Practical Ethics by Peter Singer
This is the first book I read on ethics, and its influence has endured for many years now. Written in accessible language, Singer picks apart issues and concepts including equality, racism, sexism, animal welfare, abortion, poverty, climate change, refugees, the law, democracy, conscience, and how to lead a moral life.
The Art of Happiness by the Dalai Lama & Howard Cutter
This book is psychiatrist Howard Cutter’s synthesis of the lessons imparted to him by the Dalai Lama following a series of conversations about relationships, health, family and work. It crosses traditional boundaries of East and West, science and religion to deliver wisdom which can help every one of us.
The Freedom Paradox by Clive Hamilton
Why, despite the wealth of choices and options open to most residents of developed countries, are we not happy? This is a very interesting question and one which we ought to find an answer to. Hamilton argues that we will not be truly free, and thus will not be happy, unless we commit ourselves to a moral life. Otherwise, we are likely to be controlled by our shallow desires and not our deeper sense of what is important.
Religion for Atheists by Alain de Botton
While religion is no longer at the core of many modern societies, it has many lessons to teach us about how we ought to live. It offers particular insights on the importance of community and interpersonal reflections; the need for quiet reflection and a recognition that we are both rational and emotional beings, not merely the former.
The Good Life by Hugh Mackay
Based on 40 years of research, Australian researcher Mackay sets out to answer the big question of what makes life worth living. His thesis is that the good life is determined by our capacity for selflessness and our willingness to connect with those around us in a meaningful and useful way.
Ethics in the Real World by Peter Singer
86 essays on things that matter from renowned Australian philosopher Peter Singer. Topics covered include animal welfare, issues relating to sex and gender, global health, happiness, altruism, climate change, refugees, science, free speech, bioethics and more. The essays are punchy at three or four pages each, and expertly combine somewhat obscure and abstract philosophical concepts with everyday dilemmas and issues.