Despite the book’s title, Ezra “E.G.” Harvin looks beyond the workplace to provide a workbook of virtues, not only to make readers better employees but for the benefit of their personal growth and family life as well.
The book is divided into four sections: “Personal Traits,” “Employee Traits,” “Leadership Traits,” and “Family Traits.” In each section, Harvin covers eight important characteristics. For example, under “Personal Traits,” he discusses “Integrity,” “Honesty,” “Humility” and so on. Under “Employee Traits,” he explores the benefits of being a “Hard Worker,” “Goal Oriented,” Productive,” and more. The author provides a brief meditation on each of these virtues, lists three advantages to be gained from practicing the virtue and then offers readers a brief point to ponder.
At the end of each discussion, Harvin asks readers to rate themselves on the practice of the virtue according to a one-to-ten scale, ten representing a perfect score, and to date and sign this exercise. Finally, he prompts readers to fill in blanks with their answers to these questions: “Why I gave myself this point value?” “What I can do to raise my point value?” and “Why I believe this trait is important to my life.”
The book appears to be aimed at teenagers or young adults and would perhaps be most useful for undergraduates preparing for their first, post-university, professional position. While the value of quantifying virtues is questionable, it’s clear that Harvin wishes to be a positive voice, influencing young people to consider who they want to be in the world and not just what they want to be. It is a laudable endeavor in a society that leaves the emotional education of young people to social media sites, television and video games.
The author’s meditations and workbook approach are simplistic and repetitious but Traits might find an audience among homeschoolers, high schools or undergraduate instructors looking for a book that teaches character and not just intellectual skills.
Also available as an ebook.