the next good book

How to Know a Person

By David Brooks

8/10
(8/10)

306 pages

What’s it about?

David Brooks has written this book to help us see others more fully. He highlights many aspects of relationships (including the importance of empathy- and the lack of it these days).  He gives concrete examples of behavior that will uplift your life.

What did it make me think about?

I heard years ago, “If you are formulating your response while the person across from you is still speaking- then you are not actually listening.” That statement stays with me (and hopefully makes me a better listener- some of the time)  and ideas from this book will also stay with me.

Should I read it?

So who doesn’t want to become a better listener, friend, partner?  This book challenges you to become a finer version of yourself.  I think what struck me is how differently we each perceive the world.  “A person is a point of view.  Every person you meet is a creative artist who takes the events of life and, over time, creates a very personal way of seeing the world.  Like an artist, each person takes the experiences of a lifetime and integrates them into a complex representation of the world.  That representation, the subjective consciousness that makes you you, integrates your memories, attitudes, beliefs, convictions, traumas, loves, fears, desires, and goals into your own distinct way of seeing.  That representation helps you interpret all the ambiguous data your senses pick up, helps you predict what’s going to happen, helps you discern what really matters in a situation, helps you decide how to feel about any situation, helps shape what you want, who you love, what you admire, who you are, and what you should be doing at any given moment.  Your mind creates a world, with beauty and ugliness, excitement , tedium, friends, and enemies, and you live within this construction,  People don’t see the world with their eyes; they see it with their entire life.”   Like many of us I have SO many rough edges to work on.  This book certainly helped clarify some ways I can grow.  It was also interesting to look back and see how your early life influences the person you become.  Now, I just need to take all this information and incorporate it into my relationships.

Quote-

“Being open-hearted is a prerequisite for being a full, kind, and wise human being.  But it is not enough.  People need social skills. We talk about the importance of ‘relationships’, ‘community’, ‘friendship’, ‘social connection’, but these words are too abstract.  The real act of, say, building a friendship or creating community involves performing a series of small, concrete social actions well: disagreeing without poisoning the relationship; revealing vulnerability at the appropriate pace; being a good listener; knowing how to end a conversation gracefully; knowing how to ask for and offer forgiveness; knowing how to sit with someone who is suffering; knowing how to host a gathering where everyone feels embraced; knowing how to see things from another’s point of view.”

What’s it about?

David Brooks has written this book to help us see others more fully. He highlights many aspects of relationships (including the importance of empathy- and the lack of it these days).  He gives concrete examples of behavior that will uplift your life.

What did it make me think about?

I heard years ago, “If you are formulating your response while the person across from you is still speaking- then you are not actually listening.” That statement stays with me (and hopefully makes me a better listener- some of the time)  and ideas from this book will also stay with me.

Should I read it?

So who doesn’t want to become a better listener, friend, partner?  This book challenges you to become a finer version of yourself.  I think what struck me is how differently we each perceive the world.  “A person is a point of view.  Every person you meet is a creative artist who takes the events of life and, over time, creates a very personal way of seeing the world.  Like an artist, each person takes the experiences of a lifetime and integrates them into a complex representation of the world.  That representation, the subjective consciousness that makes you you, integrates your memories, attitudes, beliefs, convictions, traumas, loves, fears, desires, and goals into your own distinct way of seeing.  That representation helps you interpret all the ambiguous data your senses pick up, helps you predict what’s going to happen, helps you discern what really matters in a situation, helps you decide how to feel about any situation, helps shape what you want, who you love, what you admire, who you are, and what you should be doing at any given moment.  Your mind creates a world, with beauty and ugliness, excitement , tedium, friends, and enemies, and you live within this construction,  People don’t see the world with their eyes; they see it with their entire life.”  

Like many of us I have SO many rough edges to work on.  This book certainly helped clarify some ways I can grow.  It was also interesting to look back and see how your early life influences the person you become.  Now, I just need to take all this information and incorporate it into my relationships.

Quote-

“Being open-hearted is a prerequisite for being a full, kind, and wise human being.  But it is not enough.  People need social skills. We talk about the importance of ‘relationships’, ‘community’, ‘friendship’, ‘social connection’, but these words are too abstract.  The real act of, say, building a friendship or creating community involves performing a series of small, concrete social actions well: disagreeing without poisoning the relationship; revealing vulnerability at the appropriate pace; being a good listener; knowing how to end a conversation gracefully; knowing how to ask for and offer forgiveness; knowing how to sit with someone who is suffering; knowing how to host a gathering where everyone feels embraced; knowing how to see things from another’s point of view.”

Related books: