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.
I am a fan of David Brooks, e.g., I watch him whenever I can on PBS. While I respect him immensely as an observer of political life, I was very disappointed by this book. He
creates characters that typify a certain generation and perspective, develops a basic plot, and then continues take a "break" to insert facts and historical context. I didn't not enjoy going back-and-forth and found it fatiguing.
'don't really remember his voice
Absolutely! It is so dense that I need to listen several times to fully absorb the finer points.
The characters tie the narrative together in an understandable and engaging manner. Recognizing human trends in behavior and development is fascinating in how we change as we grow and develop.
This book was fantastic! Wonderfully holistic and comprehensive summary of some of the most significant, recent, findings in psychology. He could have touched on evolutionary psychology a bit more, but it was still fantastically well done.
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.