David Brooks’s gift — as he might put it in his swift, engaging way — is for making obscure but potent social studies research accessible and even startling, for seeing consistency as the hobgoblin of little minds and for ranging as widely across the private domain as the public. There aren’t many writers on politics who will study “emotional intelligence” as closely as they do polls, and fewer still extol failure as enthusiastically as they do success. Brooks’s flaws, as he tells us with typical cheerfulness and ease at the beginning of his new book, are that “I was born with a natural disposition toward shallowness” and “I’m paid to be a narcissistic blowhard” (the admission itself, of course, taking some of the edge off that “narcissistic”). He is, in short, a near-ideal public commentator (for this paper and for many other media outlets) because he is happy to sacrifice complexity and nuance in order to spin a hyper-readable, lucid, often richly detailed human story that sounds far less shrill and ad hominem than most of the polarizing rants of the day.I have to agree, natural inclination to shallowness, which at 53 he has not yet overcome.
Monday, April 20, 2015
David Brooks Gets Something Right, For Once.
Pico Iyer writes, in reviewing Brooks's new book in the Times: