The Social Animal

The Social Animal

The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement

Book - 2011
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Random House, Inc.
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.

Baker & Taylor
From the influential and hugely popular "New York Times" columnist and bestselling author of "Bobos in Paradise" comes a landmark exploration of how human beings and communities succeed.

& Taylor

Looks at current research from a variety of disciplines by following the lives and unconscious motivations of a hypothetical American couple as they grow, meet, and change throughout their lives.

Publisher: New York : Random House, 2011
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9781400067602
Branch Call Number: 305.513 BRO
Characteristics: xviii, 424 p. ;,25 cm.


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Apr 11, 2019

I’m just finishing this book and I have enjoyed it immensely.

Nov 09, 2018

A highly recommended fictional story backed by recent social and psychological research. This book is almost a must read for younger people.

Good: book gives a wealth of detail about life experience that many will not come across on their own. Bad: when the story line pauses to explain theories presented, the reading experience bogs down and goes from reading a story to reading a textbook.

The Social Animal is well written and interesting but I found myself skipping along to follow the story because while the theory behind what is going on is good information, at times too much is presented (Don't tell me how to build a wrist watch, I only want to know the time). When I went back to cover a couple of the "explanatory" chapters I ended up scanning more than reading.

cn8754an6 Sep 18, 2013

Really a great read on behavioral economics. I've never really cried over non-fiction before.

Feb 26, 2013

Negative rating for fiction presented as fact. So Brooks' character has a real job? At a "think tank"? Wished Brooks had bothered to present a history of the financiers behind all these so-called "think tanks" (manufactured consent, people?). Easy to ignore that most crucial fact that studies have indicated that the number one indicator of financial success in America (and many other countries) is the family you are born to. I just find Brooks to be a complete farce on multiple levels.

Feb 24, 2012

The best of modern understanding of humans and how they really work, told as a story by a skilled and thought-provoking writer. He reaches the pinnacle around chapter 20, pouring out insight after insight, backed by a few simple, powerful, carefully chosen statistics.

qsohk0621 Feb 22, 2012

If you like learning about human behavior then this is a good read for you. Very well written book. I recommend this to all.

zavirani Jan 04, 2012

An interesting story put together by David Brooks, who has a gift for weaving interesting thoughts and theories into an allegorical tale. The characters he develops to get his thoughts across, Harold and Erica, are both relatable on many levels, and very human. You share in their love, their desires, their ambition, and their not so good moments as well. Many of the parts are very thought provoking, as he seamlessly goes back and forth between the points made through the story of the characters and the real world thoughts and analysis that set the foundation of the characters. Overall, a very good read that gives you a lot to think about.

Dec 20, 2011

Great book, but you have to be ready to think while you read this book (it's not just an "entertain you without making you work" sort of reading). For those who like to learn, understand and evolve, give this a try. If you want a light read without much enlightenment, don't pick this book up.

mrc0201 Sep 08, 2011

I loved this book and am actually going to buy my own copy. I thought it gave me insights into myself, but also into how brains work in general. I teach at a community college, and I've been sharing things I've read since school started. Students love the information as it helps them learn better. Or it could.

Aug 29, 2011

I couldn't read it all the way through either. It's like being forced to look into a mirror and have all your flaws pointed out in painful detail.

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qsohk0621 Feb 22, 2012

qsohk0621 thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over


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