Read: February 2024

Inspiration: Previously read one of David Brooks’ other books (The Second Mountain) and interested to read his latest book


Written with the help of ChatGPT, below is a brief summary to understand what is covered in the book.

Unedited Notes

Direct from my original book log, below are my unedited notes (abbreviations and misspellings included) to show how I take notes as I read.

The worst sin is not to hate another but to be indifferent to them, humanity is about understanding and being seen, misunderstanding/lack of understanding is the foundation of societal divisions, social media detaches further as gives a false sense of humanity/interaction, Diminishers make people feel small/unseen vs Illuminators are curious abt others, be skeptical of yourself—tend to be less of an illuminator than we think, consider a conversation where one thinks you are the most clever person vs a convo where one leaves thinking they are the most clever (illuminator give rise to the latter and indulge in others), important to be a social decelerator, accompany others and don’t feel need to always insert yourself, small talk is very useful early in relationships—gets sense for energy, temperament of others and learn/fine tune without deep convos necessary, can bond without deep topics—can bond in play via sports without even talking, talking about small things gives way to big things, being other-centered is essential, even just being present is valuable, being with someone as they go thru emotions—without saying/opining but understanding, every person you meet is a creative artist subjectively interpreting objective events, shaped by their entire life to that point, you see the world not with your eyes but with your entire life, need to consider how others are experiencing each moment if want to connect, in each interaction should ask if can understand what in a persons life previous to this moment may have made them act certain way—consider how similar factors to what shaped you, tendency to recognize your own nuance but gloss over others, a good conversationalist is not simply one who tells funny stories or offers piercing insights, it is someone who cultivates two way exchanges and exploration/understanding, good conversationalist use eye contact and engage with expressions in face, subtle reactions “ooh”, “ahh”, etc to show attentive, ask specific questions on story details, ask how feel now in retrospect, how felt in the moment, “looping” is a technique where try to confirm what you’re hearing—”so you were pissed at your mom?” invites refinement/reaction from speaker, ask questions that allow responder to determine depth of response (tell me about, how did you, etc), questions help build relationship—naive to rely on ability to “read someone”, ask someone what is the current crossroads in their life, if we meet a year from now what are we celebrating, if next 5 years is a chapter in life what is yours about, politics are supposed to be about distribution (resource allocation) but in unhappy societies becomes about recognition (a group feels isolated/slighted), when someone complains for example the reflexive tendency is to view it from your own frame as see as exaggeration or unjustified but important to remain in their frame for longer and ask what you are missing, diffuse tense convo by asking aloud “how did we get to this tense place” then can rehash common goals, dealing with those in depression—important to just be with them and present/understanding, not remind of how changed or other things can do—can make worse often, accompany them, big 5 personality traits far more insightful then myers briggs, “imperial consciousness”=young children have view of world centered around themselves but some adults do not leave this mindset and all about themselves and their status, note personality does evolve with age—become more accepting, calm, conscientious generally, post-trauma can either assimilate or accomodate—accomodate and building new models is most powerful to see trauma as point of change vs assimilate to existing models, assimilator keeps chugging along vs accomodator recognizes how events can change you and your fundamentals and how you act—harder but that is best way to cope via acknowledgement, different “tasks” for diff stages of life that people progress thru differently, career consolidation task is about finding your passion and achievement then go to generative task as get older/promoted where about service/mentor and helping others, just two examples, also have interpersonal tasks as build relationships/connections, tasks change over time but requires adapting and can be jolting (eg parents when kids go to college, have to find their next task), consider how ones ancestors impact each person—culture shapes worldview and actions, wisdom is about reflection and understanding—not just of yourself but cultivating in others, being a wise person means others are receptive and share stories and feel seen, “community of truth” is when interesting in seeing and exploring others perspectives, get out of the tought that i am normal and others are odd—take the journey with another person’s eyes,

Leave a Comment


Subscribe to my Newsletter for new reads & other updates!

About Me

Welcome to JeffReads, where I share summaries of the best books I’ve read on business, politics, science, technology and more.




Subscribe to my Newsletter for new reads & other updates!

Copyright 2023 JeffReads | All Rights Reserved