Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Book Review: The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement by David Brooks

David Brooks, author of the non-fiction book entitled The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement illustrates the workings of the human brain. He describes and quotes various brain research studies that indicate how the different parts of the brain function that enables a human being to engage in love, develop character and ultimately perform in day to day living.

Brooks brings forth the research through two characters; he takes them on a journey of finding love, of getting married and having a child, all the while highlighting the social nuances and the brain activities that impact this couple’s decision making process.

The reader is intrigued as Brooks moves back and forth; from the technical details of how the brain functions to applying these technicalities to real life situations of the characters he develops in The Social Animal. He provides a variety of examples and quotes from various scientists to validate his descriptions of how human beings function.

Brooks, through the characters, takes the reader from birth to the end of life explaining how and why human beings do what they do. He brings in the two solitudes of society; those who enjoy a “comfortable” lifestyle and those who are in the “uncomfortable” stratum of society. Brooks cleverly intersects these two strata through the offspring of members of these two strata. The reader is captivated by his well-defined explanation of the social state of American life.

The Social Animal is a fascinating illustration of the various brain research studies and their applications to human life.

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