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
I really enjoyed listening to this book. I almost stopped listening in the first part because I thought the story was dull and uninspiring, but I was determined to get through it and I am very glad I did. Have patience with it. It pulls together many scientific / sociological studies into one fictional story. I have thought about it and brought it up in conversation many times since reading it.
I read this book a while ago, but I remember it being a good summary of a lot of the other psychology books I had read. It encapsulates a lot of research and puts it into a very human perspective. Quite enjoyable to listen to.