Behaving Badly

The New Morality in Politics, Sex, and Business

Publisher: Nan A. Talese
What is the relevance of morality today? Eden Collinsworth enlists the famous, the infamous, and the heretofore unheard-of to unravel how we make moral choices in an increasingly complex—and ethically flexible—age.

To call these unsettling times is an understatement: our political leaders are less and less respectable; in the realm of business, cheating, lying, and stealing are hazily defined; and in daily life, rapidly changing technology offers permission to act in ways inconceivable without it. Yet somehow, this hasn’t quite led to a complete free-for-all—people still draw lines around what is acceptable and what is not. Collinsworth sets out to understand how and why. In her intrepid quest, she squares off  with a prime minister, the editor of London’s Financial Times, a holocaust survivor, a pop star, and a former commander of the U.S. Air Force to grapple with the impracticality of applying morals to foreign policy; precisely when morality gets lost in the making of money; what happens to morality without free will; whether “immoral” women are just those having a better time; why celebrities have become the new moral standard-bearers; and if testosterone is morality’s enemy or its hero.


"Written with brio and great charm . . . This is an implausibly entertaining romp through the ethical questions of our time, a kind of romantic engagement with morals that is never moralistic."
—Andrew Solomon, author of Far from the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity 

"Very rarely does a voice cut through all the noise and deliver a brand new take on the world as we know it, but Eden Collinsworth does just that, exploring all the in-between areas that exist in society in an extraordinarily unique way. . . Conversational, intelligent, and always entertaining, Behaving Badly is brimming with evidence of how little we really know about the moral principles that underlie our daily actions and decision making"

"Morality is a complicated subject, but Eden Collinsworth breaks it down in Behaving Badly . . . surprisingly light and fun.”

"A wide-ranging, breezy journey through a series of ethical minefields . . . Collinsworth is always a genial guide through the moral thicket, and her companions underscore the provocative spirit of her quest."
—Kirkus Reviews

"Entertaining . . . a study of ethical quagmires and moral gray areas in modern-day business, interpersonal, and military practices."
—Publishers Weekly

"Collinsworth’s goal is to make readers think, and she not only succeeds in doing that, but does so in an entertaining manner."

"While more approachable than many other works discussing modern morality, this offering is no less impactful. . . A compelling read for a wide audience."
—Library Journal

"Every day we see and hear stories of bad behavior in sports, business, and politics, in which bad people with no moral compass seem to succeed and are rewarded by power or wealth. This extraordinary, thought-provoking book by Eden Collinsworth makes us stop and consider who we are and who we want to be."
—Ed Rollins, former U.S. Presidential Advisor and Fox News political contributor
"Eden Collinsworth doesn’t pull her punches as she explores the shifting moral landscape of our times. Behaving Badly is as insightful as it is hilarious."
—Amanda Foreman, author of Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire
"In her meticulously researched, historically grounded report, Collinsworth is narrator, confessor, commentator and tour guide, ever curious, always bemused. Morality and wit are a rare marriage, yet in sharing these stories—and telling her own, by far the most intriguing—they are marshaled into often hilarious lockstep. As Collinsworth tests her traditional values against those of her colorful subjects, it invariably leads to a freshly-considered reevaluation of your own."
—Nancy Collins, journalist, Vanity Fair, The Hollywood Reporter, and ABC News correspondent