The Second Mountain - David Brooks

The Second Mountain - David Brooks

Learn with this summary, to live a more meaningful life putting the commitment at the center of your objectives.

Don't you see a clear and significant meaning in your life? This summary of the book "The Second Mountain: The Quest for a Moral Life" shows that you can pursue this meaning and learn at the same time how to be a person who radiates joy, living lighter and moral life.

David Brooks's "The Second Mountain" brings to the reflection that the commitment to family, with a community, with a cause or with faith brings deeper meanings to life.

This resume will help you comprehend that even not being immune to daily stress and boredom, the permanent joy becomes easy to reach if you leave behind the obsession by yourself and donate more.

Are you ready to reach the top of this mountain and achieve the highest spot of a meaningful moral life?

About the book "The Second Mountain"

The book "The Second Mountain: The Quest For a Moral Life" by David Brooks was published on April 16th, 2019 by Random House and elected a New York Times best-seller.

With provocatives social observations, David Brooks' "The Second Mountain" addresses modern themes like the celebration of freedom and the incentive to be loyal to yourself. Despite this situation, many people take individualism to its extremes.

With 384 pages divided into five parts, "The Second Mountain" teaches how to solve the social structures distortions by following a path of deeper commitment, resulting in a lighter and happier life.

About the author David Brooks

The Canadian author, a best-seller by The New York Times, is an American political and cultural commentator.

Graduated in history from The University of Chicago, Brooks has worked for great American journals. "The Washington Times", "The Wall Street Journal" are some examples. The author constantly appears on PBS NewsHour and Meet The Press.

Amongst his outstanding works are the best-selling "The Road to Character"; "The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love", "Bobos In Paradise: The New Upper Class and How They Got There"; and "On Paradise Drive: How We Live Now (And Always Have) in the Future Tense".

To whom is this book indicated?

The book "The Second Mountain: The Quest For a Moral Life" is a work of motivation and inspiration recommended to those wanting to find bigger meanings in their lives, through deepening in causes that result in moral growth.

Main ideas of the book "The Second Mountain"

  • Understand what is a moral system and how these systems were evolving through history;
  • Define two main bad habits of comparison between individuals in modern life;
  • Understand that in life sad moments will happen and that we can extract learnings from it and, mainly, get closer to our humanity;
  • Encourage climbing "The Second Mountain" though valuing interpersonal relationships. David Brooks addresses the wedding, the faith, and the community as ways of us making contact with the heart and soul.

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[Book Summary] The Second Mountain - David Brooks

Overview: Part I - The Two Mountains

Moral Systems

The moral system left by a person is a legacy that survives even after death. These moral systems are collective responses to big problems of a specific moment, which consist of a set of beliefs and behaviors.

These moral codes subtly guide the ways of dressing, speaking, what to admire and despise, and how to define your biggest goal. The moral systems can be applied at different daily ranges. Whether influencing your home, the working environment or changing an entire society.

Moral systems aren't fail-proof. The Great Depression and the Post-War raised the demand for new social costumes, where the individual wasn't valuable and it gave an opportunity to grow in the society hate feelings like racism, not valuing women, and homophobia.

Creating an attractive social movement, people part of it will grant you their ideas and energy. Influencing first small groups of people and after, remodeling antique cultures.

The current culture emphasizes, "I Am Free To Be Myself", so the individual becomes lonely and weakens its connections. The community suffers attenuation and the relationships are dissolved, spreading solitude.

The world end becoming unstructured, mainly for the young adult. An unsure world, where few authorities and securities exist, making it difficult to launch himself into life.

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The infinity of possibilities and autonomy proposed to young people difficult their decisions. Though a world with many answers about what to know, they can't find the answer to the most important question: What should I do?

Search for a valid truth for yourself, escaping an aesthetic lifestyle, where it is conceptualized life is full of possibilities to be experienced and not ideals to live. Where each separate day is fun, but they end up adding nothing.

All of it is harmed by the conception of certainty that the life of other people is better than ours. The comparison is exactly the theft of joy.

Insecure Star

While some take adult life as an aesthetic experience, the other part faces it as the continuation of school. They never had problems being accepted wherever they went, usually comes from higher social strata and attends competitive schools.

The insecure star does not desire something completely, never becoming filled in its soul. Status and career are being leveraged, but your heart is never being taken into account.

When only identity and the name of your position matters, the constant comparison with another person will be present again

The Valley

The individualism generated by social models from the past decades built four social crises that are interrelated:

  1. Solitude crises: Social isolation generates more death by despair - suicide, drug overdoses, and liver diseases;
  2. Distrust: Interpersonal relationships quality is getting worse because people only trust themselves;
  3. Crise of meaning: Missing a deep meaning for life, the feeling of not being part of something greater has increased data of mental health problems;
  4. Tribalism: As a way of restoring a meaning for life, people resort to political or real wars. Tribalism is the opposite of community, focusing on the common enemy.

In the valley there is much suffering, regardless of whether its personal, social or both. The pain will make you feel lost. This can be a period of extreme anguish or the most precious time of your life.

When we are experiencing the first mountain, we are absorbing values and lifestyles that are around us, without thinking about it. The valley between the first and second mountains represent the suffering and uncertainty that afflicts people. It's where humanity is in evidence.

The greatest goal of making out of the vale is the character building, learning with suffering.

The Desert

It is the transition period between the valley and the second mountain. Where you leave the antique self behind and make room for the new self. A more human self, which your ego does not understand. This is where the heart and soul are discovered.

Heart and Soul

Desire is the strongest potential that moves people. In the valley we discover that the most important part of our consciousness is our heart.

Emotions guide of personality, are responsible for the value we place on things and say what is worth wanting. Passion is not the opposite of reason, but the basis for everything.

David Brooks portrays the soul as the ethical and moral part of the person. The value and respect the individual conquer during life is dictated by the value of his.

The valley difficulties will expose the heart and the soul, teaching us that we cannot give ourselves what we desire the most. Learning from our greatest difficulties increases the capacity of truly loving. Only then we will be able to begin the second journey.

Committed life

The battle against the "I'm Free for Being Myself" culture must be fought at the beginning of the second mountain. We put individualism aside without thinking about seeking personal happiness, but rather the search for meaning in our lives, joy, and moral values.

Commitment begins with a certain movement of heart and soul. You fall in love with something - a person, a cause or an idea - and if this love is strong enough you will start to commit and to donate part of your life to it.

This commitment will produce four benefits:

  1. Identity;
  2. Sense of purpose;
  3. A new level of liberty;
  4. Moral character building.

The Four Commitments

To reach the top climbing the second mountain it requires four essential commitments: Vocation, marriage, philosophy and faith, and the community.

These four commitments will guide us to reach the most profound meaning in our lives and to live it morally.

Overview: Part II - Vocation

The second mountain climb begins with discovering a vocation.

Differently from finding a career, discovering a vocation is something similar to a mystical discovery, like a calling. Although it doesn't come in a subtle and resolute form. In the beginning, it could seem strange and confuse.

"The Second Mountain" describes how vocations are found and how they develop.

The awakening of a vocation starts with the conception of a silent passion. It's the moment when something calls your attention. A desire that in a certain way presume what is going to happen in an entire life of pleasures and challenges.

Without exception, the discovery of a vocation has a trial period. When the costs are higher than the benefits. In this period you reach another level of intensity. If you are moved by a career mentality, you will give up.

In the climb, we will find our mentors. Mentors are people that teach us excellence, to face mistakes. Knowledge transmitted by practicing is extremely important. It's not acquired by reading books but transmitted by people who possess greater experience.

How to make big transformative decisions of life?

To make a wise decision about vocation, your lifestyle must keep your heart and soul awaken every day.

Music, theater, art, friendship, being next to kids and, contradictory, to injustice. These are great examples of activities that awaken the heart and involve the soul.

People who make the wisest decisions about vocation are the ones living every day with their awaken and living. They are not at boring offices but accepting jobs where there are problems to be solved. They confront their desires towards understanding what they really crave.

The final characteristics of the vocation decision are:

  • Do not create a career plan. It's thinking in what will touch your most deep desire, in the activity that will most satisfy you;
  • Finding a balance between social demand and an activity that gives you the enthusiasm to accomplish it.

Overview: Part III - Marriage

The meaning of marriage, in general, is to offer love, respect, and security. In the course of the days there are countless demonstrations that this person is the center of your life. These demonstrations make us give up the ego for the good of the greater union.

The marriage vision must be treated as a foundation and not as a search for self-realization nor final touch.

In climbing the second mountain, marriage has the role of helping in the remodeling of the character. To be aware of the highs and lows and thus learn to fight and recover from small and great acts of betrayal.

It's accepting the help of your partner and not be afraid to recognize the dependence by another person. This will strengthen your relationship with humanity.

The stages of intimacy

How two strangers reach the point of wanting to get married? "The Second Mountain" depicts three stages when making this decision begins.

  1. The Glimpse: A look given by a person, unexpectedly causing the start of interest and the lighting of a spark;
  2. Curiosity: The desire to know. Your mind moves towards something. You believe this person is as marvelous as it seems to be;
  3. Dialog: The conversation first searching for similarity, knowing the other. But for the surprise of everyone, the dialogue ends up not ending where all the other conversations ended, it continues.

The Wedding Decision

"The Second Mountain" purposes that the evaluation of the marriage decision must be analyzed by three lenses: The psychological, the emotional and the moral.

We confront two main characteristics to be observed with the psychological lens.

You must search for lovability - being a good person. If the person is good, virtuous, friendly, resilient, comprehensive, welcoming, sensible and trusty.

The neuroticism, on the other hand, is what should be avoided. Neurotic people tend to be tense, temperamental and predisposed to sadness.

With the emotional lens, we should question the nature of love for the other.

Finally, with the moral lens, where admiration for the other person will make you overcome the moments of crises. "The Second Mountain" address some of these questions that can help you with this questioning. Is this person honest? Do I deeply admire this person? Does this person keep his promises?

Overview: Part IV - Philosophy and Faith

David Brooks' in "The Second Mountain" brings us the proposal of possibly deepening in faith. For us to understand that a creature with infinite love has made a promise to us. Consider the possibility that we are those with whom it committed itself infinitely.

Faith has the power to infuse the being in major humbleness and bring us more hope. Not a caricatured faith in an old white-bearded man. But faith in major possibilities than the ones you live and always seek these possibilities.

The religious communities speak about enrichment the soul and the heart in a natural way. They put ourselves in contact with humbleness and humanity. Preach that we don't need only money but dignity, love, and purposes.

Overview: Part V - Community

In the last part of "The Second Mountain", the concepts of the community are enlightened.

A healthy community is a system where relationships are mainly focused on. Where mutual helping is always present, there are people inserting themselves into each other's works, they know each other's secrets. The devotion we apply to our families must be expanded to our neighbors.

The first stage of community building is the decision of someone to commit to putting the community above the ego.

The next stage is to understand that the neighborhood needs fixing as a whole. The neighborhood is the essential unit of social changing.

The third stage means to unite the community. Promoting intimacy between the participating members. Finding a manner to reunite them and make people follow the path of trust. It's interesting to always make deep questions at the conversation and listen to the answers.

The people meeting is the beginning of the community, but still the need something that deepens the members that are part of it.

The way to achieve this deepening is by sharing stories. At some point someone will share a vulnerability and thus taking all their difficulty to the group. One story leads to another, instigating the rising of deeper stories.

The deepening happens with the awakening of emotion by the sharing of these stories.

Conclusion: The Rationalist Manifesto

"The Second Mountain" represents the contrast between two main visions of morality in the world.

The first mountain represents the individualist context that is strongly lived today. When there is a focus on ego valuation.

However, the second mountain represents the world seen in a rationalist manner. Where moral evolution exists and is shared amongst people. There is an appreciation of collective, community, and relationships between people.

What do other authors say about it?

Ken Moji's "Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life" describes the meaning and pleasures of life, basing in this Japanese lifestyle. Are you ready to find your own Ikigai?

Napoleon Hills' "Outwitting The Devil", you will learn to overcome difficulties in the search for your personal goals with hints of how to achieve full realization and success.

In "Life Changing Secrets", there are several lessons about success, and this is linked, according to the work, to a personal plan that must be executed using the powers of the human subconscious.

Okay, but how can I apply this to my life?

  • The journey towards a moral life first begins when we are in contact with the forgotten humanity, because of the ego valuation;
  • The second step is to search a vocation. Something that awakens extreme interest and even with difficulties, you decide to keep pursuing it;
  • The marriage teach us to love, strengthen and value the relationship with the other person. "The Second Mountain" teach us how to evaluate this big decision with simple questions about living together;
  • David Brooks purposes to allow contact with faith. In his opinion, have faith is to be in touch with humanity and hope;
  • Finally, we should create or integrate a community. Being part of a social circle where problems are exposed strengthens relationships and makes us develop intimacy to solve common problems between these people.

Did you like this summary of the book "The Second Mountain"?

We hope with this review of "The Second Mountain" prepare you to this climbing in pursuit of a moral and a much more significative life. Leave your opinions in the comments section, your feedback is extremely important.

If you are curious to enter even more this great work, acquire the book clicking in the image below:

Book 'The Second Mountain'

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