Finding Balance and Purpose in an Imperfect World The Moral Compass

The Moral Compass delves deep into why humans behave in a certain manner under specific situations. It then goes into situations that hold a mirror to our lives, empathizing with the protagonists and laying bare their deepest fears, insecurities, and motivations as they navigate the curveballs that life throws at them.

The book is published by HarperCollins Publishers India and is set to be released on Wednesday 22nd June 2022.

The Moral Compass by Hardayal Singh

About the Book

When Life Brings Us to Crossroads …

Now and then, life brings us to a critical juncture where we must make tough decisions. However, the stakes are sometimes so high that our values and ethics take a back seat over convenience and instant benefit. Most decisions of convenience often lead to future regret and failure.

The Moral Compass delves deep into why humans behave in a certain manner under specific situations. It then goes into situations that hold a mirror to our lives, empathizing with the protagonists and laying bare their deepest fears, insecurities, and motivations as they navigate the curveballs that life throws at them.

Drawing heavily from spirituality, philosophy, psychology, and four decades of Hardayal Singh’s experience at the helm of critical decision-making, the book will help you design your own moral compass and find balance and purpose in an imperfect world.

‘Since the beginning, human beings have been busy denouncing each other’s behavior and where has it gotten us? Not very far, going by the moral lives of Hardayal Singh’s characters. Yet, the same characters invite sympathy. At times, they appear to be playing a game of dice that is governed by rules that are unknown or deceptive. Their stories point to the ordinary person’s vulnerable situation in dealing with moral issues: they are an inexperienced player pushed to the point of staking everything, with a very real possibility of losing. Yet, the miracle is so many of us, much as the characters in this book, have the ability to inspire. If moral blindness is part of the human condition, then the big lesson from this book is that it is possible to do the right thing. The moral compass may, indeed, help in navigating through our imperfect world, giving us balance and purpose. The author reminds us again and again that an act of goodness may well be the most valuable thing we possess as human beings’

Gurcharan Das

Author, Hardayal Singh says, “Over my long career in public management, spanning over four decades, I have noticed that people often flounder when they are called upon to make hard decisions involving enormous costs and benefits- often with many ethical dimensions. This book originated from a question I asked myself about a decade ago: At such times, is there a common heritage to which we can turn for guidance- irrespective of our differences in culture, language, and religion? I hope The Moral Compass will, in its own little way, provide some answers to this question.”

‘This book does not provide instant recipes for solving moral and ethical problems. Yet it will shine as a beacon in treacherous landscapes, full of minefields and pitfalls, which we are often required to negotiate when we are compelled to make choices with humongous costs.’

V.K. Shunglu, former comptroller and auditor general of India


Sachin Sharma, Executive Editor, HarperCollins India, says, “Our biggest challenges often come as dilemmas while making critical decisions in life. Sometimes, the choices we have are so complex that it is difficult to arrive at the right one. The Moral Compass provides a never-before perspective on what shapes our actions under certain situations. Blending his rich experience with spirituality and philosophy, Hardayal Singh provides us with a unique compass to navigate life with balance and purpose. By the time you finish reading this book, you emerge as a better human being, capable of taking any challenge head-on.”

About the Author

Hardayal Singh retired as Chief Commissioner of Income-tax, New Delhi, in January 2007. Later, as Ombudsman to the Income-tax department, Mumbai, he established an effective grievance redressal mechanism for taxpayers who had been wronged and turned to the institution for justice. Currently, he writes columns for the Financial Express, Hindu Business Line, and Economic Times on public policy, taxation, ethics, vigilance, and corruption.

Praise for the Book

‘Here is a double pleasure packed in a single delightful package. Hardayal Singh has stories to tell, which are all true to the life of most people around the world, but especially in India. These are stories about all of us and the problems and pleasures which are familiar to us. Like Aesop, Hardayal Singh tells stories with a moral lesson but manages, even so, to make them genuinely interesting. There is no doubt that we have here a fine storyteller moralist. But lest you have doubts, read the delightful gloss Gurcharan Das gives to each and every story in this collection. You could call these stories moral tales or if you prefer lessons in Dharma. I would say read them because they are stories we all have known and loved. They are, above all, enjoyable.’

Lord Meghnad Desai, economist, and former Labour politician

‘A wonderful and timely book! A must-read to sharpen one’s moral compass and resolve the ethical dilemmas of life.’

Nandan Nilekani, co-founder and chairman, Infosys Technologies Limited

‘Ethics, the ability to do the right thing in difficult circumstances, represents the ultimate dilemma for human beings. Hardayal Singh’s highly readable and insightful collection of stories that examine this dilemma through myriad angles, and Gurcharan Das’s lucid Introduction, are an unputdownable primer for the ordinary person to understand what the moral compass could be’.

Pavan K. Varma, author, diplomat, and former Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha)

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