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Extended Audio Sample The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement, 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:
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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 by 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 by 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 by 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 by Ruth | 1/15/2014

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

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