Book Review: The Second Mountain

The Second Mountain: the Quest for a Moral Life by David Brooks

This was probably the most inspiring book (besides actual scriptures) I’ve read since C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity. Although David Brooks is not overtly preaching a religious ideology, his themes are deeply spiritual. In addition, it’s highly quotable. On every page, I found phrases or entire paragraphs that were so magnificently expressed. My neck received daily workouts as I nodded in agreement–so many principles rang true.

For those unfamiliar with David Brooks, he is best known as both a NY Times columnist and a regular conservative analyst on the PBS News Hour. I’ve watched and read him for years and found him to be profoundly wise and measured in his opinions and predictions. This is a man accustomed to thinking and then thinking again from as many perspectives as he can fathom before speaking. No knee-jerk reactions or political spinning from this guy. I mention this because his writing is neither sentimental nor dogmatic, but by the end of the book, you’ll likely have found a number of ways in which you could become a better person.

In The Second Mountain, Brooks explores why our current society, with its emphasis on individualism, leaves people feeling disconnected and unfulfilled. He talks about different kinds of commitment and the sacrifices that go with them actually enhance our lives by giving us a greater sense of purpose. From choosing a vocation and getting married to finding faith and building community, Brooks gives us new perspectives to consider.

I highly recommend this book, even if all the chapter headings don’t seem to apply. There is enough in each section to merit grabbing a copy and really chewing on it.