- Audio Download
- Listening Length: 16 hours and 9 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Random House Audio
- Audible.co.uk Release Date: 8 Mar. 2011
- Language: English
- ASIN: B004R5H868
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank:
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The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement Audiobook – Unabridged
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Top customer reviews
Then somewhere in the last third he seems to lose his way with a rambling shift to political opinion, with little in the way of study to support the contentions made, followed by a depressing conclusion around old age and death. If only he had stopped two thirds through this would have been a truly great book - but definitely still worth reading for that wonderful first two thirds
Every page is crammed full of fascinating facts from the number of physical contacts Brits make compared to South Americans while having coffee to how the brain works. It's also a kind of a manifesto for the sub-conscious, if we are the sum of our experiences then you could look at the sub-conscious as our soul - deep stuff....
I really enjoyed the book and have made a page of facts to use in presentations and another page of books to read from the bibliography!
Well worth buying
The accounts of Harold and Erica's childhoods - and the research underpinning them - were quite moving: a must-read for any new parents. And I found the chapter focusing on the unconscious particularly fascinating.
As Harold and Erica enter old age, however, their story becomes less believable. You can't help feeling sorry for Brooks as he tries, and fails, to provide answers for what it means to achieve a successful old age and death. He seems to be trying to tell the reader what life actually means and ends up presenting something that seems a bit formulaic and contrived.
Obviously, he doesn't know the meaning of life, and neither does the science, but he's carried us along with the story so gamely that he seems to feel he'd be letting us down if he admitted this. I'd have preferred it if he'd let his characters have a more untidy, less knowing, ending, to go with the general human condition.
If you're undecided whether to give it a try, don't be put off by the fact that every cabinet minister and his dog claims to have read it. And don't mind the subtitle 'A story of how success happens', which doesn't at all do justice to the content and sounds like a how-to-get-everything-you-want title. There is really much more to it than that.
David Brooks is incredibly perceptive. The artful way in which he uses a fictional story to contextualise his analysis about why some succeed, why some don't, why we fall in love and how, why some people always seem to be unlucky in life and why others seem to be blessed with good fortune, is smart and sublime. Brooks also offers his analysis of public policy problems, such as why inner city deprivation is so difficult to fix, and why just spending more money on schools won't automatically make schools better.
Brooks writes with great verve and style, and the book is very easy to read - I finished it in about 3 days.
Get this book if you are interested in society, the world, public policy, and why you behave the way that you do. Fascinating.
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This book has all of the strengths described by fellow reviewers and also all of the flaws.Read more
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