The Road to Character by David Brooks“I wrote this book not sure I could follow the road to character, but I wanted at least to know what the road looks like and how other people have trodden it.”—David Brooks
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 “resume 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.”
David Brooks’s Search for Meaning
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LIST OF CHARACTERS
I have to work harder than most people to avoid a life of smug superficiality. They are the skills that are met with bigger paychecks and public approbation. Still, he writes, we know at our core that this second category of values is what matters more. Or at least we come to realize this fact, often in midlife, perhaps while lost in the dark wood of insta-opinionizing. Instead, he offers brief biographies of a range of historical figures whose lives illustrate the eulogy virtues he seeks to recover, and whose example may prove inspirational. He illuminates his case studies by quoting authorities as diverse as Aristotle, Kierkegaard, and Tina Brown.
Look Inside. Apr 14, Minutes Buy. Sep 13, ISBN Apr 14, ISBN Apr 14, Minutes. 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.
D avid Brooks is a conservative columnist for the New York Times and a broadcaster. In this book, at least, his struggle is less than successful. The Road to Character is confused and contradictory. Adam 1 wants to build, create, produce, win and appear high status. The two Adams are always in conflict. While popular western?