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The Social Animal: The Hidden Source of Love, Character, and Achievement ~David Brooks

Thursday, June 2nd, 2011
David Brooks

David Brooks

I can hardly wait to tell you about this book, because when I discovered it I was driven nuts until I found a copy and read it. I heard about the book watching a recent TED lecture where I heard David Brooks speak about writing the book and his presentation was humorous and intrigued my imagination.

I did not receive this book from a publishing company or book tour group.

I watched the video of the TED lecture at least eight times. It just kept drawing me into the ideas. I thought I needed to know more. I knew of David Brooks from watching him on PBS Evening News. I had no idea that he was as funny as I always perceived of him as kind, thoughtful and rational.

The book is about a fictional boy and a girl from birth to death and all the layers of their lives as interpreted by Brooks through his vast knowledge of brain research, politics and independent studies. Since many of the things explained through these characters, developing throughout their lives, were things that I had found true in my own life and in raising my children the information truly hooked me.

I like how the book was laid out, how it started with the conception of each child and the story behind all the attractions, all the feelings and thoughts that went into that process. On top of that, the author layers template after template of different aspects of development onto the basic fictional story; how the mind, culture, and environment change the dynamics of growth and living. The book is like painting a picture of a human life and then adding each new color, each new layer within the story of these two individuals, creating a depth- image – a whole. The templates that he offers up are the following: mindsite, attachment, decisions, learning, norms, self control, culture, intelligence, choice, freedom and commitment, limerence, and me’tis, getting older, morality, and meaning. Although the characters are fictional they are definitely representational and as they approach death the beauty of the painting is revealed and all the layering is hidden in the revealed beauty of their humanity.

Over and over again Brooks speaks of the importance of emotions, emotional strength, and of being able to have honest dialogue with one’s self and with others – how to get out of your head and into action and responsibility.   This, of course, is part of my life’s work and where I put much of my energy towards my utopian vision of living a full and rewarding life.

David Brooks is the New York Times columnist and a contributor to the PBS Evening News as the conservative voice.

I wanted to share the TED lecture with you that inspired me.

I am profoundly moved when ideas are integrated and in this case, and in this book the ideas are integrated with humor and insight for an amazing outcome.

Maybe my words here will inspire you to read this book. I know you will enjoy the video.


If you order this book new from Amazon via my site, I will receive a few beans in my bucket.

Do you ever just know that you need to read a book or have an experience? Do you follow through or does the idea disappear or fad?

Related reading you might enjoy:
Freedom by Franzen
The Element by Robinson
I love this Magazine

Lets talk?

The Face of Please Don’t Shoot Me

Thursday, March 17th, 2011

close up please don't (2)

One of the very nicest parts of a Memorial Service is the opportunity to see family members, who often live very far away.  I had a lovely visit with my cousin Cathie from Cincinnati, Ohio during the family dinner and an opportunity to get acquainted with her talented and wonderful children.

Cathie shared her recent work with me via photographs and I was so moved by her weaving that I asked if I might share her pictures and story with you here.

In 2001, a young man – a boy really – was chased by police and fatally shot when he reached to his waist to pull up his jeans and keep running.   He was just a boy in the wrong place at the wrong time, and innocent of any violation or crime.   What followed was 4 days of rioting over this injustice in the city of Cincinnati, Ohio.

My cousin was driving home and found herself caught up in the mob scene and had to creatively find an exit from the anger and rage.  As she turned a corner to get clear she saw a boy standing on the corner holding a sign which said, “PLEASE DON’T SHOOT ME.”

The image of the boy on the corner was stuck into her mind.

In 2010, Cathie heard about a fiber art exhibit which depicted a human face or form and she knew right away that she would use the image frozen into her mind that fateful day.   She spent 8 months working and designing the piece and over 250 hours weaving.

Here is the picture of PLEASE DON’T SHOOT ME:
please don't shoot me (2)

In Cathie’s own words of description:

“The piece did get into the YWCA exhibit downtown, opening April 15th 2011. The criteria were a piece of fiber art which depicted a human face or form. The name of the piece is Please Don’t Shoot Me: Portrait of a Young Man, as Witnessed by the Artist, Cincinnati Riots 2001. Woven 2011, Tapestry, wool.“

I was so moved by her story and her work; it just needed to be shared with you.

Fiber Artist:  Catherine Beckman Cincinnati, Ohio


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Related Reading:
Spite or Malice or Cat and Mouse
The Element by Dr. Ken Robinson
The Love Ceiling
What Should I Do With the Rest of My Life

I so enjoy your comments and hope you enjoyed this fine tapestry.