The Social Animal Quotes

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The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement by David Brooks
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“Much of life is about failure, whether we acknowledge it or not, and your destiny is profoundly shaped by how effectively you learn from and adapt to failure.”
David Brooks, The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement
“people who succeed tend to find one goal in the distant future and then chase it through thick and thin. People who flit from one interest to another are much, much less likely to excel at any of them. School asks students to be good at a range of subjects, but life asks people to find one passion that they will follow forever.”
David Brooks, The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources Of Love, Character, And Achievement
“If there is one thing developmental psychologists have learned over the years, it is that parents don’t have to be brilliant psychologists to succeed. They don’t have to be supremely gifted teachers. Most of the stuff parents do with flashcards and special drills and tutorials to hone their kids into perfect achievement machines don’t have any effect at all. Instead, parents just have to be good enough. They have to provide their kids with stable and predictable rhythms. They need to be able to fall in tune with their kids’ needs, combining warmth and discipline. They need to establish the secure emotional bonds that kids can fall back upon in the face of stress. They need to be there to provide living examples of how to cope with the problems of the world so that their children can develop unconscious models in their heads.”
David Brooks, The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement
“We are primarily the products of thinking that happens below the level of awareness.”
David Brooks, The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources Of Love, Character, And Achievement
“Learning was a by-product of her search for pleasure”
David Brooks, The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement
“People generally overestimate how distinct their lives are, so the commonalities seemed to them like a series of miracles.”
David Brooks, The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement
“the art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook.”
David Brooks, The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources Of Love, Character, And Achievement
“The point of being a teacher is to do more than impart facts, it's to shape the way students perceive the world, to help a student absorb the rules of a discipline. The teachers who do that get remembered.”
David Brooks, The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement
“Reason and emotion are not separate and opposed. Reason is nestled upon emotion and dependent upon it. Emotion assigns value to things, and reason can only make choices on the basis of those valuations. The human mind can be pragmatic because deep down it is romantic.”
David Brooks, The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources Of Love, Character, And Achievement
“Many of these policies were proposed by wonks who are comfortable only with traits and correlations that can be measured and quantified. They were passed through legislative committees that are as capable of speaking about the deep wellsprings of human action as they are of speaking in ancient Aramaic. They were executed by officials that have only the most superficial grasp of what is immovable and bent about human beings. So of course they failed. And they will continue to fail unless the new knowledge about our true makeup is integrated more fully into the world of public policy, unless the enchanted story is told along with the prosaic one.”
David Brooks, The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement
“It is an emotional and an enchanted place. If the study of the conscious mind highlights the importance of reason and analysis, study of the unconscious mind highlights the importance of passions and perception.”
David Brooks, The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources Of Love, Character, And Achievement
“cultivation of the hard skills, while failing to develop the moral and emotional faculties down below. Children are coached on how to jump through a thousand scholastic hoops. 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.”
David Brooks, The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources Of Love, Character, And Achievement
“There must be some supreme creative energy, he thought, that can take love and turn it into synapses and then take a population of synapses and turn it into love. The hand of God must be there”
David Brooks, The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement
“You are the spiritual entity that emerges out of the material networks in your head.”
David Brooks, The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement
“Instead, parents just have to be good enough. They have to provide their kids with stable and predictable rhythms. They need to be able to fall in tune with their kids’ needs, combining warmth and discipline. They need to establish the secure emotional bonds that kids can fall back upon in the face of stress. They need to be there to provide living examples of how to cope with the problems of the world so that their children can develop unconscious models in their heads.”
David Brooks, The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources Of Love, Character, And Achievement
“Harrison had turned social awkwardness into a form of social power.”
David Brooks, The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement
“A few minutes after they left, Harold bought the blanket from his bed, surrounded himself with his stuffed-toy animals, and built a fort out of them. Children project souls into their favorite stuffed animals and commune with them in the way adults commune with religious icons. Years later he would remember a happy childhood, but it was interwoven with painful separations, confusions, misapprehensions, traumas, and mysteries. This is why all biographies are inadequate; they can never capture the inner currents. This is why self knowledge is limited. Only a few remarkable people can sense the way early experience has built models in the brain. Later in life we build fictions and theories to paper over the mystery of what is happening deep inside, but in childhood, the inexplicableness of the world is still vivid and fresh, and sometimes hits with terrifying force.”
David Brooks, The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement
“In this way, each of us has unique neural networks, which are formed, reinforced, and constantly updated by the eclectic circumstances of our lives. Once circuits are formed, that increases the chances the same circuits will fire in the future. The neural networks embody our experiences and in turn guide future action. They contain the unique way each of us carries himself in the world, the way we walk, talk, and react. They are the grooves down which our behavior flows. A brain is the record of a life. The networks of neural connections are the physical manifestation of your habits, personality, and predilections. You are the spiritual entity that emerges out of the material networks in your head.”
David Brooks, The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources Of Love, Character, And Achievement
“In his book Human Universals, Donald E. Brown lists traits that people in all places share. The list goes on and on. All children fear strangers and prefer sugar solutions to plain water from birth. All humans enjoy stories, myths, and proverbs. In all societies men engage in more group violence and travel farther from home than women. In all societies, husbands are on average older than their wives. People everywhere rank one another according to prestige. People everywhere divide the world between those inside their group and those outside their group. These tendencies are all stored deep below awareness.”
David Brooks, The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources Of Love, Character, And Achievement
“Women, in general, are less visually aroused than men, a trait that has nearly cut the market for pornography in half.”
David Brooks, The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement
“Geoffrey Miller notes that most adults have a vocabulary of about sixty thousand words. To build that vocabulary, children must learn ten to twenty words a day between the ages of eighteen months and eighteen years. And yet the most frequent one hundred words account for 60 percent of all conversations. The most common four thousand words account for 98 percent of conversations. Why do humans bother knowing”
David Brooks, The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources Of Love, Character, And Achievement
“Freedom without structure is its own slavery.”
David Brooks, The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources Of Love, Character, And Achievement
“Therefore, freedom should not be the ultimate end of politics. The ultimate focus of political activity is the character of the society. Political,”
David Brooks, The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources Of Love, Character, And Achievement
“Researchers have done a lot of work over the past few years analyzing social networks. It turns out almost everything is contagious. If your friends are obese, you are more likely to be obese. If your friends are happy, you're more likely to be happy. If your friends smoke, you smoke. If they feel lonely, you feel lonely.”
David Brooks, The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement
“First, they had good character. They were energetic, honest, and dependable. They were persistent after setbacks and acknowledged their mistakes.”
David Brooks, The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources Of Love, Character, And Achievement
“The prevailing view is that geniuses are largely built, not born.”
David Brooks, The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources Of Love, Character, And Achievement
“Our perception of the world is a fantasy that coincides with reality.”
David Brooks, The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources Of Love, Character, And Achievement
“We have the power to choose narratives in which we absolve ourselves of guilt and blame everything on conspiracies or others.”
David Brooks, The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources Of Love, Character, And Achievement
“As some people joke, we may not possess free will, but we possess free won’t.”
David Brooks, The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources Of Love, Character, And Achievement
“It’s said that people who go into therapy do it either because they need tightening (their behavior is too erratic) or because they need loosening (they are too repressed).”
David Brooks, The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources Of Love, Character, And Achievement

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