. I recommend getting your inspiration elsewhere. ...more
5

Apr 25, 2010

I remember being introduced to this book on my tenth birthday, when it was given to me as a birthday gift. I was completely fascinated by the thickness of the thing, and I was so proud at the thought of reading through it all. I did eventually read it all, and after that one read I went back and read my favorite stories over and over. Some were very serious, others more lighthearted, some funny, and still some that were unbelievable - but to a child's mind, deliciously fictional.
Perhaps some I remember being introduced to this book on my tenth birthday, when it was given to me as a birthday gift. I was completely fascinated by the thickness of the thing, and I was so proud at the thought of reading through it all. I did eventually read it all, and after that one read I went back and read my favorite stories over and over. Some were very serious, others more lighthearted, some funny, and still some that were unbelievable - but to a child's mind, deliciously fictional.
Perhaps some grown-ups might find the tales in the book silly or useless, but to the imagination, nothing is silly or useless, and children are full of imagination.
Finally, I credit this book with instilling in me a love for the form of the short story, and a love for simple stories. ...more
1

Dec 09, 2008

All Bennett proved is that he can compile good stories than he didn't write but liked. And then he makes a lot of money from it. No original thinking here and shouldn't original thinking be one of the highest virtues?
5

Jul 11, 2010

some kids had "Goodnight Moon" and stuff like that.
I had the Book of Virtues. Thanks, parents.
:P
4

May 19, 2009

This is a fantastic book! A collection of works that is easy to dip in and out of during the day. This book was originally intended for kids but I feel that adults can gain much from this book. I am currently reading the chapter titled "Compassion." I have to share this one particular entry with you:
The Sin of Omission by Margaret E. Sangster

It isn't the thing you do, dear,
Its the thing you leave undone
That gives you a bit of a heartache
At setting of the sun.
The tender work forgotten,
The This is a fantastic book! A collection of works that is easy to dip in and out of during the day. This book was originally intended for kids but I feel that adults can gain much from this book. I am currently reading the chapter titled "Compassion." I have to share this one particular entry with you:
The Sin of Omission by Margaret E. Sangster

It isn't the thing you do, dear,
Its the thing you leave undone
That gives you a bit of a heartache
At setting of the sun.
The tender work forgotten,
The letter you did not write,
The flowers you did not send, dear,
Are your haunting ghosts at night.

The stone you might have lifted
Out of a brother's way;
The bit of heartsome counsel
You were hurried too much to say;
The loving touch of the hand, dear,
The gentle, winning tone
Which you had no time nor thought for
With troubles enough of your own.

Thoes little acts of kindness
So easily out of mind,
Thoes chances to be angels
Which we poor mortals find~
They come in night and silence,
Each sad, reproachful wraith,
When hope is faint and flagging,
And a chill has fallen on faith.

For life is all too short, dear,
And sorrow is all to great,
To suffer our slow compassion
That tarries until too late:
And it isn't the thing you do, dear,
It's the thing you leave undone
Which gives you a bit of heartache
At the setting of the sun.




...more
5

Jul 19, 2012

A big fat book of many types of stories that are arranged by the virtue they illustrate- honesty, hard work, courage, etc. There's a little bit of everything in here for a family- from a little spooky tale of The Wee, Wee Woman to the inspiration of Washington's Farewell Address.There are Greek myths and retellings of scripture stories. There are songs and poems. There are even things we didn't agree with, or the kids found disturbing in small ways. They led to important discussions on dealing A big fat book of many types of stories that are arranged by the virtue they illustrate- honesty, hard work, courage, etc. There's a little bit of everything in here for a family- from a little spooky tale of The Wee, Wee Woman to the inspiration of Washington's Farewell Address.There are Greek myths and retellings of scripture stories. There are songs and poems. There are even things we didn't agree with, or the kids found disturbing in small ways. They led to important discussions on dealing with adults, growing up, making wise choices, etc.
We have never gotten through this entire book in all the years the kids have been growing up. I also enjoy picking it up once in awhile and reading a short something or other. I just let it fall open and read where it lands. Unfortunately, certain stories have brought us back again and again, so the book falls to those. I cheat and flip some pages downstream and dip in there. Quite refreshing. ...more
3

Jul 09, 2009

I borrowed this book from the library with the intention of having "family reading time". I read the stories myself and kept a list of the stories that I thought my 13 year old daughter would be most interested in. Dang teenagers... she didn't want anything to do with it! As for myself, there were some stories I really liked and others, not so much.
5

Jan 27, 2013

Every person, be they very young or very old, should own this book.
5

March 16, 2016

The contentment that brings is unbelievable the truth and knowledge is undescribable
4

May 07, 2019

This had an abundance of good stories, but also a few I didn't care for.

"Kill Devil Hill" included a misuse of God's name (pg. 148), "The Ballad of John Henry (pp.153-154) used a dialectal misuse repeatedly ("Lawd, Lawd"). The excerpt from Anne Frank's diary (pp. 184-188) included some boy-crazy talk and bragging (though the last two paragraphs were admirable). "Our Lady's Juggler" (pp. 352-359) featured the deification of Mary and the people worshipped her and prayed to her as having taken the This had an abundance of good stories, but also a few I didn't care for.

"Kill Devil Hill" included a misuse of God's name (pg. 148), "The Ballad of John Henry (pp.153-154) used a dialectal misuse repeatedly ("Lawd, Lawd"). The excerpt from Anne Frank's diary (pp. 184-188) included some boy-crazy talk and bragging (though the last two paragraphs were admirable). "Our Lady's Juggler" (pp. 352-359) featured the deification of Mary and the people worshipped her and prayed to her as having taken the role of Almighty God.

There was a lot of cultural folklore and mythology presented as such (which I didn't mind and appreciated for what they were), as well as Bible history presented as stories (rather than as real and true history) (which I did mind and wish had been presented differently, rather than stuck in among the legends as if they were no more than legends themselves).

This was my second time reading this through (the first time silently a long time ago, and the second time aloud to my kids) and I find that I judged it more carefully this time. I think it is a valuable resource for older elementary/teens, but am disappointed by some of the selections--which is understandable considering its wide scope. In the future, we'll just read the parts we like. :-)

...more
5

Oct 23, 2010

WELL WELL.....WELL. I WAS ON A RUNNERS HIGH WHEN I WALKED INTO THE NEW BARNES AND NOBLES IN KANEOHE. I'VE NEVER BEEN MORE RIGHT ABOUT KNOWING SUBDUALY THAT IN THE PSYCHOLOGY SECTION THE BOOK TEEMED, "THE HELPING FRIENDLY BOOK" DID TOO EXIST. I AJOINED MY CHILDHOOD YEARS FLUNKING GRAMMAR AND GRADESCHOOL FOR EXELENT REVIEWS RATHER THAN LAST NIGHTS HOMEWORK WHICH MIGHT BE AND REALLY MUST HAVE BEEN COMPLETE FOR HONORING THE STUDENTS OF THE PASTS AND OUR FOREFATHERS WE EDIT TODAY, THE PROPHETS WE HAD WELL WELL.....WELL. I WAS ON A RUNNERS HIGH WHEN I WALKED INTO THE NEW BARNES AND NOBLES IN KANEOHE. I'VE NEVER BEEN MORE RIGHT ABOUT KNOWING SUBDUALY THAT IN THE PSYCHOLOGY SECTION THE BOOK TEEMED, "THE HELPING FRIENDLY BOOK" DID TOO EXIST. I AJOINED MY CHILDHOOD YEARS FLUNKING GRAMMAR AND GRADESCHOOL FOR EXELENT REVIEWS RATHER THAN LAST NIGHTS HOMEWORK WHICH MIGHT BE AND REALLY MUST HAVE BEEN COMPLETE FOR HONORING THE STUDENTS OF THE PASTS AND OUR FOREFATHERS WE EDIT TODAY, THE PROPHETS WE HAD SLAIN, THE EDUCATION FORLORN TO SLAVES, TO BE WITH IT, COMPLETED FOREVER INTO WIT THE FOREGROUND OF GLOBAL-AMERICAN-SKILLED-STUDENTS, WHO SO ARDENTLY HAD KEEP THE LOVE BETWEEN SUCH A MOTHER UNTO A CHILD. LIKE THE ITS BISTY SPIDER, ALL DOWN THE DRAIN, DRIED UP ALL AGAIN, CONTRASTED MORAL BY MORAL IN CHAPTER IN CHAPTER THE SIMPLE TRUTH. AND I SAY THIS WITH NO REMORSE OR PREFIXED THAT LIGHT IS THE ONLY MOMENT IN TIME THAT WE CONROL THE WAY THINGS USE AND TO BE... TO UNDERSTAND THAT "THE LETTER BY MARTIN LUTHER FROM THE BERMINGHAM CITY JAIL, STILL PEACE AND LOVE SCRIBED ON CRUMPLY PAPER...ABSOLUTE AS THE GOAT ATE, DID CONTRAST THE LOVE OF MISTER KING...EXORSIZED AND COPIED? NOT FOR NILL. AIRPLANE JETS, MALCOM X , JOHN F. KENNEDY; EXAMPLES OF REAL AS THE COGITO, YET WITHOUT THE THOUGHT THAT MAKES EXISTANCE; HOW CAN THE MEDIA WE BUY FOR SIMPLE PLEASURE EQUL TO THE EFFORT OF THE AUTHORS OF MANY MANY MANY MANY MANY MANY AMERICANS WHO ARE LIBERATED BY THE PATH OF THE RIECHOUS, THAT HE WHO CAST THE FIRST STONE, THAT THE STONE THAT THE BUILDER REFUSE WHAT SHALL BE THE HEAD CORNER STONE. I TURN TO THE SHORT STORY. I TURN TO THE INTRODUCTION TO THE PARAGRAPHS THAT THE HELPING FRIENDLY BOOK WITH PHILOSOPHY OF WHY THE BOOKS ARE NUMBERED, UNPLAUGERIZED, ARE NOT ONLY THE CROSS TO CARY BUT A CREDIT FOR HISTORY ITSELF WILL FINALLY NOT BE BORING.

WE THE PEOPLE OF WILLIAM H. BENNET OWN THE INFORMATION AND THEN WHEN IT IS READ SHALL HAVE IT LAST LAST, FOR THE BRAVERY OF OUR SOLIDIERS WILL ONE DAY NOT LAUGH AT THE IDOSYCRACY PLOTTED BY THE TERRORIST, THAT LORD FORGIVE ME IF I WROTE A GUIDE TO BEING A TERRORIST BOOK TRANSLATED TO THE MEANS THAT 9-11 WAS LOST OVER A CARDGAME WITH LEBONON OR WHOEVER WE WERE AT WAR WITH. THAT EVEN THE FORESHADOWED PLOT PLANNED BY THE PRESIDENTS TO PROTECT AND SERVE AND SHARE THE LIBERITES THAT WE ALOL LIVE AND REIN WITH PEACE ON EARTH FOREVER. BECAUSE OF SONG SO QUICKLY DID AFRICA UNITE. THAT I HAD A DREAM ONCE THAT WHAT ISEE IN FRONT OF ME IS THE VERY TRUTH AND THE RIGHT THAT NO ONE HAD TO EXPRESS. HOW LONG COULD WE RUN FROM THE TRUTH AND THE RIGHT? AGAINST WHO? THAT UNTIL THAT DAY WHEN NO LONGER ARE FIRST CLASS OR SECOND CLASS CITIZENS OF ANY NATION, AND UNTIL THE COLOR OF A MANS SKIN HAS NO MORE SIGNIFIGANCE THAN THE COLOR OF HIS EYES, THAT UNTIL THAT DAY IN 1963 AS BOb MARLEY SING THE NOMORE SIGNIFICACE THAT THE COLOR OF HIS EYE. THAT ALL THE PEOPLE ARE KNOW THE AFRICAN CONTINENT WILL REMAIN BUT A FLEETING ILLUSION TO BE MORALLY PERSUED, WAR WAR AND RUMORS OF WAR TO BE PERSUED WAR BUT NEVER ATTAINED, THERE WILL BE ALWAYS WAR. tHE AMERICANS LIVES OF WHICH PILOTED THE MORALITY OF THE GODS TO BRING US TOGETHER IS TO BE THAT DAY UNDERSTOOD BY MEN, AND ALL THAT FOLLOW THE MOST HIGH, WILL RISE TO THE HEAVEN S RELEION LIKE A WAATER TO AND ENDLESS WELL OF THE TRUTH AND THE RIGHT, IS WHAT BENNET HAS COLLECTED.
REGGAE MUSIC IS MY CHOICE BECAUSE JAH ASK ELIJAH THESE MEN WILL SURVIVE TO KNOW THAT THE WAR IN THE EAST, WAR IN THE WST, WAR UP NORTH AND WAR DOWN SOUTH, NO NO NO NO THERE IS NO NEED FOR WAR, BUT PEACE, THAT WE HAVE ASKED THE QUESTIONS FOR MORE THAN HALF OF MY LIFE CO-AUTHOR AND RASTA THE FIRST IS NOT AFRAID IN THE FIGHT GOOAND WE KNOW WE SHALL WIN BOTH SIDES, THOUGH I DON'T LOVE THAT SO MUCH AS A MAN SOLIDER, SERVING UNDER THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, HAVE TO EXPRESSION THEY SAY , THAT MUSIC IS TEH ONE GOOD THING I BELIEVE IN JUST THIS.


AND FROM THAT DAY CAME NO PEICE TALK OVER THE TELEVISON OF LIES AND DISTORTION ARE WITH YEILD

WHAT DO YOU THINK HE MEANT WHEN OBAMA JUST STATED THE FACT
THE SHOW IS OVER EXIT STAGE LEFT...AND HE COOL WALKED OFF-SEIZE FIRE.


CHILDREN ITS WHAT THE BIBLE SAY THAT WE WE ARE IGNORANT THAT WE AND DEM KNOW ALL THE PEOPLE MISS THAT, WE NO KNOW ALLL THE PEOPLEOF THE WORLD WHO MISS THAT, I WANT TO START FROM THE BEGINNING , WHERE JAH CREATED EVERYTHING, AND HE GAVE MAN, DOMINION OVER OUR WORLD, BUT WE HAD NO FATE IN THIS WAR, YOU SEE MEN HAVE WHENT AND LOST ALL THEIR FAITH , AND WE CRINGE THAT WE NO HAVE NO FAITH EATING UP ALL THE FLESH FROM OUR DEAD. THAT WE DON'T LISTEN....YOU HEAR WHAT A MAN SAID!

BOB "BUNNY" MARLEY- RASTA THE FIRST
A.K.A. BOB BENETTE, AUTHOR AND COLLECTOR OF "THE HELPING FRIENDLY BOOK"-PROJECT FOR KIDS WHO LEARN. ...more
5

Apr 13, 2014

This audio collection is very nostalgic for me. I remember the times when my mother would play these for me (in glorious cassette form, no less!), and I would listen to these memorable stories, told with only the most soothing of voices, until I fell asleep. When I got older, my mother had the cassettes recorded and burnt into CDs, and I, in turn, got the MP3s and listen to them on my portable media player from time to time.

The stories come from far and wide, featuring the mighty Genghis Khan to This audio collection is very nostalgic for me. I remember the times when my mother would play these for me (in glorious cassette form, no less!), and I would listen to these memorable stories, told with only the most soothing of voices, until I fell asleep. When I got older, my mother had the cassettes recorded and burnt into CDs, and I, in turn, got the MP3s and listen to them on my portable media player from time to time.

The stories come from far and wide, featuring the mighty Genghis Khan to the poor little match girl to the tenacious Susan B. Anthony. Narrated by none other than William Bennett himself, along with other amazing voice talents, this collection shares in stories the virtues that most men find admirable: Responsibility, Honesty, Compassion, Courage, Faith, Friendship, Persistence.

The stories are simple ones, and yet they ring true for every person of every age. There are those that are sad, those that are dark, those that are fantastical, and, of course, those that are incredibly moral. While not all of the virtues might not be valued by everyone, I believe that there is always a story here that would nudge the spirit and tear at the soul. I like particularly the little intros that Bennett adds to each, because they aren't too overbearing, and yet very personal.

This is also where I find solace when I feel that the world is so hopeless. The familiarity and solidness of the characters in these different worlds brings me comfort, knowing that there are people who lived like that in the world, and that these people are those who I can strive to be.

To end, I will leave one of the poems featured here, one that I adore and think back in every so often.

If—
by Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son! ...more
4

Aug 15, 2013

"The Book of Virtues" is an interesting collection of stories and philosophies concerning virtue. While marketed as a book to "... aid in the time-honored task of the moral education of the young," much of it is beneficial to enlightening the parent as well. The material in the book that I personally found most intriguing is probably beyond the comprehension of "the young," but would serve as a catalyst for dialogue that could be useful in instructing teens in the art and science of virtue.

Many "The Book of Virtues" is an interesting collection of stories and philosophies concerning virtue. While marketed as a book to "... aid in the time-honored task of the moral education of the young," much of it is beneficial to enlightening the parent as well. The material in the book that I personally found most intriguing is probably beyond the comprehension of "the young," but would serve as a catalyst for dialogue that could be useful in instructing teens in the art and science of virtue.

Many of his examples and conclusions are simplistic and shallow, but when teaching young children virtue, simplicity is necessary. Some are more involved and move into the realm of moral dilemma, though he tends to look at these simplistically as well.

There are several beliefs concerning virtue he holds that I take issue with, but I am in the minority on those points, they are more philosophical than practical, and the book is a intended to be a practical text for teaching virtue.

This book is a bed-time or special-time book when you share stories of virtue with your children, rather than a how too. There are other authors (Rushworth M. Kidder)and books that address the moral upbringing of children in the "how to" format. They are quicker reads and more practical in some respects.

What this book offers that the "how to" books don't, is time with your children talking about virtue. Our children need our time and attention more than anything else. By spending time with your children talking about virtue, you make it clear in a meaningful way how important virtue is. ...more
4

Sep 27, 2015

This is not a book designed to be read cover to cover. Rather, you flip through it, pick a few short stories or poems, and read it slowly. Afterwards, stop and think about it, let your mind marinate in each virtue, and perhaps memorize a passage or two.

I probably only read a quarter of the book so far, but glimpsed at most of it. Some stories are familiar -- the velveteen rabbit or the boy who cried wolf, others are more obscure and come from non-western cultures.

There is a charm in reading This is not a book designed to be read cover to cover. Rather, you flip through it, pick a few short stories or poems, and read it slowly. Afterwards, stop and think about it, let your mind marinate in each virtue, and perhaps memorize a passage or two.

I probably only read a quarter of the book so far, but glimpsed at most of it. Some stories are familiar -- the velveteen rabbit or the boy who cried wolf, others are more obscure and come from non-western cultures.

There is a charm in reading children stories as a physically mature person (I'm still a kid at heart). I'm drawn back into my childhood innocence though the clarity and simplicity of old stories, something hard to come back in this data and fact-driven age.

Some of the poems still go over my head. Some of the stories don't feel effective in communicating their message. But this is one of those books that you should actually purchase and keep lying around the house for decades, occasionally picking it up to unearth new nuggets of virtue as your perspective and experiences change.

The author's role here is minimal -- he simply served as an aggregator of child stories and contributed no original thought to this 800+ page behemoth. I could forgive him for this if he dared to add modern stories into the collection in an attempt to make new, relatable legends. To bridge virtues of the past with current events is a commendable feat for an aggregator of cultural wisdom, and the lack of bravery Bennett exhibits by not doing this costs a star. ...more
5

Sep 16, 2013

I've been reading this book off and on for fifteen years or so. It is filled with stories, fables, poetry, song lyrics, and lots of other great pieces of classical literature. I use many of the myths in this book in my classroom. It's a long book; not one you'd sit down and read cover to cover, but each time I open it I find something else I like. Essentially, the editor arranges each chapter by virtue--friendship, discipline, faith, etc.--and provides selections from classical literature and I've been reading this book off and on for fifteen years or so. It is filled with stories, fables, poetry, song lyrics, and lots of other great pieces of classical literature. I use many of the myths in this book in my classroom. It's a long book; not one you'd sit down and read cover to cover, but each time I open it I find something else I like. Essentially, the editor arranges each chapter by virtue--friendship, discipline, faith, etc.--and provides selections from classical literature and history to provide examples for children and young people. I am a big believer in character education, and The Book of Virtues is the movement's Bible. Of course, we don't do character education programs much anymore (at least so far as I know), so like many good things, teaching the virtues to kids will fade away and be replaced by more Progressive programs Woe unto us all.

One very fair criticism of this book: it is so white you could snowboard down it. There are a few very famous African Americans represented--MLKJr., Harriet Tubman, Friedrich Douglas, etc. but for the most part, the book is a paean to lily white Western civilization. That's not a bad thing, per se, but I wonder if Mr. Bennett would ever consider adding more voices of color? It would certainly make for a more rich text. ...more
3

Oct 05, 2013

I was a little surprised by this book. I've seen William Bennett interviewed and was a little turned off by his extreme right-wing viewpoints (read--moralistic). But The Book of Virtues is just a huge collection of stories that are organized by the virtues that they proclaim: Self-Discipline, Compassion, Responsibility, Friendship, Work, Courage, Perseverance, Honesty, Loyalty and Faith. Bennett serves merely to introduce each story with a short comment and he does so without seeming at all I was a little surprised by this book. I've seen William Bennett interviewed and was a little turned off by his extreme right-wing viewpoints (read--moralistic). But The Book of Virtues is just a huge collection of stories that are organized by the virtues that they proclaim: Self-Discipline, Compassion, Responsibility, Friendship, Work, Courage, Perseverance, Honesty, Loyalty and Faith. Bennett serves merely to introduce each story with a short comment and he does so without seeming at all moralistic.

Within each chapter, which represents one of the virtues, Bennett arranges the stories according to the age of the child for which the story might be suitable to read out loud. So, for example, the chapter on compassion spans everything from Aesop's fable of the lion and the mouse up to an essay on democracy by Alexis de Tocqueville.

In sum total, this book is an excellent collection of great stories and essays--to be read to kids or just enjoyed by adults.
...more
4

Feb 20, 2012

I borrowed this book from the school library. Unfortunately, finals were coming up and I coudn't finish it and had to return it already.

Even though I was only able to read the first two chapters, I can say that it is a great book. It is truly meant not only for a children's treasury, but also for teen and adults. The morals are well expressed in the strories, poems, and discourses. Plus, the printing quality was also good. The book is awfully heavy, by the way.

Actually I found a hardbound copy I borrowed this book from the school library. Unfortunately, finals were coming up and I coudn't finish it and had to return it already.

Even though I was only able to read the first two chapters, I can say that it is a great book. It is truly meant not only for a children's treasury, but also for teen and adults. The morals are well expressed in the strories, poems, and discourses. Plus, the printing quality was also good. The book is awfully heavy, by the way.

Actually I found a hardbound copy of this book at a bookstore recently.. it was pricey so I wonder if I will be able to continue reading it someday...? ...more
5

Sep 17, 2014

My parents had a copy of this that they bought when I was a teen. I loved the collection of classic short stories, fables and fairy tales. I also think the wording is updated to modern understanding. I have a large vocabulary, but recently read an older version of Aesop's fables that was tripping me up. Many of those stories are in The Book of Virtues, but readable for children. Because the stories are short, you can always just pick one to read at night, no need to go through the book front to My parents had a copy of this that they bought when I was a teen. I loved the collection of classic short stories, fables and fairy tales. I also think the wording is updated to modern understanding. I have a large vocabulary, but recently read an older version of Aesop's fables that was tripping me up. Many of those stories are in The Book of Virtues, but readable for children. Because the stories are short, you can always just pick one to read at night, no need to go through the book front to back.

I am also shocked at how many kids don't know basic tales like The Boy Who Cried Wolf. Teenagers today have no clue that it exists ...more
5

Feb 19, 2008

I know this author has gotten a "bad rap" (for what I can't remember), but I have fond memories of this book. My parents bought the big, original hard cover edition (from Costco!) for us when we were kids. I memorized parts of "Paul Revere's Ride" out of this book. When I was struggling in composition, my dad made me copy George Washington Carver essays out of it. Who cares if it sounds corny, this is a book for patriots (though I would recommend it to anyone) . . . in my humble opinion, of I know this author has gotten a "bad rap" (for what I can't remember), but I have fond memories of this book. My parents bought the big, original hard cover edition (from Costco!) for us when we were kids. I memorized parts of "Paul Revere's Ride" out of this book. When I was struggling in composition, my dad made me copy George Washington Carver essays out of it. Who cares if it sounds corny, this is a book for patriots (though I would recommend it to anyone) . . . in my humble opinion, of course. ...more
5

Oct 07, 2010

You know you've got something good when your kids are asking you to read once again that one story about George Washington, or that one about the "please," or the one about the frog and the snake, or the one about the shiny windows.

I think to myself, do they REALIZE that they just asked me to teach them about honesty, self-discipline, friendship, gratitude? I finally had to return this to my mom because we've had it for so long, but I'll be watching for it at a bargain price so I can have my own You know you've got something good when your kids are asking you to read once again that one story about George Washington, or that one about the "please," or the one about the frog and the snake, or the one about the shiny windows.

I think to myself, do they REALIZE that they just asked me to teach them about honesty, self-discipline, friendship, gratitude? I finally had to return this to my mom because we've had it for so long, but I'll be watching for it at a bargain price so I can have my own copy. A gem, my friends. ...more

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