Curious about what you’ll find in the book, Rooted in Decency? Get a feel for the book and the journey it'll take you through with an excerpt from the introduction, and expandable Table of Contents, and sample chapters below.

Rooted in Decency Book Graphic


Table of Contents

Sample Chapters


Read an excerpt from the introduction of Rooted in Decency that explains how the book progresses from Looking Within, to Looking Outward, to Setting a Course toward a clear moral compass and shared values.

Mapping the route

The journey starts with you, and then expands outward, so that’s how this book is structured:

Part one looks to the personal self and why we feel off-balance.

We’ll look at how modern life contributes to feelings of personal instability and how intentionally minimizing extremes in the ways we think, feel, and find fulfillment can immediately help us feel more steady. In the end, we’ll see that being rooted in decency—living life in-line with what you think is right—builds an inner self-respect that is not easily swayed by circumstance.

Part two looks at how we’re not just individuals, but individuals who live in a society.

We’ll look at why we voluntarily limit our own freedoms and control our own behavior in order to gain the benefits of living in a group. The current culture of nasty divisiveness and self-absorption runs counter to our own best interest and to the evolutionary wisdom humans have gained about how to live well together. We’ll look at some of the biological and cultural reasons today’s Us versus Them atmosphere is so powerful and we’ll consider some ways to change it. By the end of the section, we’ll see how we don’t have to be perfect, but by simply being decent, we can create ripple effects that come rolling back to improve our world.

Part three explores the question: What does it mean to be a decent person?

In a time when so many people think they’re “right” while so many others think they’re “wrong,” we’ll look to history and world belief systems to find common values that have guided human behavior for thousands of years. We’ll use those values to create a moral compass, viewed through a modern perspective, that enables each of us to make decisions that are rooted in decency.

©2022 Colleen Doyle Bryant, reprinted with the author's permission.

Explore the Table of Contents

Part One- Looking Inward

1. Finding Lasting Happiness

Why happiness comes and goes, and how that’s a good thing.

2. Mindless Thinking

How extreme thinking is knocking us off-balance

3. The Body's Language

How there’s a positive side to “negative” emotions

4. Spirited Connection

How feeding your spirit includes a side dish of happiness and meaning

5. Self-Respect vs. Self-Esteem

Why it’s good to feel bad sometimes

Part Two- Looking Outward

6. You be You—Unless You’re a Jerk

Why we voluntarily give up some freedoms to be part of society

7. Competing Moral Priorities

Why people think they’re “right” when others think they’re “wrong”

8. Us Versus Them

How group identity isn’t the real problem - Read a sample

9. The Contagion of Cruelty and Kindness

In a world with so much negativity, why bother trying?

10. The Myth of Perfection

Why life is a series of moments for practicing who you want to be

Part Three- Setting a Course

11. Right and Wrong

Where do moral values come from?

12. Shared Values

Which values do the world's belief systems have in common?

13. Defining a Moral Compass

What are your guiding principles?

14. What is Truth?

Why we paint the truth in shades of gray - Read a sample

15. Trust Me

Why the truth still matters

16. The Post-Truth Con

Why people lie and why we’re willing to believe them

17. What is Respect?

How too little and too much respect are destabilizing society

18. Working Against Ourselves

Why you can't disrespect (or shame) someone into agreeing with you

19. What is Responsibility?

Why responsibility is a blend of empowerment and justice

20. Life After Victimhood

How to move society past a grievance state

21. What is Compassion?

Why compassion is not about eliminating suffering

22. The Bright Side

How a little perspective changes everything

Sample Chapters

Forest with red floor, glowing blue background for Sample Chapter 8 Us Vs Them from Rooted in Decency Book

8: Us vs. Them

How group identity isn't the real problem.


14: What is Truth

Why we paint the truth in shades of gray


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