In the 1950s, a Gallup poll asked high school seniors if they considered themselves to be a very important person. Just 12 percent said yes. When the same question was asked 50 years later, 80 percent of students said they think they are very important. In a new book, columnist David Brooks explores this broad cultural shift toward inflated self worth. He argues that a central fallacy of modern life is that focus on one’s own importance and success leads to happiness and a meaningful life. Brooks argues instead that in order to have a truly fulfilling life, you must learn how to forget yourself.


  • David Brooks Columnist with the "The New York Times" and author of several books, including "Bobos in Paradise: The New Upper Class and How They Got There" and "The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement."

Read A Featured Excerpt

Excerpted from “The Road to Character” by David Brooks. Copyright 2015. Reprinted with permission from Penguin Random House. All Rights Reserved.

Related Links

Topics + Tags


comments powered by Disqus
Most Recent Shows

Revisiting The Decision To Drop The Bomb

Thursday, May 18 2023As President Biden's visit to Hiroshima dredges up memories of World War II, Diane talks to historian Evan Thomas about his new book, "Road to Surrender," the story of America's decision to drop the atomic bomb.