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The Road to Character

af David Brooks

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1,1131813,487 (3.51)23
"I wrote this book not sure I could follow the road to character, but I wanted at least to know what the road looks like and how other people have trodden it."--David Brooks With the wisdom, humor, curiosity, and sharp insights that have brought millions of readers to his New York Times column and his previous bestsellers, David Brooks has consistently illuminated our daily lives in surprising and original ways. In The Social Animal, he explored the neuroscience of human connection and how we can flourish together. Now, in The Road to Character, he focuses on the deeper values that should inform our lives. Responding to what he calls the culture of the Big Me, which emphasizes external success, Brooks challenges us, and himself, to rebalance the scales between our "resume virtues"--achieving wealth, fame, and status--and our "eulogy virtues," those that exist at the core of our being: kindness, bravery, honesty, or faithfulness, focusing on what kind of relationships we have formed. Looking to some of the world's greatest thinkers and inspiring leaders, Brooks explores how, through internal struggle and a sense of their own limitations, they have built a strong inner character. Labor activist Frances Perkins understood the need to suppress parts of herself so that she could be an instrument in a larger cause. Dwight Eisenhower organized his life not around impulsive self-expression but considered self-restraint. Dorothy Day, a devout Catholic convert and champion of the poor, learned as a young woman the vocabulary of simplicity and surrender. Civil rights pioneers A. Philip Randolph and Bayard Rustin learned reticence and the logic of self-discipline, the need to distrust oneself even while waging a noble crusade. Blending psychology, politics, spirituality, and confessional, The Road to Character provides an opportunity for us to rethink our priorities, and strive to build rich inner lives marked by humility and moral depth. "Joy," David Brooks writes, "is a byproduct experienced by people who are aiming for something else. But it comes." Praise for David Brooks's The Social Animal "Provocative. seeks to do nothing less than revolutionize our notions about how we function and conduct our lives."--The Philadelphia Inquirer "[A] fascinating study of the unconscious mind and its impact on our lives."--The Economist "Compulsively readable. Brooks's considerable achievement comes in his ability to elevate the unseen aspects of private experience into a vigorous and challenging conversation about what we all share."--San Francisco Chronicle "Brooks surveys a stunning amount of research and cleverly connects it to everyday experience. As in [Bobos in Paradise], he shows genius in sketching archetypes and coining phrases."--The Wall Street Journal "Authoritative, impressively learned, and vast in scope."--Newsweek "An enjoyably thought-provoking adventure."--The Boston Globe"--"#1 New York Times bestselling author David Brooks, a controversial and eye-opening look at how our culture has lost sight of the value of humility - defined as the opposite of self-preoccupation - and why only an engaged inner life can yield true meaning and fulfillment"--… (mere)
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» Se også 23 omtaler

Viser 1-5 af 18 (næste | vis alle)
It's difficult to write a book on character without taking a strong opinion on what it takes to "have character", but I felt like this one did. This left me without as much of a takeaway as I would have hoped. The main focus is on biographies of various people, looking into how they lived. The leading thread throughout these was relatively simple: develop your own beliefs, stick to them through the hard times, don't showboat and base your life on the journey rather than the outcome. ( )
  adamfortuna | May 28, 2021 |
Not a super-deep read, but provides some ideas to reflect on. The bulk of the book is arranged as mini-biographies of a number of historical figures, and how their lives reflected different aspects of character. These were hit-and-miss for me, but I very much enjoyed the segments on Dwight D. Eisenhower and George Eliot. ( )
  RandyRasa | Dec 3, 2020 |
Notes as of p. 50, approximately:

1. The breakdown between (success-driven) Adam I and (character-driven) Adam II could have been just as easily broken down along traditional gender lines as masculine values vs. feminine values. I don't think he has any clue, based on what I've read so far, that he is essentially valorizing the choices mothers make every day. There is nothing special or magical about people who spend their entire lives prioritizing other people, David. We call them women. (And indeed his first two case studies are women.)

2. There is an awful lot of mushy langauge in the introduction about how these super-character-ful people have an aura of patience and wisdom that is not, so far, borne out by the case studies.

3. So far, no Adam II case studies that are not ultimately vindicated by Adam I style successes.

4. A lot of unearned nostalgia for the past. What reads like support for parental abuse if it serves to develop a child's character. And a fundamental misunderstanding of the purpose of listening to one's own feelings and instincts and being true to oneself. This is not mutually exclusive with a life of service; it just keeps one from being abused.

I'll keep reading, but so far it reads like a book that would have been a better memoir than a moral map for society at large.
  andrea_mcd | Mar 10, 2020 |
I really enjoyed David Brooks earlier books, and he tells a story well but....

The Road to Character contains some interesting profiles of people that I do believe are fascinating, good research and social analysis, and some thoughtful observations, yet, there is a sense of whinging about the book that I found off-putting enough that I was often close to tossing the book across the room. I am glad I kept reading because Books' observations prove relavant to many things and keep cropping up in my thoughts. Besides whinging alone is not enough to discredit all the thoughtful work that went into this book. ( )
  dooney | Aug 31, 2019 |
A well reasoned and classical look at the maturing of ndividuals. Brooks used classical thought and the examples of lives of prominant individuals over the last 300 years to reveal that oftentimes living for something makes the adult more than living for oneself. Sometimes his summaries seemed off but his portrayals of individuals such as Day and Johnson hit hom. ( )
  JBreedlove | Apr 21, 2019 |
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"I wrote this book not sure I could follow the road to character, but I wanted at least to know what the road looks like and how other people have trodden it."--David Brooks With the wisdom, humor, curiosity, and sharp insights that have brought millions of readers to his New York Times column and his previous bestsellers, David Brooks has consistently illuminated our daily lives in surprising and original ways. In The Social Animal, he explored the neuroscience of human connection and how we can flourish together. Now, in The Road to Character, he focuses on the deeper values that should inform our lives. Responding to what he calls the culture of the Big Me, which emphasizes external success, Brooks challenges us, and himself, to rebalance the scales between our "resume virtues"--achieving wealth, fame, and status--and our "eulogy virtues," those that exist at the core of our being: kindness, bravery, honesty, or faithfulness, focusing on what kind of relationships we have formed. Looking to some of the world's greatest thinkers and inspiring leaders, Brooks explores how, through internal struggle and a sense of their own limitations, they have built a strong inner character. Labor activist Frances Perkins understood the need to suppress parts of herself so that she could be an instrument in a larger cause. Dwight Eisenhower organized his life not around impulsive self-expression but considered self-restraint. Dorothy Day, a devout Catholic convert and champion of the poor, learned as a young woman the vocabulary of simplicity and surrender. Civil rights pioneers A. Philip Randolph and Bayard Rustin learned reticence and the logic of self-discipline, the need to distrust oneself even while waging a noble crusade. Blending psychology, politics, spirituality, and confessional, The Road to Character provides an opportunity for us to rethink our priorities, and strive to build rich inner lives marked by humility and moral depth. "Joy," David Brooks writes, "is a byproduct experienced by people who are aiming for something else. But it comes." Praise for David Brooks's The Social Animal "Provocative. seeks to do nothing less than revolutionize our notions about how we function and conduct our lives."--The Philadelphia Inquirer "[A] fascinating study of the unconscious mind and its impact on our lives."--The Economist "Compulsively readable. Brooks's considerable achievement comes in his ability to elevate the unseen aspects of private experience into a vigorous and challenging conversation about what we all share."--San Francisco Chronicle "Brooks surveys a stunning amount of research and cleverly connects it to everyday experience. As in [Bobos in Paradise], he shows genius in sketching archetypes and coining phrases."--The Wall Street Journal "Authoritative, impressively learned, and vast in scope."--Newsweek "An enjoyably thought-provoking adventure."--The Boston Globe"--"#1 New York Times bestselling author David Brooks, a controversial and eye-opening look at how our culture has lost sight of the value of humility - defined as the opposite of self-preoccupation - and why only an engaged inner life can yield true meaning and fulfillment"--

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