I recently finished this book I bought from fishpond.com.sg. It is the second book I’ve bought from them and although the delivery takes a while (up to a month or so), the prices are so low (compared to what you get off the shelves in Singapore) that it made buying a hard-copy of the book worth it, as opposed to getting it on my kindle. It is kinda fun as well. You pick a book that you would like to read, and it appears on your doorstep in about a month or so, just as you were finishing up on the last book you were reading.
The Social Animal started off very promisingly. David Brooks’ innovative narrative format helped to bring the points across in an accessible and easily comprehended manner, making the book an extremely easy read. One downside to it though, is that all the different studies are jumbled up across the chapter, rather than being organised in any coherent manner. But I suppose, one point of the book is also to highlight that linear, categorical way of thinking isn’t the best way to look at the world.
I thought the lives of the two characters in the book began to get pretty outrageous as they matured. While it had made sense to follow their lives at the beginning, the points that were being raised later seemed forced onto the characters’ lives. Or perhaps the paths that the characters took dictated the type of issues that were raised. Which led to even less coherence and more random thoughts and ideas.
While the first half of the book kept me enraptured, I skimmed through large portions of the later half. Perhaps the ideas did not resonate with me and I couldn’t connect with them. Nevertheless, it is a great book to consolidate the different contemporary studies and ideas that have been floating around between behavioural economists, psychologists and social scientists.
One of my favourite quotes from the book:
Aron argues that love is not an emotion like happiness or sadness. Love is an emotional state, which leads to various emotions ranging from euphoria to misery. A person in love had the keenest possible ambition to achieve a goal. A person in love is in a state of need.