David Brooks is a bestselling author, an op-ed columnist at the New York Times, and a recurring commentator on PBS NewsHour. He has a gift for bringing readers and audiences alike face to face with the spirit of our times with humor, insight, and quiet passion. He is a keen observer of the American way of life and a savvy analyst of present-day politics and foreign affairs whose columns are among the most read in the nation.
The author of six books with many bestsellers among them, Brooks seeks to further explore and explain humanity and the way we live with every addition to his critically acclaimed body of work. With intellectual curiosity and emotional wisdom, he underscores the value of community and the importance of nourishing both the inner self and social selves on our journey to a fulfilling life.
His most recent book, How to Know a Person: The Art of Seeing Others Deeply and Being Deeply Seen (October 2023), is a guide to fostering authentic connection in a society plagued by loneliness and fragmentation. In The Second Mountain, he makes the case that a life of meaning and purpose is built on four major commitments: to a spouse and family, to a vocation, to a philosophy or faith, and to a community. He argues that to repair the social fabric ripped to shreds on a platform of hyper-individuality, we must embrace interdependence and put commitment at the center of our lives.
The Road to Character is a soul-searching account that speaks to the necessity of cultivating our deepest inner lives rather than focusing solely on success and external achievement, distinguishing between what Brooks calls résumé virtues and eulogy virtues. Backed by multidisciplinary research from neuroscience, psychology, and sociology, the #1 bestseller The Social Animal rejects society’s overemphasis on rationalism and individuality and drives home the idea that our minds, emotions, and social context have a more profound impact on our beliefs, decisions, and actions than we’d like to accept. When we adopt this more nuanced view of human behavior, we can better understand politics and culture and ultimately lead more meaningful lives.
Brooks’s earlier books cemented his style of “comic sociology,” offering observations on how we live and "the water we swim in" that are as witty and entertaining as they are revealing and insightful. Bobos in Paradise, his first bestseller, is a comedic yet sincere reflection on the budding class of “bobos”—a generation of elites at the intersection of bourgeois capitalism and bohemian counterculture. On Paradise Drive explores what Brooks sees as a uniquely American “future-mindedness” that drives our frenzied work ethic and inability to relax.
In an effort to practice what he preaches in his writing, Brooks founded and currently chairs Weave: The Social Fabric Project at the Aspen Institute. Weave explores what it means to build connection and weave a rich social fabric in our schools, workplaces, and every other part of life. Weave’s mission is to invite everyone to start living like a weaver and shift our culture from one that values achievement and individual success to one that finds value in deep relationships and community success.
Beyond the New York Times, Brooks has been featured on NPR’s All Things Considered and NBC’s Meet the Press, as well as in the New Yorker, Washington Post, and Forbes, to name a few. Prior to joining the Times in 2003, he held positions at Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, Newsweek, and The Weekly Standard. He has been awarded more than 30 honorary degrees from American colleges and universities, was a Jackson Senior Fellow at Yale, and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
[The event] was a sellout, and an absolute smash hit. [David] had the audience in his hand the entire evening. It was by far the most thought provoking and captivating talk I have attended.
David — Many, many thanks again for your participation in the [...] scholars conference. Our exploration of the issue of Class Warfare was made all the better by your insightful, incredibly thoughtful and, at times, hilarious contributions.
David was fantastic. From the minute he arrived at photos (on time, which is no small thing) he interacted with our guests in a wonderful way. He had so many fans at this event, and was a hero to so many people who were thrilled to have a chance to speak with him and hear him speak. His talk was perfect. For the first time ever, we didn’t have a mass exodus at the end of the speech before the q & a. If anything, people were disappointed that the q & a didn’t go on longer. He was lovely to be with. His remarks were perfectly suited to the audience, deep and inspirational and accessible, all at the same time. He is also very funny, and had everyone laughing when they weren’t moved by his words. We could not have anyone better at the podium.
Had a fabulous day with David, he is a very kind man and so talented and intelligent. He had a great meeting with our students, his presentation to an overflowing crowd (about 2,000 on campus) was excellent and well received, we had a lovely luncheon with our donors with great conversation. He was a pleasure to spend the day with and everyone wanted to just soak up his knowledge. -