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

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

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book talks about neuroscience while wrapping around it fictional biographies of a married couple, Harold and Erica. Consciousness takes credit for the unconscious, giving us a faulty outlook that we make deliberated decisions where they were made before even attempting to consider. It most importantly makes the case that well being of humanity is tied to neural architecture designed to be both social and moral, so our modern tendency to be more isolated is bad for us individually and our communities.

My favorite chapters were The Leader and The Soft Side. The Leader portrays politicians and political parties very similar to the way I see them. Team-based where winning is all important by dehumanizing the opposition in order to create unnecessary division. At the time, I really felt like every American needs to understand this chapter before voting. The Soft Side delves into the prescriptions of solving the social disorder of our technological isolation.

I never really felt engaged by either Harold or Erica. Their stories were okay as a setup for the meat of what I wanted to read: neuroscience, their implications on behavior, and ways to change policy to improve the status quo. And the technique was far more annoying at the beginning where it was glaring than towards the end where I guess I acclimated.

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