I really wanted to love this book. Over the years I've worked hard to study all aspects of human behavior in hopes of creating a fulfilling life. This book promised to weave all of the individual aspects of human behavior research into one graspable narrative. However, the fictional lives portrayed were loveless, joyless, career driven and frankly tortured and bleak. I definitely admire Brooks for the effort, but I'm not really sure who this book is for or what message he wanted to get across. Those interested in hard research will be underwhelmed while those looking for life guidance will be left without any solid take away points.
Listening to this book, I have in turns taken specific life advice, been struck by truths about human behavior, and felt deep empathy for these characters onto whom Brooks deftly models human nature. Enriching, fascinating, humorous, and moving - my understanding of what a person and a society is has been forever deepened.
How We Decide- Jonah Lehrer. Also a lot of Malcolm Gladwell books.He references these types of books a lot.
Social Psychology 101 in Narrative Form
As someone who has read Malcolm Gladwell and Jonah Lehrer in the past, I thoroughly enjoyed a similar presentation of interesting statistics about psychology and sociology. He did repeat some of what has been said in other books- so I had heard some of it before. The book itself tries to synthesize much of that kind of data. The narrative element kept it engaging, and I felt like I knew Harold and Erica. David Brooks used a humorous writing style as he explored dozens of social topics. If I had one criticism, I would say that he touched on too many topics, and could have hit a stronger main point had he narrowed his range a bit. Overall, it was a joy to read. As a 20 something, it made me reevaluate my priorities in life.
It met my expectations, which were to hear about recent neuroscience research with recurring characters as instruments of explanation.
The most memorable moment was the last chapter.
The narrator was great.
I totally agree with a previous reviewer that this book is "a mess." That is the best way to describe this book.
I truly enjoyed the beginning of the book, but in the second half it just gets totally haphazard and forced. He just puts Harold and Erica into any situation and then lists some random study or quote to justify it, but each point is disconnected from the rest and incompatible with the initial narrative that started off so strong.
I did finish it, but it was definitely a struggle to keep up with it in part 2.
I DO NOT recommend this audiobook.
Narration was fine, though.
50 year old woman, financial executive, interested in science, human behaviour and history in laymen terms & always enjoy good fiction.
VERY high. It was a compelling combination of social behaviour explanation in the format of a novel. I found it both informative and entertaining and did not want it to end.
I burst out lauging in many occasions, smiled in even more and must say cried also.
Strongly recommended if you are interested in what makes human's tick.
The book tells the story of a couple throughout their lives, from birth to death. I liked being able to follow their lives throughout the book. But based on the title and description of the book, I thought this would be more of a book on dealing with social situations and how people interact with each other. In reality its a book of how two people with different backgrounds navigated through life and it appeared they were only marginally happy with how life turned out. This book is full of interesting tidbits, facts and figures about how people think, but not much is practical application. To me, this was a book of interesting trivia. I liked it overall, but wish I hadn't spent over 16 hours listening to it for what I was able to get out of it. This is the reason for the 3 stars.