Everybody tells you to live for a cause larger than yourself, but how exactly do you do it? The bestselling author of The Road to Character explores what it takes to lead a meaningful life in a self-centered world.
... 300+ pages that will likely cause legions of readers to reassess how they want to spend the rest of their days ... By weaving together dozens of pearls from this spectrum of world-class thinkers and unifying their thoughts into an account of his faith pilgrimage, Brooks demonstrates powers of synthesis that surely rise to the level of genius ... For those who have now finished this review of The Second Mountain and decide to forego Brooks’ new book, here’s hoping that the rest of your life on the First Mountain provides some measure of Instagram happiness, and that you never tire of singing Peggy Lee’s most melancholy song.
This is beautiful stuff. In admitting to his failure as a husband, Brooks tantalizes with a promise to chronicle his own unsteady recovery. In this, he only partially delivers ... What follows reads, unfortunately, like one long commencement address ... His argument, inspiring in his introduction, quickly becomes repetitive and tendentious. He has a penchant for lists...for italicized Greek and Hebrew words (chessed: Hebrew for loving kindness) and for the kinds of stories politicians often cite in proclaiming what they take to be the enduring goodness of their version of real Americans ... His book would be immensely more powerful with more [doubt]. Nor is there any of the self-deprecating humor we might expect from someone who has climbed the second mountain ... Despite lots of illuminating and profound quotes and stories, he never makes us smile.
Brooks, one of the most influential columnists of our time, tells a compelling redemption story ... an ambitious volume, part sermon, part self-help guide and part sociological treatise, replete with quotes and stories from Tolstoy, Moses, Orwell and others. The book ends with a list of more than 60 numbered prescriptions. At times it can feel overwhelming, even overstuffed ... Yet the book is deeply moving, frequently eloquent and extraordinarily incisive. It is hopeful in the best sense.