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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

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