David Brooks

here is a columnist and commentator that is worth listening to


56 years of age. born in Toronto.  an American citizen.  his column appears on the Opinion page of the New York Times at least twice each week.  he is a frequent guest on PBS News Hour, NPR and Meet the Press.  he has written four books, his most recent being The Road to Character, which was on the NY Times best seller list for 22 weeks.  he is prolific.  he also teaches a course at Yale University on Humility.  how about that!

but more importantly, he is insightful and thoughtful. and he stimulates you to think.

his understanding and observations of the American psyche is uncanny. his ability to cut  through the jargon and the posturing of the right and the left is so refreshing.   his humanity seeps out of his every word.

in his 2015 book The Road to Character he decries the fact that most of us focus on developing what he calls “the résumé virtues” – racking up impressive accomplishments.  he laments that we spend too little time on what he calls “the eulogy virtues”- the character strengths for which we’d like to be remembered.   he spends most of the book recalling the inspiring stories of 10 individuals in history who overcame personal weaknesses.  I loved the book.

recently when I was in Philadelphia I had the opportunity to listen to and meet him.   what a treat!

two things struck me about his talk. first that he is not a powerful or polished public speaker.   he is a normal Joe who goes to the microphone and says what he thinks without any embellishment or theatrics.  you have to strain a little to hear his words.  he talks very fast.  you have a hard time catching everything he is saying.

and two, you want to catch and capture and digest every word and thought of his. each sentence is meaningful.  each sentence has a pearl of wisdom.  each sentence is a jewel that encapsulates thoughts that he has spent some time thinking and musing about.

I only wish I had recorded the talk so that I could listen to it again and again. there were so many good thoughts but I was not able to catch each one of them.  darn!!

my advice, read David Brooks — his twice a week column and his book The Road to Character. you won’t regret it.


4 thoughts on “David Brooks”

  1. Nancy and I heard David talk at Willamette University a few years ago. I agree with your observations.

  2. Tuesday and Friday of each week are David Brooks days in the NY Times, as I anxiously await his columns. I just finished Road to Character and enjoyed it immensely. I saw him last year at Town Hall in Seattle. He has been my top columnist for the last 5+ years.
    I agreed with everything you said about him Neil.

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