"Refining Character" by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat reminds us, in Cyrus A. Bartol's words, that "Character is a diamond that scratches every other stone." This compendium of character resources contains a list of dozens of books organized around character qualities, including many from the Alphabet of Spiritual Literacy.

Books about Character

After You Believe: Why Christian Character Matters by N. T. Wright makes a good case for believers to take seriously the formation of character and the practice of virtues in everyday life.

The Book of Character: Writings on Character and Virtue, from Islamic and Other Sources by Camille Helminski conveys reverence for all life and emphasizes qualities like kindness, hospitality, and graciousness.

A Book of Life: Embracing Judaism as a Spiritual Practice by Michael Strassfeld contains a rich smorgasbord of rituals, ethical insights, and devotional strategies for those seeking to uncover the depth dimensions of everyday life.

A Call to Character: A Family Treasury by Colin Greer and Herbert Kohl provides four sections on ideals and moral issues encourage trust, mutuality, intimacy, and sharing within the family circle.

The Call of Character: Living a Life Worth Living by Mari Ruti celebrates the mystery of being and the pursuit of a balanced life.

A Code of Jewish Ethics: Vol. 1 - You Shall Be Holy by Joseph Telushkin suggests ways to become more honest, decent and just people with guidance from Jewish law.

A Code of Jewish Ethics, Vol. 2 - Love Your Neighbor as Yourself by Joseph Telushkin gathers concrete spiritual practices which can demonstrate our active commitment to this best-known commandment in the Bible.

Confucius, The Analects: The Path of the Sage - Selections Annotated & Explained by Confucius and Rodney L. Taylor offers wise commentary on the virtues of humility, justice, courtesy, trust, learning, and respect for elders.

Everyday Holiness: The Jewish Spiritual Path of Mussar by Alan Morinis focuses on the importance of soul traits that are the sign of a true mensch or decent human being.

The Force of Character and the Lasting Life by James Hillman turns all of our conventional ideas about aging upside down by revealing how our character is enriched by a long life.

Good Character: A Comprehensive Guide to Manners and Morals in Islam by Musa Kazim Gulcur assesses the centrality of adab — decency, propriety, politeness, reverence, and good manners — within Islam.

The Good Life: Truths that Last in Times of Need by Peter J. Gomes proves that the character-building virtues of the Christian path can provide both meaning and adventure to all our days and doings.

Happiness and the Human Spirit: The Spirituality of Becoming the Best You Can Be by Abraham J. Twerski probes pathways that meet the demands of the human spirit for self-improvement.

How to Raise Kind Kids: And Get Respect, Gratitude, and a Happier Family in the Bargain by Thomas Lickona calls for the creation of a positive family culture where virtues like kindness and respect are modeled and upheld.

The Karate Way: Discovering the Spirit of the Practice by Dave Lowry looks at this martial art as a lifelong path toward the fullest development of character.

Leadership in Turbulent Times by Doris Kearns Goodwin highlights the shared persistence, uncommon intelligence, and storytelling skill of presidents Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, and Lyndon Johnson.

Living Tao: Timeless Principles for Everyday Enlightenment by Ilchi Lee outlines the bounties of walking the path of Tao, including five character traits essential to the growth of the soul.

Manners and Mischief: Gender, Power, and Etiquette in Japan by Jan Bardsley and Laura Miller collects 11 lively and enlightening essays demonstrating that manners still matter and that they build character.

Noble Purpose: The Joy of Living a Meaningful Life by William Damon describes the dedication and imagination needed to devote ourselves to something worth doing and to do it in an honorable manner.

The Pursuit of American Character by Rupert Wilkinson brings together diverse insights about the values animating the United States, especially the qualities of individuality and community.

The Road to Character by David Brooks introduces a group of "heroes of renunciation" from different eras and careers who have demonstrated inspiring virtues such as humility, sacrifice, and a respect for limitations.

The Soul's Code: In Search of Character and Calling by James Hillman acknowledges and pays tribute to each soul's distinctive passion, calling, and destiny.

The Ten Challenges: Spiritual Lessons from the Ten Commandments by Leonard Felder makes these ancient truths very relevant to our own times and includes questions, exercises, and ritual suggestions.

Visionaries: The 20th Century's 100 Most Important Inspirational Leaders by Freddie Whitefield and Satish Kumar tells the stories of people who made the greatest impact in creating and projecting a holistic world-view.