After spending too much time with crappy modern fiction of recent, the kind of book that leaves your desire for insight hanging out the window like a dog’s tongue on a hot day, I turned to David Brooks’ “The Social Animal.” Brooks follows a fictional couple from birth through life’s completed journey turning to an encyclopedic reservoir of resources to explain and enlighten the how and why we get there. The breadth of his source material is stunning from ancient texts of philosophy and theology to the most modern resources of neuroimaging and brain study. It leaves me wondering how he ever completes his day job. This is a book where every sentence is worth it. Not only does he write with the crisp precision of a surgeon, but he can step on the gas and make you laugh, winch, weep, wonder and pause as those tiny hammers in your head go clink, clink, clink with a new vision or the profound recognition that what you barely knew you now know and understand why. I hate books with promise but no payoff. This book has promise and payoff. I will not spoil this but let me end with this: in a book that is primarily discoursive and intellectual, when the journey ended, tears were streaming down my face. The final line is the point of the spear. Don’t go there first. Let him lead you there so the puncture is that much sweeter. Highly recommended. I may just start over and hear it again.
Yes and he is outstanding.
What a amazing insight into the deepest corners of the human mind. I personally found this a profound experience to listen to. This audiobook made me experience a whole array of emotions and feelings even if with its scientific explanations and background it was somehow meant to be a book about solid facts and figures.
Brooks refers to a number of books by other authors - Jeff Hawkins (On Intelligence), Dan Ariely (Predictably Irrational), Daniel Gilbert (Stumbling on Happiness), among others. Each of those books provides a better in-depth view of a particular idea Brooks tries to get across at different points in his book, but The Social Animal attempts to provide a survey of current understanding of our unconscious brains and is reasonably entertaining and successful in doing so. If you want to gain an in-depth understanding our our unconscious mind and how it functions, there are better books. But if you want an introduction into the many ways that our unconscious brain affects our everyday lives and allows us to be happy (or not), this is a good introduction.
There is a lot of current information in this book, the author brings in the results of behavioral studies that are often surprising and sometimes contradict what one would (wrongly) assume. I learned a lot by listening to this audiobook and was entertained at the same time, what more can you ask.
This is a superb book and I have no reservation in giving it 5/5 across the board.
The ability to weave the powerful results of rafts and rafts of research results in sociology, behavioural science, psychology, neuroscience, anthropology and more into a captivating story.
I have one complaint. The US-centric view causes David Brooks in one part to write (p348) about living in "New York, China or Africa". This is nauseating. At best, New York is a state - but generally spoken about as a city. China is 1.5bn people with widely varying conditions, circumstances, cultures and environments. The same goes for Africa: 1.0bn people living in 54 countries. Please stop talking about Africa as a single place.
Say something about yourself!
I really enjoyed this, and my mom and sister each bought it and liked it too. Great way to present interesting information, 5 stars.
An amazing book.
David takes theory about brain function and social interaction and intergrates into the lives of characters that you become invested in.
I found myself crying at one stage - while listening to a popular science book!
Since my listening to "The Social Animal", several of my friends have bought the book on my suggestion... all had a similar reaction.
Not political at all and well put together kept me involve the entire time. Compares to the books by Malcolm Gladwell, but with more of a constant story line.
Reminds me of Freakanomics and Outliers