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The Second Mountain: The Quest for a Moral Life
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Random House Publishing Group 2019
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#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Everybody tells you to live for a cause larger than yourself, but how exactly do you do it? The author of The Road to Character explores what it takes to lead a meaningful life in a self-centered world.
“Deeply moving, frequently eloquent and extraordinarily incisive.”—The Washington Post
Every so often, you meet people who radiate joy—who seem to know why they were put on this earth, who glow with a kind of inner light. Life, for these people, has often followed what we might think of as a two-mountain shape. They get out of school, they start a career, and they begin climbing the mountain they thought they were meant to climb. Their goals on this first mountain are the ones our culture endorses: to be a success, to make your mark, to experience personal happiness. But when they get to the top of that mountain, something happens. They look around and find the view . . . unsatisfying. They realize: This wasn’t my mountain after all. There’s another, bigger mountain out there that is actually my mountain.
And so they embark on a new journey. On the second mountain, life moves from self-centered to other-centered. They want the things that are truly worth wanting, not the things other people tell them to want. They embrace a life of interdependence, not independence. They surrender to a life of commitment.
In The Second Mountain, David Brooks explores the four commitments that define a life of meaning and purpose: to a spouse and family, to a vocation, to a philosophy or faith, and to a community. Our personal fulfillment depends on how well we choose and execute these commitments. Brooks looks at a range of people who have lived joyous, committed lives, and who have embraced the necessity and beauty of dependence. He gathers their wisdom on how to choose a partner, how to pick a vocation, how to live out a philosophy, and how we can begin to integrate our commitments into one overriding purpose.
In short, this book is meant to help us all lead more meaningful lives. But it’s also a provocative social commentary. We live in a society, Brooks argues, that celebrates freedom, that tells us to be true to ourselves, at the expense of surrendering to a cause, rooting ourselves in a neighborhood, binding ourselves to others by social solidarity and love. We have taken individualism to the extreme—and in the process we have torn the social fabric in a thousand different ways. The path to repair is through making deeper commitments. In The Second Mountain, Brooks shows what can happen when we put commitment-making at the center of our lives.

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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
04/16/2019
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780679645047
ASIN:
B07DT1BD63

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APA Citation (style guide)

David Brooks. (2019). The Second Mountain: The Quest for a Moral Life. Random House Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

David Brooks. 2019. The Second Mountain: The Quest for a Moral Life. Random House Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

David Brooks, The Second Mountain: The Quest for a Moral Life. Random House Publishing Group, 2019.

MLA Citation (style guide)

David Brooks. The Second Mountain: The Quest for a Moral Life. Random House Publishing Group, 2019.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2022. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.

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Date Added:
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Date Updated:
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fullDescription
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Everybody tells you to live for a cause larger than yourself, but how exactly do you do it? The author of The Road to Character explores what it takes to lead a meaningful life in a self-centered world.
“Deeply moving, frequently eloquent and extraordinarily incisive.”—The Washington Post
Every so often, you meet people who radiate joy—who seem to know why they were put on this earth, who glow with a kind of inner light. Life, for these people, has often followed what we might think of as a two-mountain shape. They get out of school, they start a career, and they begin climbing the mountain they thought they were meant to climb. Their goals on this first mountain are the ones our culture endorses: to be a success, to make your mark, to experience personal happiness. But when they get to the top of that mountain, something happens. They look around and find the view . . . unsatisfying. They realize: This wasn’t my mountain after all. There’s another, bigger mountain out there that is actually my mountain.
And so they embark on a new journey. On the second mountain, life moves from self-centered to other-centered. They want the things that are truly worth wanting, not the things other people tell them to want. They embrace a life of interdependence, not independence. They surrender to a life of commitment.
In The Second Mountain, David Brooks explores the four commitments that define a life of meaning and purpose: to a spouse and family, to a vocation, to a philosophy or faith, and to a community. Our personal fulfillment depends on how well we choose and execute these commitments. Brooks looks at a range of people who have lived joyous, committed lives, and who have embraced the necessity and beauty of dependence. He gathers their wisdom on how to choose a partner, how to pick a vocation, how to live out a philosophy, and how we can begin to integrate our commitments into one overriding purpose.
In short, this book is meant to help us all lead more meaningful lives. But it’s also a provocative social commentary. We live in a society, Brooks argues, that celebrates freedom, that tells us to be true to ourselves, at the expense of surrendering to a cause, rooting ourselves in a neighborhood, binding ourselves to others by social solidarity and love. We have taken individualism to the extreme—and in the process we have torn the social fabric in a thousand different ways. The path to repair is through making deeper commitments. In The Second Mountain, Brooks shows what can happen when we put commitment-making at the center of our lives.
reviews
      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        April 1, 2019
        The popular New York Times columnist propels himself through another heartfelt, earnest pilgrimage toward self-awakening and commitment. Deeply concerned about the breakdown in civil discourse and the terrible compromises that successful people--especially politicians--make in their careers, Brooks (The Road to Character, 2015, etc.) elucidates another way to live, what he calls the Second Mountain. The first mountain is what people of his well-educated, affluent milieu climb to gain good jobs, recognition, money, and success--doing what our society expects us to do. While some people reach the top, they might find it "unsatisfying." Others fall away and fail, for whatever reason, and spend time suffering in the valley, which is where Brooks finds the truly interesting stories. "The people who have been made larger by suffering are brave enough to let parts of their old self die," he writes. "Down in the valley, their motivations changed. They've gone from self-centered to other-centered." Brooks uses innumerable examples of people who have suffered in this profoundly disappointing wilderness and been made stronger in their sense of purpose. These include historical figures like Abraham Lincoln and Leo Tolstoy as well as the author's friends and acquaintances. Indeed, Brooks uses his own experience of being broken by the dissolution of his marriage of 27 years and his embrace of Christianity (he was raised in a Jewish household) and eventual remarriage to a younger woman who acted as his research assistant and spiritual guide. Essentially, he sets out to create a blueprint for moral transformation by eschewing the hyperindividualism we are taught to champion as children and which, he concludes via social data, leads only to loneliness, distrust of institutions, loss of purpose, and tribalism. Instead, we must open ourselves to family, community, and religious commitments. Brooks is a heart-on-his-sleeve writer, and his language is not terribly profound, but his message is accessible and inclusive. A thoughtful work that offers an uplifting message to those struggling in the wilderness of career and existential challenge.

        COPYRIGHT(2019) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        April 8, 2019
        In this ardent follow-up to The Road to Character, New York Times columnist Brooks explores his thinking about factors that form a moral life. He confesses that he wishes to “in part compensate for the limitations of” his previous book, as he no longer believes that character formation is based entirely on individual achievements. Instead, Brooks now professes that one builds character by giving oneself away to a community—or to a cause out of love—a premise that manifests itself in his theory of “the two mountains.” For Brooks, the summit of the first mountain is traditional success based on one’s achievements. Along the way, one can expect failure or setbacks. Through the ensuing stage of suffering (the valley), one gets the strength and life experience to commit to climbing the second mountain, where Brooks believes true joy can be found. Enjoying one’s work, getting married, studying philosophy or religion, and establishing community helps to form the path between the mountains, Brooks writes. As he teases apart his metaphor, Brooks relates his own experiences: a newfound love after divorce and a religious awakening that has brought him to the cusp of Christianity from Judaism. While some readers will find his revelations obvious, Brooks’s melding of personal responsibility with respect for community will have broad appeal.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        November 15, 2018

        New York Times op-ed columnist Brooks (e.g., the New York Times best-selling The Road to Character) argues that over our lives most of us commit to a vocation, a set of beliefs, a spouse and family, and a community. Blending them makes for a life well lived, and here he uses life stories (a Holocaust survivor, an African educator) to show how to make the best of each.

        Copyright 2018 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Everybody tells you to live for a cause larger than yourself, but how exactly do you do it? The author of The Road to Character explores what it takes to lead a meaningful life in a self-centered world.
“Deeply moving, frequently eloquent and extraordinarily incisive.”—The Washington Post
Every so often, you meet people who radiate joy—who seem to know why they were put on this earth, who glow with a kind of inner light. Life, for these people, has often followed what we might think of as a two-mountain shape. They get out of school, they start a career, and they begin climbing the mountain they thought they were meant to climb. Their goals on this first mountain are the ones our culture endorses: to be a success, to make your mark, to experience personal happiness. But when they get to the top of that mountain, something happens. They look around and find the view . . ....
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