The second mountain : the quest for a moral life

by Brooks, David, 1961-

Format: Large Print [2019]
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Summary
#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.

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.
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "In a time when hyperindividualism is the norm, bestselling conservative columnist Brooks (The Road to Character, 2015) presents a divergent outlook. Brooks' concept is simple. Most people live life on their first mountain, seeking personal growth and success. But attempting to summit the second proverbial mountain by focusing on others instead of ourselves, he asserts, will lead us to more fulfilled, joyous lives. Brooks provides historical context for how we strayed from a community-focused society to make the drastic leap to hyperindividualism before he delves into the tenets of his manifesto. His four commitments include dedication to family, a vocation, a philosophy or religion, and a community. His argument can be daunting, partly due to length but also because of the weighty examples Brooks provides it is difficult to picture ourselves striving to live our lives like Martin Luther King Jr. or Mother Theresa. But if readers can approach Brooks' core message with an open mind, potentially life-changing lessons can be found in this relevant and thought-provoking book.--Patricia Smith Copyright 2019 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "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. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."

Additional Information
Subjects Social interaction.
Caring.
Conduct of life.
Relationism.
Large type books
Publisher New York :[2019]
Edition First large print edition.
Language English
Description xlix, 556 pages (large print) ; 24 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references (pages 499-517) and index.
ISBN 9781984888341
198488834X
Other Classic View