book hack

The Road to Character

David Brooks

5 mins

3 key insights

Visual, audio & text

The Road to Character explains why today's ever-increasing obsession with the self is eclipsing moral virtues and our ability to build character, and how that gets in the way of our happiness.

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The Road to Character

The Road to Character

by David Brooks

Overview

Have you ever scrolled through your social media feed, only to be left feeling empty? Everyone else seems to be having such a great time on vacation, graduating, or getting an amazing new job. But in real life, these people are struggling just like us. Unfortunately, social media has made a shift from a place to express ourselves to an arena for self-promotion.

It's not just social media, though. The internet itself is just a mirror of what our society has evolved into. These days we're increasingly concerned with ourselves and what we need. Living like this puts people under constant pressure to perform and compete. Because of this stress, we forget that what we really want is for people to remember us for who we were, not for what we did.

In The Road to Character, David Brooks reflects on how society's values have changed for the worse, and shares the deeper values we should start filling our lives with instead. He encourages us to rebalance our scales between our 'resume virtues,' or achieving wealth and status, and our 'eulogy virtues,' which are those deep within us such as honesty, bravery, and kindness.

Favorite quote

Humility is the awareness that there's a lot you don't know and that a lot of what you think you know is distorted or wrong.

- David Brooks

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