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THE SOCIAL ANIMAL BOOK

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Editorial Reviews. cittadelmonte.info Review. Guest Reviewer: Walter Isaacson on The Social . The Social Animal by David Brooks, a Kindle book I began reading on July 28th when my mom and I were flying home from a trip to New York. Now he has written a book, “The Social Animal,” in order to assemble the evidence for a certain conception of the human mind, the wellsprings. Andy Beckett considers a thoughtful study of social mobility and success.


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The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement is a non-fiction book by American journalist David Brooks, who is otherwise best. Start by marking “The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement” as Want to Read: With unequaled insight and brio, David Brooks, the New York Times columnist and bestselling author of Bobos in Paradise, has long explored and explained the way we live. Buy The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and The Amazon Book Review Author interviews, book reviews, editors' picks, and more.

T here are few more awesome sights in modern, globalised intellectual life than a north American with a hot idea to sell. Milton Friedman and monetarism in the 70s; Francis Fukuyama and the end of history in the 90s; Malcolm Gladwell and his more recent pop-sociology — all have tirelessly publicised their catchphrases and key concepts until they achieved chattering-class ubiquity. David Brooks is more like Gladwell than Fukuyama or Friedman: Like all three, he knows how to convey sometimes complex notions in primetime-ready language, and he has a good sense of timing. The Social Animal is about social mobility, a key concern for many political people nowadays, but especially for rightwingers like Brooks, as the realisation belatedly dawns on them that the great free-market liberalisation they have unleashed over the past 30 years has not produced the fluid, meritocratic societies they hoped for.

These passages felt like grocery lists of personality characteristics stamped onto the foreheads of lumps of protoplasm, and I could never really get into most of the people or events described. In the end, the use of these two characters had the effect of cheapening and marginalizing the scientific points. Since I never really identified much with Harold or Erica, I would end up frequently thinking "well, that might be true for them, but I would still consider recommending this to a non-scientist who hasn't read anything in psychology and has a very broad interest or aptitude for trivia.

But I can't help but feel that any number of books that are slightly more specialized would be a much better popular way to be introduced to modern ideas in psychology and neurobiology. View all 11 comments. Before reading this book I believed that I and most other humans used our rational minds to make life's decisions. After reading this book I now know that the subconscious mind is a raging monster and the rational mind is the midget hanging on for dear life who thinks that since his hands are on the reigns that everything is under control.

The following is an example of how some of the most important parts of our lives depend on guidance from our subconscious minds with very little training or f Before reading this book I believed that I and most other humans used our rational minds to make life's decisions.

The following is an example of how some of the most important parts of our lives depend on guidance from our subconscious minds with very little training or formal preparation: Yet by far the most important decisions they will make are about whom to marry and whom to befriend, what to love and what to despise, and how to control impulses. On these matters, they are almost entirely on their own.

We are good at talking about material incentives, but bad about talking about emotions and intuitions. We are good at teaching technical skills, but when it comes to the most important things, like character, we have almost nothing to say. Synthesize the findings of research of the subconscious mind into one narrative.

Describe how this research influences the way we understand human nature. Draw out the social, political, and moral implications of these findings.

Help counteract a bias in our culture to ignore the importance of the human subconscious mind. Explore why experiments in improving the educational system almost always result in disappointing results. David Brooks uses his journalistic skills to organized this material into an interesting and easy-to-read format.

He narrates the lives to two fictional characters and follows every step of their development from pre-conception through to death to illustrate the findings of research findings from the fields of psychology, sociology, physiology, economics, politics, and neuroscience. At first I thought the use of fictional characters to demonstrate the nonfiction facts was a bit hokey.

But by the end of the book I emotionally identified with these fictional friends, and I was sad to see them grow old and die. The following are some miscellaneous quotations from the book that I found interesting: Children with insecure or avoidance attachments were much more likely to develop behavior problems at school.

Kids who had dominating, intrusive, and unpredictable caregivers at six months were much more likely to be inattentive and hyperactive by school age. View all 6 comments. Aug 12, Mike rated it it was ok. Similar to The Black Swan , I can recommend portions for its startling insight into the patterns of thought from which we must extricate ourselves to progress and reflect. Unfortunately, those insights are packaged in a specific way, and most unfortunately, they are packaged by David Brooks.

The book, which rapidly oscillates laundry-lists of half-baked research summations told without sufficient reflection or implication or really sufficient information regarding the methodologies, the conclusions, the rebuttals or the conflicting theories that are ever-so-present in the bullshittery of social sciences.

When it is not taking little tidbits and making impossibly giant leaps to its conclusions more on that in a minute , it is telling the story of Harold and Erica. The story of Harold and Erica is a boring, stagnant, impossible story.

It is told episodically in an embarrassing show of exposition that would make a creative writing teacher blush. It is also told in a seeming stasis of chronological time, hopping from contrivance to contrivance in the hopes of explaining some sect of neuroscientific research. For a book about love and character, these straw men are infuriatingly unidentifiable as people.

Much of the examples of their lives as it moves from chunk to chunk hardly account for the passage of time, or really abide by the rules of the book. They drift from scenario to scenario through a floating chronology that hardly accounts for any MAJOR societal shifts or diverse arrays of human experience wherein perhaps more than one thing happens at a time.

These are social animals, you say? Why are the prototypes, then, hardly seen to interact with anybody? How are their identities so distant? Back to the giant leaps of logic. I am very skeptical of the findings that are put forth in the book, but this is meant to not suggest that the research itself is faulty, but that it is poorly summarized or not given sufficient credence.

For example, he states, through one parenthetical phrase, that people who ruminate do not tend to perform as well on problem-solving tasks are those who are distracted. I hate how the book is annotated: The endnotes are numbered but not to correspond with a number in the book. One has to simply go by a four-word quotation. Good luck putting in the work to re-find what you are looking for.

Yet, back to rumination: It suggested that depression was important to put people into a headspace that allowed them to solve problems. By encouraging rumination. Why did they know that? They saw that ruminators performed better on problem-solving tasks. So who is right? Disagreements between 'camps' still elicited sympathy for the others' perspective. Am I supposed to take both at their word?

Did one get disproved? Can Brooks at least discount some of the opposing literature that his home newspaper printed and circulated to millions of readers? I hope he can, and I wished he can. I want to believe he isn't susceptible to the oft-condemned confirmation bias, but I have a hard time trusting Brooks. Sometimes his glance at different findings is so cursory that it elicits a sense of alarm, a sense that he is taking things at face value.

Sometimes it seems he is hypocritically obliging his own confirmation bias despite desperately railing against it.

The Social Animal Summary

Sometimes, not enough information is given. This little study comes off the heels of recognizing the following: Would they still prefer their primitive origins, or does the emotional context override that? Or would they? Other studies show an increased physiological arousal creates more outward approval. Would their affinity for primitive origins override their sex drives? Would framing go against their evolutionary grain?

Which ultimate truth is, then, true? The thing with these studies is that they are attempting to eliminate factors to illuminate some past, some inalienable fact, about evolutionary behavior or human characteristics. But this knowledge is virtually inapplicable. There is no way I could demonstrate my preference for a painting without the circumstances of that day affecting it, whether it be the weather, a cornucopia of beautiful men and women walking down the street, etc.

This is established by Brooks himself. We may have approached a small bit of truth, but this truth cannot be applied or replicated in real life because it is intentionally reductive of the human experience, yet it is reductive in order to garner insight for the selfsame experience.

But when social science attempts to reintroduce the innumerable factors that come with being human and socializing, multiple truths seem to arise, but they also conflict, and some truths may, as we saw in the previous paragraph, be preferred over other truths, all because of context.

Some of the Kenyans may be primed, some may be aroused, some may bring trauma to the experience. Nothing more. The book needn't exist to make this point. But it can exist to show us the problems with its own existence. The previous paragraph is meant to bring further illumination into the human experience by allowing for these studies to intertwine. This would introduce more factors into play. But the problem with social science — and possibly with many of the studies quoted herein — is that they reduce the irreducible.

It is foolish to apply this variable-eliminating regression analysis to any form of human behavior, because to make any kinds of conclusions, one attempts to control instead of allow for other factors. The other factors that the human mind can control for, which turns out, according to other experiments, to not be that many.

We can control situation, maybe context, maybe environment, but we cannot control for most influencing factors.

What about the other factors beyond human comprehension, let alone control? How do we control in an experiment for the behavior of the unconscious, or the most complicated object in the known universe? How do we dare predict the unconscious based on the models of the purely conscious mind? It's some form of cognitive imperialism: These overly-reductive bits and pieces are not woven together very well in The Social Animal, leaving a disjointed, segmented, sometimes confusingly over-simple read.

In one section, Erica concentrates deeply on a tennis game — and even creates pictures in her head - to manage her self-control, yet in another Brooks says the experts perform best when they are not concentrating. How do these facts relate? This is strange given how overzealous he is to look to discredit the rationalist and scientific models. That year may not be exact, but consider it the 70s. Or a study that was only cited — it seems — through a blog post?

My point here is not that social science is bullshit it kind of is, but that's not my point. Far from it. My point is that Brooks needed desperately to elaborate upon the credibility of his findings instead of finding an oblique means of referencing his studies and veering past results with abandon.

The Social Animal by David Brooks – review

These studies were not meant to be shoehorned into the under-developed life narrative of two inhuman protagonists, either. In closing: It is the equivalent of examining Hogwarts for cues on adolescent development.

Sure, there's some interesting cocktail-party information in there, and The Social Animal is rich with those nutrients and minerals. Good luck getting some use out of them. Mar 21, Trish rated it really liked it Shelves: I listen to David Brooks because he has a way looking at the world that adds depth to my perceptions. As a result of hearing his point of view, I can articulate my own positions better. Between the two of us, we do not cover all possible iterations of an argument, but we make a wider circle of opinion.

He seems to be a man I could negotiate with, and come up with a better solution than if either he or I made decisions on our own. Another thing I like about David Brooks is that he is not despairing, despite knowing what he does about the way Washington works.

He just plods along, looking for and picking up little gems along the road that might mean the difference between collapse and success in our post-apocalyptic world. I think he essentially has a dark view of the path our leaders are walking. But, he says, we the populace could change our fate if we took responsibility for learning the lessons science is now teaching us. In The Social Animal Brooks writes a story meant to illustrate in narrative the results of studies done for the psychology, sociology, neuroscience, and medical fields in recent years.

It is a quick and easy read, though I paused several times over the choices the protagonists made, remembering choices in my own life that echoed. I am familiar with many of the studies he used as a structure for the narrative, so could follow his lead, though I did wonder whether this was the best way to explicate the material.

Protagonists Erika and Harold grow up in different types of social environments and we follow them through life. Things happen to them, and they also impact and shape their environment. They both end up in the same place, despite getting there by very different means.

He gives voice to his Hamiltonian interest from conservative President Alexander Hamilton and tries to describe ways this successful president might make choices were he alive today.

Brooks makes a thoughtful attempt to synthesize disparate fragments of information that he has gleaned in the course of his life and work, and so adds to the national dialogue.

View all 7 comments. Mar 08, Deb rated it it was ok. What was that? Starting out the book, I was pretty optimistic and hopeful. There were tons of copies in the New Book collection in the library that's got to be a good sign, right? The first part of the book was pretty engaging. Admittedly, I'm a psychology junkie, so having chapters that rehashed what I've been reading about in recent books was pretty fun.

This part of the book was kind of a trip down a summary lane, which had the cross streets of topics like: But, the more I read, the more I realized that this section was indeed just a rehashing.

It was almost as if the author had spent years collecting interesting findings of psychology and sociology, and was using the first part of the book to catalogue them. There wasn't a whole lot of creativity and integration happening here despite the author's attempt to "integrate science and psychology with sociology, politics, cultural commentary, and the literature of success" p. OK, I was a little disappointed at this point, but the principle of loss aversion one of the many rehashed topics of this section kept me going.

I had already invested time and hope in this book, and I couldn't admit to defeat. There was, after all, still the promise that this book was going to be the happiest story I'll ever read. Unhappily, this was probably the biggest and most deluded? Perhaps the author was referring to another book, or he neglected to read what he had written?

The story of Erica and Harold the main characters in the book is anything but happy. Let me use the author's own words to demonstrate: Erica would cry while blow-drying her hair. She wondered to herself if it would be worth trading her career success in exchange for happiness at home.

Harold would sometimes see couples his own age out for a walk, holding hands. That was unimaginable for him now. For Harold, as for Erica, the profoundest source of satisfaction was work, and it wasn't enough. Harold wasn't going to commit suicide, but if someone told him he had a fatal disease, he felt he could face the prospect with equanimity.

I could cite countless examples see other reviews , but the one that stands out is the couple's "decision" not to have children. Although Harold clearly and deeply wanted children, he only mentioned this one time to Erica whose response was "No, not now! Don't you ever burst in on me with that. This is the happiest story I'll ever read? OK, maybe I never did get over that over-promise. So, now I was two-thirds through the book, and admitting defeat was not an option. I was going to get through this social animal, line by excruciating line.

The final part of the book seemed to be the author's attempt to congeal and share the political ideas that have been marinating in his mind over the past few decades. Admittedly, I am not familiar with the author's life's writings on politics, policy, society, and culture, but I'm guessing they're embodied in Harold's views and ramblings. I could not help but wonder if the author was reflecting on his own mission and experience when describing Harold's exhausting plight: Not many people seemed to agree with him Still, he plugged away, feeling that he was mostly right about things and that someday others would reach the conclusions he had He was confident that his 'socialist' approach, in one guise or another, would someday have a large impact on the world.

It was convoluted, forced, and disillusioned. But, I suppose that complemented the flavors of the rest of the book. On the other hand, the ending was a happy one for me--I had finished this beast of a book!

I'm not quite sure if that is the happy ending the author had in mind. Would I recommend this book to someone who wants a satisfying, enlightening, creative, and well-written read? Would I recommend this book to someone who wants a rehash, over-promise, self idea promotion, and absurd character development?

Oh my goodness. These thoughts won't stop. It's time to return this book to the library. View all 3 comments. Nov 13, Trevor rated it really liked it Shelves: I read this after reading this review - http: In that way it reminded me a bit of Drive: He even discusses Bourdieu at one point and the idea of cultural capital in relation to education, this I read this after reading this review - http: I found it hard to know what to make of the two main characters.

As a device to structure the work I could see where he was going, but they became too particular at times and at others seemed to be little more than mouthpieces for the political views of the author. The other thing that annoyed me about this book was this: The United States has spent over a trillion dollars to try to reduce the achievement gap between white and black students.

Public-education spending per pupil increased by percent in real terms between and Have you ever noticed that money is never the solution? Firstly, what was this trillion dollars spent on and by whom and over what time period? Is it a trillion dollars over the last six weeks, for example?

Or a trillion dollars since ? Does part of that trillion dollars include the cost of bringing black people to the land of the free in slave ships, for example? Secondly, never trust aggregate data. But if you talk about aggregate data you can say there has been a percent increase in per pupil funding and that sounds like something has been done — when, in fact, nothing has been done but more benefit being provided to those already well off.

And just how many students at Harvard have had their tuition fees waived entirely? One percent? Ten percent? Do you imagine for one second that the proportion of students in Harvard from such families matches the proportion of such families in the US population generally? Sometimes granting free access to one person is a way to deny access to thousands. But overall I agree with the main message of this book.

We need to see ourselves as social animals and we need to have more compassion. View 2 comments. Jun 03, Holly rated it liked it. While i like david brooks a lot actually, and often find his political commentary interesting and expressed well, i was ultimately dissapointed in his book, the social animal. The device of harold and erica was so filled with boring and unimportant information and stereotypes that i almost gave the book up.

What saved it was the interesting research, though it would have been a much better book had it been a discussion of research with small examples woven in rather than the other way around. Th While i like david brooks a lot actually, and often find his political commentary interesting and expressed well, i was ultimately dissapointed in his book, the social animal. That brought the book up from a 1 to a 3 for me. Additionally, the pop culture references were often a bit misplaced, especially the reference to a girl who would have wanted to be in a girls gone wild video being a disciple in the church of lady gaga!

Its definitely common knowledge that lady gaga is all about self respect and freedom of expression, not about reckless drinking and boob videos. Also, is it necessary in a book like this to discuss what bands individuals were listening to at different periods as a social commentary. It seemed like a ploy to look connected to pop culture that just didn't add anything to the book in my opinion.

Apr 07, Caroline rated it really liked it Shelves: This is a book which brings the latest neuroscience and psychological research to us via a story. A story about the lives of two people, Erica and Harold. They grow up, get married and grow old together. The book tells us that our brains love stories, and perhaps that is why the author decided to choose this vehicle to bring us all this cutting edge research.

It's a method which acts as a cohesive umbrella, pulling in all sorts of contemporary ideas and weaving them together into a scenario - chi This is a book which brings the latest neuroscience and psychological research to us via a story.

The Social Animal by David Brooks: A Scornful Review

It's a method which acts as a cohesive umbrella, pulling in all sorts of contemporary ideas and weaving them together into a scenario - childhood - adulthood - partnership - old age - that is familiar to us on all levels. If one was to establish a hierarchy of ideas in this book Descartes' maxim "I think therefore I am" is usurped by the thousands of unconscious messages we get every minute of our lives, from our brain and the rest of our body.

Messages which really dictate our decisions. My one bugbear with the book was the author's critique of rationalism, which he sees as a rather blind mechanism attached to the conscious mind.

His criticisms of rationalism also made me realise how much I was brought up in a family that revered it There wasn't all that much in this book that was new to me I was familiar with a lot of the research described. But I learn via repetition, and the information was presented in a different and enjoyable format.

So I am pleased I read it. Well, I enjoyed most of it. I didn't enjoy the the last section, which I found boring. If I were to read it again I would read up to page , skip pages - , and then finish by reading the postscript. I shall end with my usual copious list of odds and sods that I want to remember.

I really don't expect anyone else to read this - it's just for my records. We judge intellect via the other person's vocabulary a fact I find animating, arresting and commoving! Words are the fuel of courtship - which may be why we have such large vocabularies. Emotion is important in helping us reach decisions eg "I like this. This will make me feel better.

You don't become a logical Mr Spock, you become rudderless. They make an intense effort to get their mother's attention. They organise their internal states by seeing their minds reflected back at them in the faces of others.

A baby's brain is built by his mother's brain. Mammal brains grow properly only when they are able to interpenetrate with another.

A mother's love and attention can make a baby's IQ grow by 50 points. We are capable of fuzzy thinking. We have rough ideas of things, and from variable patterns we can create gists. Computers on the other hand are utterly precise. This is shown in Williams Syndrome - whereby people with impressive social skills are severely impaired when dealing with other tasks. These are the personality types we get with. We are also aware of the personality types who are our social opposites.

The adult personality - including political views - is forever defined in opposition to one's natural enemies in high school. People have a tendency to form groups, even on the basis of the most arbitrary characteristics imaginable There is a lot of pressure to conform to the norms of your group, and agree with other group members. We feel deep loyalty and affection for our group, and much less for other groups. We empathise much more when someone in our group feels pain - when someone in another group feels pain, it is much easier to dismiss it.

People who already have some knowledge about a topic will become faster and better at acquiring more knowledge and remembering what they learn. Core knowledge helps us learn more about a subject. People want to take conscious knowledge and turn it into unconscious knowledge, which is almost automatic eg learning to drive a car.

The way to do this is via repetition. It is far better to go over material five times on consecutive nights, than it is to cram one long session into one night.

We need to read new things again and again. The former encourages more hard work, whereas the latter suggests that achievement is an inborn trait, and it deters people from doing difficult tasks. Nor do the good players have brilliant memories.

The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement

What they do have is the ability to see formations. On the other hand when you lay out the pieces randomly on the board, they can't remember where they are. It's internalizing the relationships between pieces of information. Every field has its own structure, its own scheme of big ideas, organizing principles and re-occuring patterns - in short, its own paradigm.

The expert has absorbed this structure and has a tacit knowledge of how to operate within it. Economists think like economists. Lawyers think like lawyers. The result is that an expert doesn't think more about a subject - they think less. The brain is an 'anticipation' machine.

It is always automatically trying to build patterns out of data. The mental system is geared towards predicting rewards rather than the rewards themselves.

The main business of the brain is modelling, so we can anticipate things. We continually construct little anticipatory patterns in our brains to help us predict the future.

When we are right we get a little surge of reward or tranquillity, when our model contradicts reality, there is tension and concern. Even babies. Some researches refer to dandelion kids and orchid kids.

Dandelion kids will do pretty well wherever you put them. Orchid kids are more variable. They bloom in the right environment and wither in the wrong one. Ambition and a high work ethic is more important for success in business.

People who flit from one interest to another are much less likely to succeed. Reminded that they are women, they will do worse. We therefore tend towards the status quo.

Most people are overly self-confident about their abilities. People with the least skills and talents are the most likely of all to do this. Most people are incompetent. Most people are in denial about their incompetence. We do what our friends do. If our friends smoke, we smoke. If our friends are lonely we are lonely. If our friends are fat we are fat.

People who place tremendous emphasis on material well-being are less happy than people who don't. What really makes people happy are intimate bonds, mixing with people even casually, and big challenges.

One of the reasons the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been so stubbornly unresolved is that each side wants the other to accept its historical narrative. The unconscious mind has vast, implicit memory systems it can draw on. It has a much higher processing capacity. At its highest potential it is , times stronger than the conscious mind. It can help us know things we can't consciously remember eg we will know that someone is nasty or nice, without remembering why we know this. The conscious mind generally can't follow what is really going on.

It just looks at the results and forms an interpretation. Some researchers believe that this is all the conscious mind does But there is a split - some researchers take a dim view of the unconscious. Some take a rosy view. Some researchers seem temperamentally inclined to trust emotion and intuition, others are distrustful of these things.

We can nudge it. We're better at handling visual images than abstract concepts. We can only hold a thought for about 10 seconds at a time. Lists and agendas are therefore helpful. We are much better at comparing one thing to another thing, rather than to three or four things. We work best with binary comparisons. We like evidence that confirms our own bias. To hear opposing viewpoints it is better to listen to them first.

We are good at spotting our own mistakes eg typos are typed with a lighter stroke than the strokes for correct letters on our keyboards. We hesitate with mistakes. We often make errors. Life is about progressing forward through our errors - learning as we go along.

Researchers can't agree if the programme works better than other programmes out there, or if it works at all. It is the quality of specific AA groups that matter - the core people running the group. The unconscious has first to dehumanise the victim.

This is also found in those who enact genocides. After the act, the perpetrator will justify what he has done. He will tell himself that the victim had it coming, or that circumstances compelled them to act as they did, or someone else is to blame. Few switch parties once they hit middle-age, even in the face of major historic events such as war or the Watergate scandal. Drawing on a vast range of data researchers argue that party attachment is more like attachment to a religious denomination or a social club.

People have stereotypes in their heads about what Democrats and Republicans are like, and they gravitate towards the party made up of people like themselves. Once people have formed an affiliation to a party, they bend their philosophies and perceptions of reality so they become more and more aligned with members of their political tribe. The way candidates look is very important.

Candidates for senate or political positions elsewhere in the world can be largely picked correctly by students Most voters are moderate, but political campaigns are structured to take a moderate nation and make it polarized.

Once politics become a contest pitting one identity group against another, it is no longer possible to compromise. Everything becomes a status war between my kind of people and your kind of people. Even a small concession feel like a moral capitulation. Those who try and build relationships across party lines are ostracised. Politics no longer becomes a place for trade-offs, but a contest for honour and group supremacy.

Some aspects of the brain aren't as good though: Whilst many neurons die in old brains ad many connections between different regions of the brain wither - older people's brains re-organise to help compensate for the effects of ageing. Older brains may take longer to produce the same results, but they do tend to get the problems solved. Most people report being happier as they get old. Laura Carstensen of Stanform University found older people better able to keep their emotions in balance, and they bounce back more quickly from negative events.

People don't get wiser. They reach a pinnacle of wisdom in middle age and this level continues until they're about Path Dependence: Things that seem normal today began with a choice that made sense at a particular time, and survived even though it might no longer make sense at all. The Focusing Illusion Kahneman has said "Nothing in life is as important as you think it is while you are thinking about it" I find this a bit ambiguous and wish the author had elaborated The Pareto Principle We have in our heads the idea that most distributions fall along a bell curve ie most people are in the middle.

The Social Animal weaves social science research into the story of a fictional couple to shed light on the decision-making power of our unconscious minds. Read in: New York Times columnist David Brooks loves blending fiction and non-fiction. In this book, he does so by creating fulfilling lives for an imaginary couple, Harold and Erica. Harold and Erica are raised in different family structures.

Their socio-economic and educational backgrounds differ, and yet, they share a number of character traits. Both are honest and dependable.

What shaped and led them to thrive? Our unconscious mind guides much of our behavior. In The Social Animal , we learn how Harold and Erica shaped theirs to develop a powerful combination of healthy character traits and street smarts. Every action radiates and influences others. If you want to save this summary for later, download the free PDF and read it whenever you want. Download PDF.

Harold read the slim book and felt connected to something ancient and profound. He was hooked by curiosity — the first step in the process of deep learning. She instructed him to find and read five more books on the subject. Upon completion, she praised Harold for his hard work. Researcher Carol Dweck has found that when you acknowledge hard work over natural ability, people are encouraged to put in more effort.

To automatize his new knowledge, Ms.

After passing the first time through new material, we must then think about every detail. With each next iteration, information becomes more familiar and automatic. Think about the first time you drove a car, and how little conscious thought you need to do it today. Finally, Ms. After a long period of looking at the material from different angles, Ms.

This is the ideal process of learning. You explore something and, as you repeatedly touch the subject, you connect it to other dots in life. She bounced from one school to another as her single mother fell in and out of employment. From month to month, the pair fluctuated between a middle-class suburban life and sleeping on the floors of relatives in the inner city.

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