After Reading "The Social Animal"

Can a book be fun and enlightening, sad and depressing at the same time?

Just finished reading The Social Animal by David Brooks. I came across this one when I was waiting at ORD on my way back from California. I was looking at the books at a airport stall when the name caught my attention. I got it from the public library as soon as I was back to Cincinnati.

This is a book which tells the story of two people, Harold and Erica. But underneath that, it is dissection of US societies using neuroscience and psychology. It helped me to understand a lot of mechanics that exists in societies that I currently live in. It's really hard to summarize the whole book in a blog post.

I really enjoyed the way it presents the phases of human life; how human goes through the transitions. There were times when I felt like I am Harold, there were times I envied him, hated him. And there were times, when I really felt bad for him. This book tries to answer few questions about human life; at the same times it raises a lot of questions to the reader about his own life. What is happiness, what is the great purpose of life and where should we hold the line between chasing success versus attaining internal satisfaction.

I liked the way Erica worked hard in her life and also got rewarded for that. But at the same time, I felt she lost her purpose of life at some point. She was achieving great success and chasing big dreams but at the same time she ignored her loved and nearest ones. I don't know whether she regretted that later.

I felt sad reading about those last moments of Harold's life. The inevitability of human life has always made be sad since I was a kid.

After finishing it, I looked at my life and started to ask critical questions about it. What should be the goals of my life? How far should I go chasing my own dreams without ignoring the loved ones of my life? How can I become a part of something big? How can I contribute more to people's life? I am glad that I read this book when I am young so that I still got some time to plan and steer my life to a right direction. But, wait! What is a right direction?

Published at: 08/17/2013