David Brooks Chapter Summaries

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In chapter 9, Brooks introduces Samuel Johnson through a brief biography of his distressing life. Johnson’s life is seemingly one of hardship from the beginning as he is the son of an “unsuccessful bookseller” and “uneducated mother” (p 213). More so, he is described as a “frail infant,” one who was infected with tuberculosis by the wet nurses’ milk. Brooks subsequently discusses Johnson’s appearance, “ugly and scarred” (ibid), as a result of the small pox he developed. Eventually, Johnson becomes a Christian at Oxford (p 215), where he “emphasized that worldly pursuits fail to fill the heart” (ibid). Despite more torturous life events, such as his contemplation of suicide (p 216), Johnson was a “convivial man” (p 221). More so, Johnson was …show more content…

Brooks’ position is seemingly critical of the modern day moral virtues; however, he does admit that there has been improvement in the treatment of women, or more accurately, the idea that “girls were expected to be quiet” (p 248), is one which is diminishing as “self-actualization and self-esteem” have functioned as a means for women to “articulate and cultivate self-assertion, strength, and identity” (ibid). In opposition to this, Brooks identifies three effects “on the moral ecology that have inflated the Big Me Adam I side of our natures and diminished the humbler Adam II” (p 25). These three effects are communication, in that it has become “faster and busier,” social media for it has become concentrated on “more self-referential information,” and lastly, social media’s encouragement of a “broadcasting personality” (ibid). Brooks continues to speak about social media by repeatedly labelling this age as a “more individualistic society,” one which has a steady decline in “intimacy, social trust, and empathy.” In the end, Brooks states that “it is okay to be flawed” (p 268), which can be confirmed by the previous chapters and the exceptional individuals who certainly had

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