With the wisdom, humor, curiosity, and sharp insights that have brought millions of readers to his New York Times column and his previous bestsellers, David Brooks has consistently illuminated our daily lives in surprising and original ways. In The Social Animal, he explored the neuroscience of human connection and how we can flourish together. Now, in The Road to Character, he focuses on the deeper values that should inform our lives. Responding to what he calls the culture of the Big Me, which emphasizes external success, Brooks challenges us, and himself, to rebalance the scales between our “résumé virtues”—achieving wealth, fame, and status—and our “eulogy virtues,” those that exist at the core of our being: kindness, bravery, honesty, or faithfulness, focusing on what kind of relationships we have formed.
Looking to some of the world’s greatest thinkers and inspiring leaders, Brooks explores how, through internal struggle and a sense of their own limitations, they have built a strong inner character. Labor activist Frances Perkins understood the need to suppress parts of herself so that she could be an instrument in a larger cause. Dwight Eisenhower organized his life not around impulsive self-expression but considered self-restraint. Dorothy Day, a devout Catholic convert and champion of the poor, learned as a young woman the vocabulary of simplicity and surrender. Civil rights pioneers A. Philip Randolph and Bayard Rustin learned reticence and the logic of self-discipline, the need to distrust oneself even while waging a noble crusade.
Blending psychology, politics, spirituality, and confessional, The Road to Character provides an opportunity for us to rethink our priorities, and strive to build rich inner lives marked by humility and moral depth.
“Joy,” David Brooks writes, “is a byproduct experienced by people who are aiming for something else. But it comes.”
Praise for The Road to Character
“A hyper-readable, lucid, often richly detailed human story.”—The New York Times Book Review
“David Brooks—the New York Times columnist and PBS commentator whose measured calm gives punditry a good name—offers the building blocks of a meaningful life.”—Washingtonian
“This profound and eloquent book is written with moral urgency and philosophical elegance.”—Andrew Solomon, author of Far from the Tree and The Noonday Demon
“The voice of the book is calm, fair and humane. The highlight of the material is the quality of the author’s moral and spiritual judgments.”—The Washington Post
“A powerful, haunting book that works its way beneath your skin.”—The Guardian (U.K.)
“This learned and engaging book brims with pleasures.”—Newsday
“Original and eye-opening . . . At his best, Brooks is a normative version of Malcolm Gladwell, culling from a wide array of scientists and thinkers to weave an idea bigger than the sum of its parts.”—USA Today
“There is something affecting in the diligence with which Brooks seeks a cure for his self-diagnosed shallowness by plumbing the depths of others.”—Rebecca Mead, The New Yorker
From the Hardcover edition.
First, Best, and Best-Selling
The Best American series is the premier annual showcase for the country’s finest short fiction and nonfiction. Each volume’s series editor selects notable works from hundreds of magazines, journals, and websites. A special guest editor, a leading writer in the field, then chooses the best twenty or so pieces to publish. This unique system has made the Best American series the most respected — and most popular — of its kind.
The Best American Essays 2012 includes
Marcia Angell, Miah Arnold, Mark Doty, Joseph Epstein, Jonathan Franzen,
Malcolm Gladwell, Francine Prose, Lauren Slater,
Sandra Tsing Loh, Jose Antonio Vargas, and others
With unequaled insight and brio, New York Times columnist David Brooks has long explored and explained the way we live. Now Brooks turns to the building blocks of human flourishing in a multilayered, profoundly illuminating work grounded in everyday life. This is the story of how success happens, told through the lives of one composite American couple, Harold and Erica. Drawing on a wealth of current research from numerous disciplines, Brooks takes Harold and Erica from infancy to old age, illustrating a fundamental new understanding of human nature along the way: The unconscious mind, it turns out, is not a dark, vestigial place, but a creative one, where most of the brain’s work gets done. This is the realm where character is formed and where our most important life decisions are made—the natural habitat of The Social Animal. Brooks reveals the deeply social aspect of our minds and exposes the bias in modern culture that overemphasizes rationalism, individualism, and IQ. He demolishes conventional definitions of success and looks toward a culture based on trust and humility. The Social Animal is a moving intellectual adventure, a story of achievement and a defense of progress. It is an essential book for our time—one that will have broad social impact and will change the way we see ourselves and the world.
BONUS: Includes new material.
Take a look at Americans in their natural habitat. You see suburban guys at Home Depot doing that special manly, waddling walk that American men do in the presence of large amounts of lumber; super-efficient ubermoms who chair school auctions, organize the PTA, and weigh less than their children; workaholic corporate types boarding airplanes while talking on their cell phones in a sort of panic because they know that when the door closes they have to turn their precious phone off and it will be like somebody stepped on their trachea.
Looking at all this, you might come to the conclusion that we Americans are not the most profound people on earth. Indeed, there are millions around the world who regard us as the great bimbos of the globe: hardworking and fun, but also materialistic and spiritually shallow.
They've got a point. As you drive through the sprawling suburbs or eat in the suburban chain restaurants (which if they merged would be called Chili's Olive Garden Hard Rock Outback Cantina), questions do occur. Are we really as shallow as we look? Is there anything that unites us across the divides of politics, race, class, and geography? What does it mean to be American?
Well, mentality matters, and sometimes mentality is all that matters. As diverse as we are, as complacent as we sometimes seem, Americans are united by a common mentality, which we have inherited from our ancestors and pass on, sometimes unreflectingly, to our kids.
We are united by future-mindedness. We see the present from the vantage point of the future. We are tantalized, at every second of every day, by the awareness of grand possibilities ahead of us, by the bounty we can realize just over the next ridge.
This mentality leads us to work feverishly hard, move more than any other people on earth, switch jobs, switch religions. It makes us anxious and optimistic, manic and discombobulating.
Even in the superficiality of modern suburban life, there is some deeper impulse still throbbing in the heart of average Americans. That impulse is the subject of this book.
In his bestselling work of "comic sociology," David Brooks coins a new word, Bobo, to describe today's upper class -- those who have wed the bourgeois world of capitalist enterprise to the hippie values of the bohemian counterculture. Their hybrid lifestyle is the atmosphere we breathe, and in this witty and serious look at the cultural consequences of the information age, Brooks has defined a new generation.
No sooner had the EPA established the Superfund program in 1980 to clean up the nation’s toxic waste dumps and other abandoned hazardous waste sites, than a little Montana town found itself topping the new program’s National Priority List. Milltown, a place too small to warrant a listing in the U.S. Census, sat alongside a modest hydroelectric dam at the confluence of the Clark Fork and Blackfoot Rivers. For three-quarters of a century, arsenic-laced waste from some of the world’s largest copper-mining operations had accumulated behind the dam. Soon, Milltown became the site of Superfund’s first dam removal and watershed restoration, marking a turning point in U.S. environmental history. The story of this dramatic shift is the tale of individuals rallying to reclaim a place they valued beyond its utility.
In Restoring the Shining Waters, David Brooks gives an intimate account of how local citizens—homeowners, university scientists, county health officials, grassroots environmentalists, business leaders, and thousands of engaged residents—brought about the removal of Milltown Dam. Interviews with townspeople, outside environmentalists, mining executives, and federal officials reveal how the everyday actions of individuals got the dam removed and, in the process, pushed Superfund to allow more public participation in decision making and to emphasize restoration over containment of polluted environments. A federal program designed to deal with the toxic legacies of industrialization thus became a starting point for restoring America’s most damaged environments, largely through the efforts of local communities.
With curiosity, conviction, and a strong sense of place, the small town of Milltown helped restore an iconic western river valley—and in doing so, shaped the history of Superfund and modern environmentalism.
Aber macht sie uns auch zu wertvollen Persönlichkeiten?
Nein, sagt David Brooks. Vielmehr müssen wir wieder lernen, die Welt nicht zu erobern, sondern uns ihr zu verpflichten. Der amerikanische Bestseller-Autor folgt damit der Spur einer großen moralischen Tradition und beweist, dass wir alle nur gewinnen können, wenn wir eine einfache Wahrheit verinnerlichen: Willst du dich selbst verwirklichen, musst du dich auch selbst vergessen können.
Eine packende Lektüre für alle, die der oberflächlichen Selfie-Kultur überdrüssig sind.
Cargado de política psicología y espiritualidad, El camino del carácter es la oportunidad perfecta para repensar nuestras prioridades y luchar por construir vidas más enriquecedoras apoyadas en profundos valores morales.
David Brooks ha construido una brillante carrera como articulista en The New York Times, allí, con su implacable ingenio, ha enriquecido nuestras mañanas con sorprendentes historias narradas con humor y sabiduría. Ahora, en su más reciente éxito, Brooks se opone a la cultura de la presunción, que centra los esfuerzos de las personas en demostrar un éxito y calidad de vida superficial, y llama a cultivar aquellos valores que dotarán a nuestra existencia de un destello único. Sólo necesitamos buscar en nuestro interior la bondad, la valentía y la honestidad necesarias para forjar en nuestras vidas la estela única del éxito verdadero: el amor, la compasión, la felicidad.
Mass migration, exile, refugee reshuffling and diasporic repositioning provide neo-hermeneutics on the predicament of the global, which is undergoing major geopolitical and cultural transformation. This volume addresses how writing from the peripheries is developing a new worldview through diasporic modes of thought. By moving beyond the facile search for an imperial ‘centre,’ these contributions provide an understanding of the rupture in identity since there is a feeling of ‘being held back from a place or state we wish to reach . . .’ (Brooks).
This volume is a unique collaboration by academic scholars from four different continents, and a vast number of regions, critically converging on the contemporaneous debate that problematizes the diasporic identity.