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Craig Cline
GoldenRuleism/Living A GoldenRuleism-Guided Life
Craig Cline, author
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Targeting the individual first, Cline’s upbeat debut calls for nothing less than a transformative community and global movement for justice, humanity, and the care of all this planet’s sentient beings. That sweeping vision of change can be kicked off, Cline argues, by the reader answering the call, making a pledge to “GoldenRuleism,” and then honoring and modeling its precepts in everyday life. As the title suggests, Cline’s pay-it-forward effort to “Move Humanity Towards Humane-ity” is rooted in the Golden Rule. Cline notes that the classic precept “has long been overdue for an expanded version of itself,” and he offers what we could call version 2.0, clarifying and broadening the rule: “Do for all others, both directly and indirectly, what you would want done for you. Don’t do to any others, either directly or indirectly, what you wouldn’t want done to you.”

Only the churlish will find anything to quibble with there, and Cline proves inspiring as he reminds readers that real change starts with individuals, that a moral code can bind us together despite differences in culture and religion, and that the rule applies not just to people but to other species. Cline warns against -isms (ableism, nihilism, racism) that create justifications to pit us against each other, and he urges readers not just to commit themselves to the cause but to enlist families and friends, too, using their spheres of influence to get the message out.

Pamphlet-length, this little golden rule book cheers the possibilities of GoldenRuleism, passionately stands up for animals, and boasts a dozen-plus pages of testimonials from thinkers and leaders about the possibilities. Some of those dig deeper than the text itself, as when the founder of United Poultry Concerns links GoldenRuleism to the “primal sense of the oneness of all sentient life and the ethical implications of this fact” in the novels of Thomas Hardy. Cline’s call-to-compassion is approachable, but it never addresses the likely objections of a skeptical reader, such as the actual likelihood of individual decency leading to systemic change when inequality is so profitable.

Takeaway: Booklet proposing an expanded Golden Rule as the key to making change.

Comparable Titles: Bruce Chilton’s The Golden Rule, Mike Ellerkamp’s The Simple Little Rule.

Production grades
Cover: B+
Design and typography: A-
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: A-
Marketing copy: A