A Review of
The Law of Small Things:
Creating a Habit of Integrity in a Culture of Mistrust
Stuart H. Brody
Reviewed by Leslie Starasta
Many people consider themselves to be “good people” who live with integrity and often think of others as the ones who have issues with this area. Frequently, the same people may look the other way at telling “not quite” the whole truth, “forgetting” a meeting or lunch date, or dozens of other items because “everyone does” and “it’s not that big of a deal.”
In his book The Law of Small Things: Creating a Habit of Integrity in a Culture of Mistrust, Stuart Brody, encourages readers to reconsider what it means to live a life of integrity and to more consistently live with integrity. Brody defines integrity as keeping the promises you have made. He further defines promises as those that are explicit and implicit. Many times implicit promises or duties are those that are community expectations. Not keeping them creates a fissure in societal functions which adds to the culture of mistrust in which we live.
The book’s introduction is required reading, as Brody uses it to provide an overview of his philosophy about integrity which is the foundation for the remainder of the book. After the introduction, The Law of Small Things is divided into four parts which range from everyday life to business and politics. Each part begins with a list of the “laws” covered in that part of the book. The 31 chapters each contain an illustration which introduces the law, a discussion of the issue presented and how a person of integrity should respond, and then ends with the law again.
With 31 brief chapters, one could easily read and reflect on a chapter a day. Brody, founder of the consulting firm Integrity Intensive, has experience in law, politics, and academia. He demonstrates his experiences in all of these areas through the numerous examples and illustrations used throughout the book. These illustrations help to make potentially abstract issues a real world question which everyone has encountered.
While Brody does not explicitly write from a Christian point of view, he does reference “The Golden Rule” and The Law of Small Things has a great deal to offer readers of faith who are called to be people of integrity. Individuals or groups could read and discuss this resource with the added questions of how it compares to the teachings of the Bible. Although the book is very appropriate for individuals in the fields of business or politics, it needs to be read by a much wider audience. After reading The Law of Small Things, individuals will be prompted to be better keepers of the many promises—known and unknown– we make to everyone around us.
C. Christopher Smith is the founding editor of The Englewood Review of Books. He is also author of a number of books, including most recently How the Body of Christ Talks: Recovering the Practice of Conversation in the Church (Brazos Press, 2019). Connect with him online at: C-Christopher-Smith.com
Reading for the Common Good
From ERB Editor Christopher Smith
"This book will inspire, motivate and challenge anyone who cares a whit about the written word, the world of ideas, the shape of our communities and the life of the church."
-Karen Swallow Prior
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