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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review

David Brooks' book says it's emotions that count most

By Art Carey




Novelistic nonfiction hybrid seeks to do nothing less than revolutionize our notions about how we function and conduct our lives

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | (MCT) When David was a junior, a girl named Jane transferred to the University of Chicago. She had curly brown hair and the athletic body of a field hockey player. David met her in the dining hall, and they were friends for months before their first date.

During that date, they discovered they had the same liberal politics and Hubert Humphrey poster.

How amazing! They had so much in common! They must be meant for each other!

Evidently so. David Brooks and the former Jane Hughes have been married 25 years and are the parents of three children.

The decision to marry Jane — she would change her name to Sarah Brooks — was rational and conscious, to be sure. But there were, David Brooks now knows, all sorts of emotional undercurrents and unconscious forces at work — pheromones, similar nose widths, complementary immune systems, perhaps.

Whatever the case, the choice was fateful. Indeed, choosing a mate is one of the most important decisions we make, and has a huge impact on our chances of achieving lifelong happiness.

So argues Brooks in his provocative and fascinating new book, "The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement", a novelistic nonfiction hybrid that seeks to do nothing less than revolutionize our notions about how we function and conduct our lives. Citing the latest science, Brooks, popular New York Times columnist and author of the 2000 bestseller "Bobos in Paradise: The New Upper Class and How They Got There," shows that an astonishing amount is beyond our conscious control.



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"We have a conventional story of how achievement happens," Brooks said during lunch recently in Philadelphia, "and it emphasizes grades and SAT scores and what conscious decisions you make. This book is meant to be told one level down, in the world of emotions and intuitions and biases. That's where the real action is taking place; that's who we really are."

Most of us assume that we're rational animals: individualistic, autonomous, in control, plotting our moves like chess players. Not so, Brooks contends.

"In reality, we're social animals," Brooks said, "and we're guided by emotions and relationships. We're not as individual as we think we are, and we deeply interpenetrate each other."

Or, as he writes in his book: "If the outer mind highlights the power of the individual, the inner mind highlights the power of relationships and the invisible bonds between people. If the outer mind hungers for status, money, and applause, the inner mind hungers for harmony and connection."

This book, his third, is different for Brooks. Yes, it exhibits the Brooksian hallmarks — prodigious reading and research; an agile, synthesizing intelligence; a rollicking, satiric eye for what Tom Wolfe called "the details of status life" — but it also shows a softer, more mellow side of the incisive political analyst and deadline anthropologist who enlivens The "PBS NewsHour."

It is, to begin with, a book about love, and it evinces the wise, almost tender perspective of a man who has reached, to quote Wordsworth, the "years that bring the philosophic mind."

"It does feel like it was written by someone who's midway through his career and looking for other stuff," Brooks said. "Maybe that's what attracted me to the topic."

The book is different, too, in form. It derives its narrative power from the stories of two fictional characters, Harold and Erica, whose lives, from childhood to old age, illustrate the science that Brooks seeks to impart.

In his youth, Harold is of average aptitude in most respects, but he possesses superior emotional intelligence, or "noncognitive skills." Reared in shabby apartments, Erica, of mixed Chinese and Mexican descent, is fiercely ambitious. Eventually, Harold and Erica marry, and Erica winds up serving as deputy chief of staff to an Obama-like president.

"We value people who can get straight A's, but we don't value people who have an intuitive sense of how reality works — what we call 'street smarts,'" Brooks said. "The research now shows the importance of that awareness and sensitivity."

In college, Brooks aspired to be a novelist. Here he gets his chance.

"I had to be dragged into doing it," he said. "When I wrote the first draft, the characters were pretty much stick figures, and every reader said, 'I want to learn more about these people,' and so I kept fleshing them out. But everything that happens to both of them is based on research."

Brooks began the book about four years ago. His curiosity about why kids drop out of high school led him to explore early-childhood education and the crucial first two years of life, which led in turn to brain-formation research and the hot field of neuroscience. Brain scientists, he found, are "filling the gap" once occupied by philosophy and theology — "telling us who we are and how we think."

Another distinctive feature of the book is its perspective. "This is the happiest story you've ever read," Brooks announces in the first paragraph. "It's about two people who led wonderfully fulfilling lives."

The passage, deliberately antipodal to the sad opening of Ford Madox Ford's "The Good Soldier" is not ironic. "Every novel you read about suburbia is always about unhappy people," Brooks explained. "They might be outwardly successful but inwardly they're miserable. I wanted to do a book about people who are not miserable and figure out how that happens. I think "It's a Wonderful Life" is more accurate about how to be happy than "On the Road."

Given the book's subject, it seems fair to ask Brooks, 49, about the trajectory of his own life. Like all of us, he is the product of myriad influences and cultural settings:

His maternal grandfather, who inculcated a love of writing; his parents, both professors of English literature; Radnor High School, which "had all the classic high school cliques"; Incarnation Camp, the Connecticut camp with the Episcopal pedigree that he attended for many summers; the University of Chicago, where he buckled down academically; his journalistic apprenticeships at a Chicago alternative weekly and the City News Bureau, which shifted his politics to the right; his glamorous education at the National Review under the tutelage of William F. Buckley Jr.; his years covering history-making events (e.g., the collapse of the Soviet Union) as a foreign correspondent for the Wall Street Journal; the refinement of his conservative Weltanschauung at the Weekly Standard.

Writing the book has changed Brooks. "I'm much more attuned to emotion," he said. "I joke with my wife that me writing about emotion is like Gandhi writing about gluttony. I'm not naturally gifted at expressing emotion. I come from a very reticent background — there's a phrase for my sort of Jewish family: 'Think Yiddish, act British' — and so for me it's still a struggle. I'm a work in progress."

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