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The Road to Character: The Humble Journey to an Excellent Life

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by David Brooks
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The Road to Character: The Humble Journey to an Excellent Life by David Brooks

"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 "r?sum? 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

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Ebook Details
Pages: 320
Size: 563 KB
Publisher: Random House
Date published:   2015
ISBN: 9780679645030 (DRM-EPUB)

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