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Sunday, April 26, 2020

Interview with Author Steven Mintz, Ph.D.


Beyond Happiness and Meaning: Transforming Your Life Through Ethical Behavior by [Steven Mintz]


1. What really inspired you to write your book, to force you from taking an idea or
experience and conveying it into a book?

I’ve been blogging about ethics in society, the workplace and on social media for over ten
years. My blogs have become quite popular. During this time, I’ve observed that we have
lost our moral compass as a society and civility is a thing of the past. I felt obligated to
share my wisdom on these issues with the general public. I am trying to make a positive
difference in the best way I know how by raising awareness of the ethical issues that we
face in everyday life.

2. What is it about and whom do you believe is your target reader?

My book explains how readers can lead a happier, more fulfilling life by committing to
following certain ethical principles. I explain a process for ethical decision-making that is
easy to follow. Simply stated, for a person to become more ethical they need to: (1) know
when they face an ethical issue (ethical awareness); (2) have the ability to make ethical
decisions (ethical judgment); (3) be committed to acting ethically (ethical motivation);
and (4) carry out ethical thought with ethical action (moral courage). I explain these
concepts with the use of real-life and hypothesized examples of ethical dilemmas.
The target reader is anyone looking to enhance their personal development in a humane
way and learn skills for dealing with some of the most difficult choices we face in life.
Given that the book addresses many social media practices that can impair our happiness
and well-being, such as ghosting, trolling and catfishing, millennials and young adults are
bound to find a lot of guidance to qualitatively improve their personal and professional
lives.
Beyond that, the book is meant for all age groups. Young adults will learn how to deal
with issues such as cyberbullying, a fact of life on social media that can threaten one’s
happiness and sense of self. Older adults will enjoy reading about well-known people
who have used ethical reasoning to contribute to society and why doing good by being
good is a self-actualizing philosophy.

3. What do you hope will be the everlasting thoughts for readers who finish your
book? What should remain with them long after putting it down?

The takeaway for readers is that each of us can improve our life and the lives of friends,
family members, co-workers and passersby by being kind, considerate and respectful of
others. We need to return to the moral roots of The Golden Rule: Treat others the way we
wish they would treat us. Most people want to be treated kindly, with compassion and
empathy, and with respect. We need to practice acting in these ways through virtuous
behavior. In other words, develop those traits of character that make for a better person.
If I could pick one enduring message for readers of my book it is that they should avoid
the proverbial ‘ethical slippery slope’ where once we tell an initial lie a coverup ensues
and we have to perpetuate the lie to avoid getting caught. In other words, the key to
ethical behavior is not to take that first step down the slippery slope. There’s a famous
statement by Mark Twain that sums it up well: “If you tell the truth you don't have to
remember anything”. It means that if you tell a lie you have to remember what lie you
told to who.
From a long-term perspective, I hope readers will keep in mind three things about ethical
decision-making and think about them before tackling ethical dilemmas in their lives: (1)
think before you act: consider the consequences of your actions on others before deciding
what to do; (2) fulfill your obligation to yourself and to others to be the best version of
yourself that you can be; and (3) practice random acts of kindness, pay it forward and
always be civil.

4. What advice or words of wisdom do you have for fellow writers?
Perseverance is the key. Writers must stick to a game plan they develop for writing their
book. By that I mean each writer must find a time – the same time every day – to write
and do so for at least six hours every day. Nothing should get in the way of keeping to the
schedule. It has to be the priority while the book is being written.
I’m my most creative early in the morning after I’ve head a couple of cups of coffee. I
worked from 6 am to 12 noon every day until my book was completed. My early
schedule enabled me to set aside my phone and not read or respond to messages until the
noon hour. That left plenty of time for social media interaction.

The challenge of writing a book is it’s very easy to find reasons not to write because it’s
an intense process that requires laser-like-focus on the end goal of writing so making it
part of your daily life, as if you were going to a job, enhances the process and facilitates
completion of the book.

5. What trends in the book world do you see and where do you think the book
publishing industry is heading?

The main trend is self-published books. It’s been reported that self-published books now
account for 30% to 40% of ebook sales and ebook sales are approaching parity with
paperbacks.
New authors, such as I, can get our books out into the marketplace more quickly through
independent publishing than going through the traditional publishing route. There are a
variety of self-publishing websites that facilitate the process both in paperback and ebook
form. While there are fees for the services provided, it still makes sense for a new author
to consider this option at least for the first book. If sales are good for a self-
published/indie published book, it might help to find an interested mainstream publisher
down the road when a second book is written. So, a new author is creating a track record
that can help in developing a long-term successful career as a writer.
Audiobook sales seem to be increasing. Perhaps it’s a reflection that many people do not
have time to sit down and read a print book or scroll through an e-book. We’re in our cars
a lot so listening to audiobooks makes sense. Digital subscription services for audiobooks
and ebooks is on the rise as well. The subscription based model can be tailored to the
needs of each individual. It’s like getting pre-selected product types in the mail on a
monthly basis. The specific products are selected for you. Maybe you like romance
novels. These can make up the bulk of your ebook and audio purchases. Given that
subscription services are increasing, it’s important for authors to learn how to distribute
their books in this marketplace.

6. What great challenges did you have in writing your book?
My book is nonfiction and provides self-help guidance to readers who want to find
greater purpose in life. I had to make sure the advice I dispensed was based on sound
principles of ethical reasoning – the philosophy of ethics – so one challenge was to attend
to the accuracy of explaining moral philosophy in an understandable way. I had three
different people read the book for accuracy and completeness. They provided insightful
comments on how to develop scenarios to illustrate my ethical thoughts for a reader who
might have little or no formal knowledge in ethics. In other words, I had to bring the
discussion down to the level of a relatively novice reader of philosophy without
compromising the spirit and guiding principles of philosophical thought. Two of the three
people who read the book were a philosophy professor and a student of philosophy. This
ensured that the examples I provided were relevant to millennials, an important group of
readers for my book.

7. If people can only buy one book this month, why should it be yours?
I fear our society is coming apart at the seams. There is a crisis in America today where
many people, especially the younger generation, are no longer grounded in moral
principles. Ethics isn’t taught in schools. Cyberbullying is a big problem especially for
youngsters. The suicide rate is rising for young adults. Bullying in the workplace is on
the rise. Violence in our streets, in schools and in the workplace is increasing.
On a national level, we’re well into the political debate season. What have we learned so
far? The nature of political debate is to make the other person look bad so you’ll look
better by comparison. The tone of discussion is often uncivil. We no longer know how to
disagree with each other without being disagreeable. Our words and actions appeal to the
lowest common denominator of ethical behavior – greed and selfishness.
Something has to happen and quickly to stem the rising tide of offensive behavior. Ethics
and civility must return to society else we’ll continue to slide down the ethical slippery
slope where lies, deceitful behavior, disrespectful words and abuse of others rule the day.
My book provides a fresh look at how we can learn to deal with each other in a positive
manner using the guidance I provide. The book can change lives, I believe, and open our
minds and hearts to a better – more ethical – path to achieve happiness and greater
meaning in life while, at the same time, improving the lives of our fellow citizens. This is
one reason why buying my book now is important.

About The Author
Steven Mintz, PhD, is an emeritus professor from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. He blogs
under the name “Ethics Sage.” His blog has been recognized by Feedspot as the 25 th best
in philosophy from thousands of top Philosophy blogs in their index using search and
social metrics (https://blog.feedspot.com/philosophy_blogs/). His Workplace Ethics
Advice blog is listed as the third best in the 30 Exceptional Corporate Social
Responsibility blogs (CSR) by Market Inspector based on spreading awareness about
sustainability and CSR (https://www.market-inspector.co.uk/blog/2015/09/30-
exceptional-csr-blogs). Dr. Mintz is the recipient of many awards for his work as a
college educator and researcher including the prestigious “Accounting Exemplar” award
given by the Public Interest Section of the American Accounting Association.
Link to website: https://www.stevenmintzethics.com/.

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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2020. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America.

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