Plagiarism In Turbulent Times

Eva writes:

I write this after looking through a book by Rabbi Dov Brezak titled Chinuch in Turbulent Times. As I was reading through it, I noticed countless stories and analogies that looked very familiar. Then I realized why. Stephen Covey, in his book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People brings them down. The Seven Habit of Highly Effective People series is undeniably based on a strong Mormon ethic value system. But Mormons are still probably most similar to Orthodox Jews from a cultural and even religious perspective. They usually have large families. Stephen Covey has nine children. That in itself is an enormous difference in the challenges that will arise from the families. Big families have more in common with other big families- even from different religions- than they do with small families from their own religions.

A lot of Orthodox rabbis won’t cite their Gentile sources.

Reb Yudel posts:

An interesting case here.

It certainly would have been more honorable to simply give Covey a haskamah, wouldn’t it?

But would that work in Brezak’s community? Would his audience buy a secular book? And would they be smart enough to make the analogies from the world of business — I confess that while I remember the principles, I forget the anecdotes — to the world of their shtetl?

Should Rabbi Brezak be paying royalties to Covey? Does Brezak receive royalties or, like Covey, is his primary parnassah the lecture circuit?

Then again, Yisrael Salanter, I think it was, plagiarized Ben Franklin’s self help writing.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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