In The Road to Character David Brooks, best-selling author of The Social Animal and New York Times columnist, explains why selflessness leads to greater success
We all possess two natures. One focuses on external success: wealth, fame, status and a great career. The other aims for internal goodness, driven by a spiritual urge not only to do good but to be good - honest, loving and steadfast. The inner self doesn't seek happiness superficially defined; it seeks emotional commitments without counting the cost, and a deeper moral joy. Individuals and societies thrive when a general balance is struck between these two imperatives, but we live in a culture that encourages us to think about the external side of our natures rather than the inner self. We hanker for praise instead of following our hearts, and we self-promote rather than confront our weaknesses.
In this urgent and eye-opening book, David Brooks asks us to confront the meaning of true fulfilment. A famous columnist for The New York Times and best-selling author, Brooks found himself living in a shallow mode. For years, he remained focused on getting ahead and reaping the rewards for his efforts, placing his career before his character. Finding himself at a crossroads, Brooks sought out men and women who embodied the moral courage he longed to experience. Citing an array of history's greatest thinkers and leaders - from St. Augustine and George Eliot to Dwight Eisenhower and Samuel Johnson - he traces how they were able to face their weaknesses and transcend their flaws. Each one of them chose to embrace one simple but counterintuitive truth: in order to fulfil yourself, you must learn how to forget yourself.
An elegant interweaving of politics, spirituality and psychology, The Road to Character proves that it is how we want to be remembered - and not what we put on our CVs - that truly matters.