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“Deeply moving, frequently eloquent and extraordinarily incisive.”—The Washington Post
Every so often, you meet people who radiate joy—who seem to know why they were put on this earth, who glow with a kind of inner light. Life, for these people, has often followed what we might think of as a two-mountain shape. They get out of school, they start a career, and they begin climbing the mountain they thought they were meant to climb. Their goals on this first mountain are the ones our culture endorses: to be a success, to make your mark, to experience personal happiness. But when they get to the top of that mountain, something happens. They look around and find the view . . . unsatisfying. They realize: This wasn’t my mountain after all. There’s another, bigger mountain out there that is actually my mountain.
And so they embark on a new journey. On the second mountain, life moves from self-centered to other-centered. They want the things that are truly worth wanting, not the things other people tell them to want. They embrace a life of interdependence, not independence. They surrender to a life of commitment.
In The Second Mountain, David Brooks explores the four commitments that define a life of meaning and purpose: to a spouse and family, to a vocation, to a philosophy or faith, and to a community. Our personal fulfillment depends on how well we choose and execute these commitments. Brooks looks at a range of people who have lived joyous, committed lives, and who have embraced the necessity and beauty of dependence. He gathers their wisdom on how to choose a partner, how to pick a vocation, how to live out a philosophy, and how we can begin to integrate our commitments into one overriding purpose.
In short, this book is meant to help us all lead more meaningful lives. But it’s also a provocative social commentary. We live in a society, Brooks argues, that celebrates freedom, that tells us to be true to ourselves, at the expense of surrendering to a cause, rooting ourselves in a neighborhood, binding ourselves to others by social solidarity and love. We have taken individualism to the extreme—and in the process we have torn the social fabric in a thousand different ways. The path to repair is through making deeper commitments. In The Second Mountain, Brooks shows what can happen when we put commitment-making at the center of our lives.
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE ECONOMIST
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.
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
“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
“A powerful, haunting book that works its way beneath your skin.”—The Guardian
“Original and eye-opening . . . 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
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.
Do you believe that spending $15,000 on a media center is vulgar, but that spending $15,000 on a slate shower stall is a sign that you are at one with the Zenlike rhythms of nature? Do you work for one of those visionary software companies where people come to work wearing hiking boots and glacier glasses, as if a wall of ice were about to come sliding through the parking lot? If so, you might be a Bobo.
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.
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
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. Best seller #1 de The New York Times. 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.
This collection of essays—with its lyrical language, its honesty and vulnerability, its charm and wit—will delight and inspire all animal lovers, and especially those who rescue animals.
Toute vie est un roman - mais quels sont les ressorts intimes de l'intrigue ? Selon David Brooks, trente ans de recherches scientifiques éclairent la question d'un jour nouveau : nous ne sommes ni des êtres rationnels, ni les jouets d'un inconscient de type freudien. Nous sommes avant tout des animaux sociaux, et cette réalité, inscrite au plus profond de nos êtres, dans nos cerveaux, explique notre façon d'évoluer dans l'existence.
La science a enfin ouvert la boîte noire de notre esprit. Ses passionnantes découvertes, jusqu'ici confinées dans le cadre des publications savantes, bouleversent le champ de notre compréhension. Vulgarisateur de talent, David Brooks a su en tirer la trame d'une fiction : il nous livre, clés à l'appui, le récit de la vie de deux personnages, Erica et Harold, aussi différents qu'on peut l'être, qui finiront pourtant par bâtir ensemble leur vie et leur réussite. En décryptant leurs émotions, leurs intuitions, leurs désirs enfouis, ces lieux intimes où se forgent le caractère et la destinée, il brosse pour nous l'étonnant tableau de notre propre humanité.
Per la prima parte dell’esistenza, hanno inseguito traguardi che corrispondono alle aspettative generali. Hanno ottenuto successo, potere, reputazione e appagamento personale. Ma giunte in vetta, si sono guardate intorno e hanno sentito dentro il tarlo dell’insoddisfazione: questa non è la mia meta finale, non è quello che desideravo veramente.
Oppure, sopraggiunge un fallimento, una delusione, un lutto a buttarle giù da quella vetta che sembrava a tutta prima così seducente. E a quel punto, a valle, parte un sentiero che conduce a un secondo obiettivo, quello che vale davvero la pena raggiungere: spostare il fuoco da noi stessi agli altri. Consacrarci alla famiglia, scoprire una vocazione, ispirarsi a una filosofia o a una fede, dedicarci a una comunità: sono queste le quattro ispirazioni, i quattro impegni che ci danno la possibilità di realizzare noi stessi e scoprire la bellezza dell’interdipendenza tra le cose e le persone.
Questa è la seconda montagna. David Brooks, col suo messaggio potente e provocatorio, mette in discussione i fondamenti della nostra società e della nostra cultura delle relazioni, così celebrativa della libertà individuale. Mostra a chi legge la magia che nasce dal porre gli altri al centro della propria vita: la felicità può tramutarsi in qualcosa di più puro, rotondo, gratificante. Può trasformarsi in gioia.
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.
Harold und Erica führen ein erfolgreiches, erfüllendes Leben. Obwohl sie beide unterschiedlich gute Startbedingungen hatten und auf ihrem Lebensweg auch mit Rückschlägen, Niederlagen und Krisen zurechtkommen müssen, scheinen sie letztlich den Schlüssel zu Glück und Zufriedenheit gefunden zu haben. Doch Harold und Erica sind keine realen Menschen – vielmehr zeigt David Brooks an diesen fiktiven Charakteren meisterhaft, was wir heute über die menschliche Natur wissen und wie sich unser Menschenbild in den letzten dreißig Jahren gewandelt hat. Basierend auf den Erkenntnissen der Biologie, Psychologie, Neurowissenschaften und Verhaltensforschung erklärt Brooks, wie stark unser Lebensweg von Gefühlen, Intuitionen, Beziehungen, von Verlangen und Veranlagung geprägt ist – warum wir also nicht etwa rationale Individuen sind, sondern soziale Tiere.