The Social Animal

The Social Animal

[a Story of Love, Character, and Achievement]

Downloadable Audiobook - 2011
Average Rating:
Rate this:
With unequaled insight and brio, David Brooks, the New York Times columnist and bestselling author of Bobos in Paradise, has long explored and explained the way we live. Now, with the intellectual curiosity and emotional wisdom that make his columns among the most read in the nation, Brooks turns to the building blocks of human flourishing in a multilayered, profoundly illuminating work grounded in everyday life.

This is the story of how success happens. It is told through the lives of one composite American couple, Harold and Erica--how they grow, push forward, are pulled back, fail, and succeed. Distilling a vast array of information into these two vividly realized characters, Brooks illustrates a fundamental new understanding of human nature. A scientific revolution has occurred--we have learned more about the human brain in the last thirty years than we had in the previous three thousand. The unconscious mind, it turns out, is most of the mind--not a dark, vestigial place but a creative and enchanted one, where most of the brain's work gets done. This is the realm of emotions, intuitions, biases, longings, genetic predispositions, personality traits, and social norms: the realm where character is formed and where our most important life decisions are made. The natural habitat of The Social Animal.

Drawing on a wealth of current research from numerous disciplines, Brooks takes Harold and Erica from infancy to school; from the "odyssey years" that have come to define young adulthood to the high walls of poverty; from the nature of attachment, love, and commitment, to the nature of effective leadership. He reveals the deeply social aspect of our very minds and exposes the bias in modern culture that overemphasizes rationalism, individualism, and IQ. Along the way, he demolishes conventional definitions of success while looking toward a culture based on trust and humility.

The Social Animal is a moving and nuanced intellectual adventure, a story of achievement and a defense of progress. Impossible to put down, it is an essential book for our time, one that will have broad social impact and will change the way we see ourselves and the world.

From the Hardcover edition.
Publisher: New York : Books on Tape, 2011
Edition: Library ed
ISBN: 9780307739032
Branch Call Number: Online Audio Book
Characteristics: 1 sound file :,digital
Additional Contributors: Morey, Arthur
OverDrive, Inc


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Aug 01, 2018

I felt that the most interesting and rewarding part of the book was the first half which told about the main characters' upbringing, education and social situation and how it shaped their take on life. I skimmed over the latter part of the story about what they did after they became adults.

Feb 06, 2015

David Brooks works at some think tank or stink tank [Brookings, I believe, where Robert Rubin established the Hamilton Project, the group working to privatize EVERYTHING] and also has a position with the Koch brothers-financed PBS News Hour.

Mar 16, 2012

In his new book David Brooks illustrates the social sciences through the lives of two fictional characters, Harold and Erica, who grow up, fall in love and build a life together. It's not a novel and it's not a textbook in the traditional sense. I expected the fictional storyline to get in the way of the book I really wanted to read but I was surprise by how much I enjoyed that particular plot device.

The greatest point I took away from the The Social Animal is probably how irrational we often are as humans. Entire industries are built around the notion of humans acting rational most of the time and it simply isn't true. That same irrationality is also what gives our lives that unique flavor of unpredictability.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further


Subject Headings


Find it at SPL

To Top