53 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
AN ENTERTAINING, FUNNY BOOK THAT CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE, 19 May 2011
***** (5 stars)
AN ENTERTAINING, FUNNY BOOK THAT CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE
A friend of mine recommended The Social Animal, and I have to say I was skeptical; it seemed to me that David Brooks wasn't saying anything new, and the characters sounded pretty annoying.
But then I heard him on The Today Programme on BBC Radio 4, and was impressed and intrigued, I then went on Amazon and really liked the cover, so I bought it on a whim. And it turns out I was completely wrong! For one thing, David Brooks writes brilliantly - unusually for a political journalist, he's incredibly funny. I found myself genuinely laughing out loud at certain points in the book, which I don't do very much. And he makes everything very clear, so that even someone like me can understand it!!!
But, more importantly, what he actually says is fascinating. He says that the human mind "can take in 11 million pieces of information at any given moment. The most generous estimate is that people can be consciously aware of forty of these... Measured at its highest potential, the conscious mind still has a processing capacity 200,000 times weaker than the unconscious." Which is pretty amazing. And our unconscious mind is created by the relationships we have throughout life. Our success in life is governed by our unconsciousness, and if we can nurture good relationships with other people, then we can be more successful. He shows how we can do all these things, and then goes on to say that governments should focus more on allowing people to have good relationships with each other, than on things like the economy. He says emotional happiness is more important than being rich, and that if governments want to create a happy society, they should do more to get people happy than to make them rich.
All in all, The Social Animal by David Brooks is an extremely entertaining read, with an important point to make, which has the potential to make things better for all of us! And there's no-one better to make it than David Brooks.