The Social Animal

Friday, March 11, 2011

David Brooks, columnist at the New York Times, will talk about his new book, The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement


David Brooks

Comments [19]

greta cohan from white plains ny

I intend to read Brooks' book because, not only do I respect David Brooks, but after having taught for 36 years at a community college, I enthusiastically agree that personal connections are absolutely vital to education. I was delighted with his interview with Brian Lehrer!! Bravo, Mr. Brooks.

Mar. 11 2011 05:16 PM
Mike from Tribeca

Just like Mr Brooks' last book, the one about how most people in this country are satisfied with their lot in life, this one will surely go straight to the remainder bin.

Mar. 11 2011 11:14 AM
mc from Brooklyn

Most leading education reform proponents, including Mayor Bloomberg advocate data keeping and measuring. How would one measure the ability of a teacher to "bond" or "connect" with students? Who decides when it's successful?

Mar. 11 2011 11:08 AM
Opal S from NYC

Just what I would expect from Mr. Brooks--in one word--simplistic.
The question re the Mayor, Mr. Brooks fails to mention the vendetta the Mayor has for the unionized teachers.
In general the issues are so much more complex--there's a history behind all the problems. The example of the young woman demanding to be put into a charter school is one instance and does not ring true. And is this really a solution?
Mr. Books comes from a particluar background with a particular mindset and has no idea of the complexity of the problems.

Mar. 11 2011 11:05 AM
mick from NYC

The only thing new here, to echo David Brabyn's comment, is it is a CONSERVATIVE saying it. In the current public discourse, sociology is disregarded because as everyone knows only liberals are sociologists, and only CONSERVATIVES are pragmatic, non-ideological, truthful, cold-eyed realists! Yeah, long live the common wisdom!

Mar. 11 2011 11:04 AM

Uh, another gas bag.. up there with Tom Friedman, who has nothing new to say to people who already have a clue.

Mar. 11 2011 11:01 AM
Estelle from Austin

I think it's relevant to note that in court trials, the judge actually instructs jurors to take into account our "gut feeling" in addition to the facts.

Mar. 11 2011 11:01 AM
ak from brooklyn

I agree that emotions are the underlying structure of communication and thus the way things actually work.

I'm glad that he's advocating a return to face to face encounters- as that will improve the quality of life for people.

I agree that the emotional context of student in classroom directly influences their participation. How are they received and perceived- this has been studied in terms of stereotyping for years. The context of social hierarchy creates an emotional context.

So in that sense I agree with Brooks, on the other hand- I don't really trust the conclusions he will ultimately draw from it.

Mar. 11 2011 10:58 AM
David Brabyn from New York

1) Is any of this new? Didn't David take Sociology 101?

2) Why is it taboo in the American public discourse to highlight anything that points away from individual responsibility?

Mar. 11 2011 10:57 AM

is this new?
sounds like brooks drank some lefty tea

Mar. 11 2011 10:57 AM
Geo from astoria

Why do most Republicans make such hypocritical and illogical arguments? (ex. abortion bad, guns war good) disregarding science in many cases as well (ex. climate change and evolution)
When will logic come back to the right wing so we can have productive debates to solve our problems.?
You are a logical man. HELP!!!!

Mar. 11 2011 10:56 AM
Mr. Bad from NYC

I think the real problem is that Brooks mistakes "achievement" and "success" with the built in advantages our society provides to kids from good families who go along and get along, placeholders that grow up to inherit, do nothing and exploit the works of others. They are the "winners" and their lack of character had everything to do with it, wow, that is some sad hypothesis David.

Mar. 11 2011 10:55 AM
Carla Quinn from Bayside

I don't doubt that face-to-face communication is more efficient, but email and text reduce conflict. Typing forces people to think -- at least slightly -- before they speak, and the marginal inconvenience lends itself to terse, clear statements. Who among us hasn't dozed off while a teacher rambled disjointedly on peripheral topics?

Mar. 11 2011 10:55 AM

The reason why the schools have worsened since the 1960s, was due to doing away with the Dewey Comprehensive High School system, which usually had FOUR tracks: academic, vocational, commericial and general. Academic was for college preparation. Vocational was for those preparing for the trades or trade school; the Commercial diploma was for those preparing to go out and work in offices. And, the General diploma was just for those who showed up on time and didn't give too many problems. We should go back to that system. Today, everything is academics and reading, and most kids would prefer to work with their hands. They do not want just books, books, books, books. I love books, but most people are simply not interested in doing research or other academic work. Why are we pushing everyone into college, or into failure?

Mar. 11 2011 10:55 AM
Elizabeth from Forest Hills

This sounds stupid. What is he talking about?

Mar. 11 2011 10:51 AM

David's little story is evidence that if you are pushy, loudmouthed, complain, moan, whine, and finally cheat, you CAN " make it." Some guilt ridden rich person will jar open the door a bit for you.``

Mar. 11 2011 10:49 AM
Mr. Bad from NYC

PURE HORATIO ALGER! Now with Science (statistical of course)!

Mar. 11 2011 10:48 AM
Jack from Brooklyn

Does David Brooks, therefore, support funding for the arts? In education, in public life, etc? After all, what better invites people to reflect upon the irrational, the blurry aspects of life?

Mar. 11 2011 10:47 AM
Mr. Bad from NYC

Ya' know I like David Brooks, and who doesn't, he's awfully friendly with a nice voice, polite, unprepossessing, etc. The problem with him is that he's never right about anything, ever, and not a very challenging thinker. This exile article written by John Dolan summarizes his writing better than I ever could:

AND NOW HE'S BACK, with another book about how Homo Sapiens are akshully just Homo Conformos and anyone who isn't on the consumerist train to bliss is akshully NOT living up to their potential in terms of human life. What a crock of bliss that is. Can you ask David what exactly are the political implications of his "thoughts" because it looks a lot like Brave New World with all the "feelies" and "soma" replaced by the intertubes and prozac. Anyone who could be "happy" with the state of the world as described by Brooks must have been lobotomized or eagerly contemplating the life that will follow the procedure.

Mar. 11 2011 10:22 AM

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