Cory Leonard

Book List: The Social Animal by David Brooks

In politics on March 12, 2011 at 6:55 am

Summing up Brooks’ new book, which gets a pick, a pan (Forbes: “incompleteness,” “incoherence), but a lot of middle-marching (CSMonitor,.  I still say its worthy of consideration and a close reading.

In “The Social Animal” Mr. Brooks surveys a stunning amount of research and cleverly connects it to everyday experience. The lessons he draws are often insightful, but they are not reliably correct. Perhaps experiencing his own surges of dopamine and overconfidence, he too often abandons his stance of “epistemological modesty” and instead peddles frothy notions that probably won’t last long. But in observing the broader trends of social science—and of contemporary life—he gets a lot right. His own achievement here signals a plateau in the market for social science, not a peak.

via Book Review: The Social Animal – WSJ.com.

It seems that Newsweek captures best that this is a socially-sciency take on the larger issue (that isn’t an academic one, necessarily) about civil discourse and what makes us think, argue, and decide.

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