I loved this book. I teach college composition and research writing and would love to use David Brook's clever, insightful, and research-driven text to show the purpose of research.
Brooks writes an engaging story of 2 people followed from inception (literally) to death (literally). In that saga, he incorporates what science has to tell us today about nature and nurture. My daughter-in-law is due to have her first child 2 months from now and i found the chapters on birth and infancy to be quite fascinating. I was also quite taken with Brooks first person accounting of death. Not something you read (hear) every day! The narration is excellent. Admittedly, there are some boring chapters but there's a trade off between information and story line. Go for it.
I don't write book reports.
Brooks is comparing and contrasting two different made up lives and how they clash together in our social deal. He doesn't really do it well enough. Knowing the stories are made up kinda is the downfall of this book. I can see the points that he is making, but the stories aren't too far fetch where if he did a little more research, he could had wrote something that is real, then what is thought up in his head. In these kinds of books, I like real examples. If you ever read Outliers, you would know exactly in what I'm talking about.
I just like real subjects when reading these kinds of book. If Brooks did a little more research, this title would be outstanding, but his characters are made up and he is trying to put the facts and fable together, which is interesting, but not great.
I found this book riveting. I learned so much, and was very entertained. Brooks did such a good job interweaving the stories of his main characters, Harold and Erica, and the most current research on human behavior. I was was so attached to Harold and Erica that I was crying at the end of the book, when they too live the last chapter of their lives.
"It is only with the heart that one can see rightly, what is essential is invisible to the eye." Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Absolutely fabulous! With the application of this knowledge there might be hope for humanity. The unconcious drives us!
Simply amazing book! I have always waited for someone to describe life this way! It's the little details in your life that count more!
Physician and Educator
Mr. Brooks presents a great and insightful look at typical Americans. He shows a common-sense ability to "call a spade, a spade" without "political correctness". He has a clear communication style that lends itself well to the spoken word as well as the written word. Mr. Brooks presents examples of how ordinary people make their way under a variety of conditions. There are some practical tools for success presented as well as some examples of how many people find themeselves questioning so-leaders who are more self-promoting than actually leading. This is an excellent book for anyone who has more than a passing interest in human nature and in modern American culture. Mr. Brooks is an excellent observer with great insight.
Mr. Brooks brings together mainstream scientific theory, flawless reflection, and laser precise observation on subject matter that encompasses us every day. I thoroughly enjoyed envisioning two peoples journey through their entire lives while having explained (in detail) how each significant moment was shaped by preceding significant moments. I particularly loved the science behind it all, how it came to be, and how it shapes us. I learned quite a bit about me and my life through the story of Erica and Harold. I am simply in awe of Mr. Brooks' ability to bring all of this fact, reflection, and observation into one beautiful work. Kudos to you sir!
I'm a fan of David Brooks' NYT columns and his appearances on the News Hour, although I don't always agree with him. Likewise with this book; many of his conclusions I completely agree with. The one conclusion I have a problem with is that deity-focused societies are more successful than secular ones.
I really enjoyed the juxtaposition of the story with the policy analysis. Granted, Brooks isn't going to make a living as a novelist, but using a story to illustrate public policy failures and successes makes the content much more enjoyable and memorable.
This narrator isn't the world's greatest, but he gets the job done.
Highly recommend this one.