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Download The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement Audiobook, by David Brooks Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (6,762 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: David Brooks Narrator: Arthur Morey Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: March 2011 ISBN: 9780307739018
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With unequaled insight and brio, David Brooks, the New York Times columnist and bestselling author of Bobos in Paradise, has long explored and explained the way we live. Now, with the intellectual curiosity and emotional wisdom that make his columns among the most read in the nation, 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. It is told through the lives of one composite American couple, Harold and Erica—how they grow, push forward, are pulled back, fail, and succeed. Distilling a vast array of information into these two vividly realized characters, Brooks illustrates a fundamental new understanding of human nature. A scientific revolution has occurred—we have learned more about the human brain in the last thirty years than we had in the previous three thousand. The unconscious mind, it turns out, is most of the mind—not a dark, vestigial place but a creative and enchanted one, where most of the brain’s work gets done. This is the realm of emotions, intuitions, biases, longings, genetic predispositions, personality traits, and social norms: the realm where character is formed and where our most important life decisions are made. The natural habitat of The Social Animal.
Drawing on a wealth of current research from numerous disciplines, Brooks takes Harold and Erica from infancy to school; from the “odyssey years” that have come to define young adulthood to the high walls of poverty; from the nature of attachment, love, and commitment, to the nature of effective leadership. He reveals the deeply social aspect of our very minds and exposes the bias in modern culture that overemphasizes rationalism, individualism, and IQ. Along the way, he demolishes conventional definitions of success while looking toward a culture based on trust and humility.

The Social Animal is a moving and nuanced intellectual adventure, a story of achievement and a defense of progress. Impossible to put down, 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.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Authoritative, impressively learned, and vast in scope. Newsweek

  • As in [Bobos in Paradise] he shows genius in sketching archetypes and coining phrases. . . . In The Social Animal Mr. Brooks surveys a stunning amount of research and cleverly connects it to everyday experience. The Wall Street Journal
  • [A] fascinating study of the unconscious mind and its impact on our lives . . . Brooks has done well to draw such vivid attention to the wide implications of the accumulated research on the mind and the triggers of human behaviour. The Economist
  • An uncommonly brilliant blend of sociology, intellect and allegory. Kirkus Reviews (starred revew)
  • Provocative and fascinating . . . seeks to do nothing less than revolutionize our notions about how we function and conduct our lives. The Philadelphia Inquirer
  • Multifaceted, compulsively readable . . . Brooks’s considerable achievement comes in his ability to elevate the unseen aspects of private experience into a vigorous and challenging conversation about what we all share. San Francisco Chronicle

  • A #1 New York Times Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Sarah | 2/10/2014

    " I have mixed feelings about this book due to the occasional use of offensive language and descriptions. It was sporadic enough, but I never quite felt safe. The thing is, though, he would get on topics that were terribly intriguing and made me want to share it with various people. In fact, he covered such a wide variety of topics I thought of all kinds of people I wanted to share it with, but then I would get offended and think I wouldn't recommend it to anyone. It just felt a bit gratuitous and flashy. I also didn't like how he had to make up a fictional story (not very interesting) just to explain a lot of interesting social observances. I read another book recently that did the same thing, but the story that supported all the interesting science was not made up. I think this book would have been more powerful for me if it hadn't had the made up part. But I guess he needed to be able to touch on all the topics he intended. Also, I like books that inspire me to action and in the end this one was just an extended compilation of essays that left me saying "hmm, that's interesting" but no more. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rebekka Istrail | 1/25/2014

    " David Brooks, are you trying to compete with Steven Pinker for the role of my public intellectual crush? "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Jennifer Louden | 1/23/2014

    " His one liners are hysterical, I enjoy seeing our culture dissected but the device of taking a huge body if research and Trying to put it into context through the lens of 2 characters is just driving me crazy. Not because I don't like his writing, I love it, but because the research can't be encapsulated in / through two people. And then there is the question of how valid the research is... Loved Bobos much but won't finish this book. Sorry David you are brilliant but It's not workig for me. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ruth | 1/15/2014

    " This is an interesting book, I'd recommend it "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nicole Mulloy | 1/13/2014

    " Interesting thesis! It talks about how the subconscious controls so much of our behavior. It got a little dull in the middle, but overall, I liked it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jacqueline | 1/12/2014

    " This is a very readable description of the recent findings in social cognition organized around the life spans of two people. I really enjoyed it and think I learned a lot. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Marlene | 1/6/2014

    " The first few chapters about how babies' brains develop and how they learn are riveting. Also, the last chapter about old age. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sabita Mehra | 12/27/2013

    " Page turning non fiction believe it or not! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Serene | 12/12/2013

    " The author references all kinds of psychology, sociology and economic studies, but he does it in the context of a story, making it WAY more interesting. Very thoughtful, thought-provoking book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mary Johnson | 12/11/2013

    " An interesting approach to timeless questions: How can we be happy in this world? How are our lives shaped? How do we shape our lives? Brooks creates two characters and uses them as imaginary testcases, but they are more like fictional examples. Lots of science, too, in an accessible way. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Arielle | 7/25/2013

    " An extremely insightful observation of society and traditional human relationships. Easy to read for anyone, as it is written in novel form. A must-read for psychology/sociology wonks. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 G.R. | 5/9/2013

    " Really enjoyable read. Has been slammed by critics in many pubs, but I really liked it. SHould have read with a pen as there is a great deal of useful information for parents and for anyone hoping to be happy and/or productive. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joanna | 12/27/2012

    " I've never read a science book that had me laughing quite hard in the beginning and crying (balling) in the end. I loved this book. Mr. Brooks has a unique way of describing humanity that all people can understand. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lori | 10/15/2012

    " This is a weird book. It is not so much about the "story" but a vehicle to use his enclyopedic knowledge of statistics. Very informative. Listened to it in audio, well produced. It is a book one would have to be in mood to listen to. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tomás | 10/9/2012

    " Amazing work of fiction. He ties in psychological research into an easily digestible narrative of a couple. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Melissa | 7/21/2012

    " Well written, very easy to read, and weaves in behavioral economics in a beautiful way. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Robyn | 7/14/2012

    " Fascinating book about almost every aspect of human interaction - lent itself very well to the audio format. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mjakkerman | 4/23/2012

    " I liked the idea of the book, but after having read something like 400 pages, I expected to know more than I know now. Brooks was able to create two very lively persons and that is worth some praise. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kate pollack | 2/25/2012

    " Fascinating. As though this book were written for me. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Thomas Roddy | 10/23/2011

    " I thought this book was wonderful. Although some critics have thought it too flip, I found the overviews very insightful and engaging. I enjoyed it enormously. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Katrina | 9/23/2011

    " very interesting... would definitely recommend. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kristin | 6/28/2011

    " I don't read a lot of non-fiction, but I am really enjoying this. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Luigib | 6/26/2011

    " Well structured perspective on life. At times emotionally heavy..... like the last couple of pages. Highly recommend "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Chad | 6/22/2011

    " Some parts were fascinating - I particularly liked the first half. It's a must read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rachel | 6/22/2011

    " Will definitely re-read over and over. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jerry | 6/21/2011

    " I've always enjoyed David Brooks's repartee with Mark Shields on PBS's Lehrer Report on Friday night's and was delighted by this book weaving thousands of recent psychological and sociological studies of the human condition through the narrative mode of two characters. Amazing stuff! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Clint | 6/18/2011

    " well written, good insight into how we work. A worthwhile read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ddweir2000 | 6/17/2011

    " Excellent format to communicate so much scientific research, he embeds the research inside storytelling making it accessible and engaging. Very educational. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Hillá | 6/16/2011

    " This was like reading a psychology book in novel form. Lots of interesting observations, mountains of name-dropping, and overall easy read. However, unlike what the back cover says, it is not happy. Well, I didn't think so at least. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 James | 6/16/2011

    " Non-fiction that explores its research with a fictional story makes the entire book extremely easy to read. Combine that with the fact that I find the subconscious and human decision making fascinating in general? Definitely a winner. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Rcharbon | 6/15/2011

    " In an attempt to popularize the science, he ended up with something bloated and shallow. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Arielle | 6/13/2011

    " An extremely insightful observation of society and traditional human relationships. Easy to read for anyone, as it is written in novel form. A must-read for psychology/sociology wonks. "

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About the Author
Author David BrooksDavid Brooks writes an op-ed column for The New York Times. Previously, he has been a senior editor at The Weekly Standard, a contributing editor at Newsweek and The Atlantic Monthly, and an op-ed editor at The Wall Street Journal. He is currently a commentator on PBS NewsHour and contributes regularly to Meet the Press and NPR’s All Things Considered. He is the author of Bobos in Paradise: The New Upper Class and How They Got There and On Paradise Drive: How We Live Now (And Always Have) in the Future Tense. His articles have appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, Forbes, The Washington Post, The Times Literary Supplement, Commentary, The Public Interest, and many other magazines. David Brooks lives in Maryland.
About the Narrator

Arthur Morey has won three AudioFile Magazine “Best Of” Awards: in 2011 for Biography and History, in for History and Historical Fiction, and in 2009 for Nonfiction and Culture. His work has also garnered multiple AudioFile Earphones awards, and he has been nominated for an Audie Award. He graduated from Harvard and did graduate work at the University of Chicago. He has won awards for his fiction and drama, worked as an editor with several book publishers, and taught literature and writing at Northwestern University. As a narrator, he has received nineteen AudioFile Earphones Awards and been a finalist for the prestigious Audie Award.