How Do I Choose the Best Business Ethics Books?

Tracey Sandilands

To choose the best business ethics books, identify the main purpose for which you need the books and look for publications that speak directly to your interest in the subject. Research the credentials of the authors to determine whether they are experts in the fields they cover, and check the publication dates to ensure the books are recent editions. Obtain recommendations from people you trust or those who are knowledgeable on the subject, such as university professors of business ethics, and examine the books you shortlist to determine whether they will provide you with the information you need.

Ask for recommendations from people who have read or researched the subject of business ethics.
Ask for recommendations from people who have read or researched the subject of business ethics.

Clarify the reason why you need the books, as this will help you choose the best business ethics books for your requirements. This could be simply to learn more about the subject of business ethics, either for your personal information or for school coursework. If you are a businessperson, perhaps you need information on ethical issues for which you should be on the alert, or help dealing with a situation you have experienced.

Consider the focus and subject matter of the books you find to determine which will be the right book or books for your needs. Topics such as ethical principles, professional business conduct and business values are common content in the best business ethics books. Some books focus on particular areas of business ethics, such as transactional, participatory, or recognitional ethics.

Research the authors for information on their qualifications and experience. The best business ethics books are those written by people who have expertise in the subject, particularly if they specialize in an area such as corporate ethics or business values. For example, authors with experience participating on internal review boards are good candidates to write business ethics books on professional ethics, which includes conflicts of interest, ethical networking practices, and harassment of employees.

Many companies prepare charters of corporate business values for their employees, whom they expect to incorporate the values into their daily work and business lives. Corporate business values usually cover the company’s business code or approach when dealing with customers and staff, behavior of workers, honesty and integrity. Business ethics books on these aspects of the business environment should provide useful information on how to manage unethical practices, should they occur.

Ask for recommendations from people who have read or researched the subject of business ethics. Colleagues, family members and friends with business experience may have encountered situations that led them to explore the topic, and may be able to recommend business ethics books that they found. If you are a student at an educational institution, professors and lecturers in various business subjects may be able to recommend books for you to consider. Lawyers who practice in the business environment are also likely to have knowledge about suitable books to recommend.

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