Farnam Street helps you make better decisions, innovate, and avoid stupidity.

With over 400,000 monthly readers and more than 93,000 subscribers to our popular weekly digest, we've become an online intellectual hub.

Practical Wisdom

Barry Schwartz says rules and incentives are an “insurance policy against disaster, but [they don’t] produce excellence.” In the recent book, Practical Wisdom: The Right Way to Do the Right Thing, Schwartz and co-author Kenneth Sharpe, also a Swarthmore professor, say what is needed is not more bureaucracy. Instead, society needs the Aristotelian ideal that trumps all others — practical wisdom.

What can businesses do to help their employees do the right thing

Schwartz: What won’t do the job is giving lectures to people about business ethics or organizational ethics…. You need to exemplify the behavior that you want the people working with you and under you to display. You need to be a model of what it means to be an ethical organization and you need to be doing it all day, every day