In his new book, The Social Animal, David Brooks creates fictional charactaers to synthesize the latest research on human behavior and brain development into a format understandable to those of us lacking Ph.D.’s in psychology or sociology.A great read for parents seeking to understand their infants’ and young children’s development and to couples working on relationships.
Brooks delves into the social patterns of family stability and educational opportunity as well as the huge role our subconscious plays in what we generally think of as conscious choices. Following the fictional couple he creates is poignant as Harold and Erica meet, marry, go through career upheavals, marriage crisis, and end of life.
In his day job, Brooks is a columnist for the New York Times. Naturally, he doesn’t leave government and politics untouched as he applies research to how humans behave. In his opinion, government programs fail, not because of lack of money or wrong ideology, but because policy makers believe people are mostly rational beings. Unaware of the emotional factors underlying behavior, programs to address poverty not only don’t succeed, they often make things worse.
Brooks is a witty writer. His book is fun as well as informative. You can find a film synopsis at the following link.