Want to learn the ideas in The Road to Character better than ever? Read the world’s #1 book summary of The Road to Character by David Brooks here.
Read a brief 1-Page Summary or watch video summaries curated by our expert team. Note: this book guide is not affiliated with or endorsed by the publisher or author, and we always encourage you to purchase and read the full book.
Table of Contents
Video Summaries of The Road to Character
We’ve scoured the Internet for the very best videos on The Road to Character, from high-quality videos summaries to interviews or commentary by David Brooks.
1-Page Summary of The Road to Character
David Brooks’ book, The Road to Character, was published in 2015. It is a philosophical treatise that also functions as a self-help book. In the book, he argues that our society values achievement and outward success over inner reflection and character building. He believes we should focus more on developing ourselves than promoting ourselves. After reflecting on his own life experiences, he has concluded that one’s character is more important than their achievements.
In today’s world, it is important to be successful and well-known. However, we should also focus on being remembered for the right reasons in our eulogy speeches. In doing so, we can gain more respect from others while ensuring that we have a positive impact on society.
In this book, Brooks explores several people who exemplify certain virtues that he believes are important. He also discusses the importance of religion in developing these qualities and gives a road map on how to develop them by using philosophies as tools.
Jim Brooks argues that challenges and hardships can provide opportunities for growth. If we have developed our inner character and regard for others, we will usually be happy without much effort. Jim Brooks has created a code to reflect on one’s humility in order to improve oneself.
In his book, “The Social Animal”, David Brooks states that we must be able to ask for help when needed and not be afraid of being vulnerable. He believes that this is the most noble action a person can take.
Introduction: “Adam II”
In this first section, the author presents his thoughts about how we evaluate people. He says that most of us focus on résumé virtues (i.e., personal qualities and achievements that will be listed in a person’s resume) rather than eulogy virtues (those things that will be said at their funeral). The latter are more important because they reveal who a person really is as opposed to what he or she has done. To illustrate this point, the author uses an example from Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik’s book Lonely Man of Faith in which he discusses two different men named Adam: one who focuses on career-related goals and another whose moral core is more important. Based on these ideas, the author explains how each chapter will examine someone with eulogy virtues instead of those with just résumé ones.
Chapter 1: “The Shift”
In his article, Brooks contrasts the humility of a WWII victory show with that of a football player. The first was humble and thankful for their success, while the second was self-centered and boastful about his own accomplishments. Several real life examples are given to illustrate this point. He calls it “the culture of ‘little me'”, whereas we call ourselves “big me”. We have become more self-centered than before, but he does not believe that we have become bad people.
Chapter 2: “The Summoned Self”
Frances Perkins, who was born into an upper class family, but became a workers’ rights advocate and sociologist after witnessing the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire. This event inspired her to dedicate her life to helping others less fortunate than herself. She turned down wealth and comfort in order to improve conditions for poor people throughout the United States. She felt a calling from outside of herself that she had to answer, even at great personal cost
Chapter 3: “Self-Conquest”
Ida Stover Eisenhower was orphaned at a young age and left to her own devices. She eventually married David, who became President of the United States. Her religious beliefs and values guided her through life’s challenges, which included raising five sons and serving as First Lady during World War II.