Friday, March 18, 2016

Book Review: “The Road to Character”

   The Road to Character
   David Brooks

When author David Brooks made an appearance on Oprah Winfrey’s show, SuperSoul Sunday, he discussed the difference between resume and eulogy virtues.  Resume virtues are skills that contribute to external success while eulogy virtues describe one’s core (honest, brave, etc.)  While our society places a high value on resume virtues, which also bring us immediate happiness, Brooks emphasizes the importance of cultivating eulogy virtues, which, he believes, bring moral joy.  Of course, like most things that are good for us (saving money, regularly exercising, etc.), building character isn’t easy and requires sacrifice.  In the remaining chapters, Brooks highlights different virtues and historical figures who best exemplify them

I loved the first part of The Road to Character, which was mainly learning about the two types of virtues.  When I got the individual virtues and those who best represented them, I was initially a little put off because these people were so flawed.  However, after reading a few chapters, it dawned on me that Brooks wanted to show their difficulties in obtaining character and that they still weren’t, by any means, perfect.  The Road to Character is not a quick or easy read, but I believe its knowledge is valuable and that this book has deeply impacted my way of thinking.

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