New book explores virtues in God’s wisdom

Michael Hickey’s new book, “Get Goodness,” came in the midst of sin and scandal.

Double-dealing bankers, promiscuous politicians and high-profile crooks dominated the headlines in 2009 when Hickey got word from University Press about its interest in publishing his book.

“It was right in the middle of everything going on in the world with the Madoffs, the corruption in Washington, political scandals and the Wall Street crisis,” recalled 47-year-old Hickey.

It was the right time for a guide to finding goodness in life through virtues, such as acceptance, compassion, courage and honesty.

“I think the publisher knew that there was a lot of vices going on in the world,” said Hickey, who self-published his first book, “Get Wisdom,” in 2006. “They (the publisher) knew people were searching for goodness.”

The book explores 47 different virtues from the Catholic perspective. All of which are dimensions of goodness, Hickey said. He defines virtue in the book as “the highest expression of the human soul.”

“The intent was that somebody could pick it up, not have any religious affiliation, have an interest in virtue and goodness and it would help them be better people by incorporating the virtues into their lives,” said Hickey who also writes a weekly column in the Marco Eagle newspaper. “It was written to help someone who is religiously based and someone who isn’t as well.”

Each chapter tackles a specific virtue, beginning with the origin of the word or etymology. Hickey then discusses each virtue from the theological and philosophical perspective. He ends the chapters with a poem, which Hickey said, “is an attempt to try to understand the experience of the world.”

Hickey wrote the book, in part, because he was seeking a better understanding of goodness.

“When I wrote the book, I wasn’t thinking that I had goodness,” said Hickey who has a master’s in divinity studies from Boston College. He also teaches at Hodges and Florida Gulf Coast universities. “I was hoping to get goodness.”

While writing and researching, Hickey discovered that he needed to be a kinder person.

“I recognize that there were people in my life that could teach me about kindness,” said Hickey who splits his time between Naples and Boston. “I could see who I needed to be like and how I could be more kind.”

He also realized another shortcoming in his quest to become better.

“In orienting myself to goodness, I found what the vice in me was — unforgiveness,” Hickey said. “And I’ve tried to orient myself to be more forgiving.”

Currently, the book is available at Barnes and Noble and Amazon.com. He has also received strong interest from Catholic and Christian educators who are teaching ethics to young people.

“Children are in between the already and not yet,” Hickey said. “The most interest is from those who are shaping and forming children.”

But the book is not only geared towards those needing or wanting to become better human beings. Hickey says it speaks to everyone.

“Virtue and happiness are intertwined,” he said. “If you want to be happy, then do good. If you do good, you will be happy. Even though someone may not necessarily want goodness. There’s nobody out there who’s not interested in happiness.”

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