David Brooks: 2019 National Book Festival

David Brooks: 2019 National Book Festival


>>David M. Rubenstein:
Okay, wow. So, how many people here are
from the Washington area? [ Cheering and Applause ] How many from outside
of Washington? [Cheering] How many
have never been to the book festival before? How many have been
to all 19 of them? [Laughter] Wow, okay. Well, we’re going to have a very
interesting conversation today with one of the country’s
leading I’d say intellectuals, and columnists, and TV
commentators, and authors. His new book isThe
Second Mountain
. How many people have
read this book yet? Okay, how many people are going
to read it after this is over? Okay, all right. How many people are going
to get an autographed copy from David Brooks today? Okay. So, David,
thanks for doing this. So, let’s go — before
we go into this book,The Second Mountain
, which I’ve read, and I think it’s
a very good book. We’ll go through it. I’d like to go through a little
bit about your background. So, you grew up in New York?>>David Brooks: I grew up in
the lower east side of New York. My parents were somewhat
left wing. So, the story I tell about my
childhood was when I was five, they took me — this
was in the late-’60s — to a be in, where hippies
would go just to be. And one of the things they
did is they threw their — they set a garbage can on fire
and they threw their wallets into it to demonstrate
how little they cared about money and material things. And I was five and I saw
a five-dollar bill on fire in the garbage can, so
I broke from the crowd, reached into the fire,
grabbed the money and ran away [laughter]. And that was my first
step over to the right. And then other significant event in my childhood was
at age eight. I read a book calledPaddington
the Bear
and decided at that moment I wanted
to become a writer. And I’ve been writing
pretty much every day since and it’s been the
center of my life. In high school I wanted to
date a woman named Bernice and she didn’t want to date me, she wanted to date
some other guy. And I remember thinking,
what is she thinking? I write way better than
that guy [laughter]. And so, that was
my value system.>>David M. Rubenstein: So,
what did you parents do? Were they — other
than being hippies?>>David Brooks: Yeah, they would say they were
19’50s progressives. But my father was teaching
at NYU and he was a scholar of Victorian literature and my mother was a scholar
of Victorian history. There was sort of a
Jewish tradition — to the way you assimilated to America is you became
really Anglophilic. The phrase was, think Yiddish,
act British [laughter]. And so, what the Jews did is
they gave all their kids names, super English names like
Norman, Irving, Milton, Sidney, thinking no one would ever
think they were Jewish. But within five years they were
Jewish names, so it didn’t work.>>David M. Rubenstein: Okay,
so your last name was — is that a Jewish name, Brooks?>>David Brooks: Brooks was
changed during World War I because my original
name was Probst, which sounded too German.>>David M. Rubenstein:
Okay, so you did well in high school I presume?>>David Brooks:
Wrong [laughter]. I — I was a B minus student. I graduated in the lower
half of my high school class.>>David M. Rubenstein:
How’d you get into the University of Chicago?>>David Brooks: In those
days, the University of Chicago admitted
70% of applicants. And I got into Chicago — I went to Chicago because the
admissions officers at Columbia, Wesley, and Brown decided I
should go to the University of Chicago [laughter].>>David M. Rubenstein:
You didn’t get in? Okay.>>David Brooks: Didn’t get in.>>David M. Rubenstein: All
right, you get to the University of Chicago, and what
do you want to study?>>David Brooks: I really
wanted to study political theory and Chicago — in retrospect, Chicago was really the
turning point for me because of the great
culture of that place. The best saying about Chicago
is it’s a Baptist school [inaudible] as professors teach
Jewish students St. Thomas Aquinas [laughter]. And so, I took the common core. So, I wrote 16 papers
on theodicy’s. I probably wrote 20 on Hobbs. And we had in those days,
still the professors that were refugees from
Germany, and they — when they taught you these
books, they taught you as if they were the
keys to the kingdom. That you were going to
discover how to live if you study these books
well and read them seriously. There’s a saying, if you burned
with enthusiasm people will come from miles to watch
you burn [laughter]. And these professors
had that enthusiasm. And so, they really
introduced us to the — the great moral ecologies. They took — taught us to
take reading really seriously and then they taught us how to
see, which seeing seems obvious, but if you live in Washington
you’re around your politics, you know seeing the world — most of us see the world
in a distorted way. And there’s a quote from
John Ruskin where he says, the older I get the
more important — the more I think the most
essential thing in life is to see something and
say what you saw clearly in a short passage. Millions can talk for
those who can think, and millions can think
for one who can see. And there’s just some authors
like Tolstoy, or Orwell, or C.S. Lewis who just
see the world clearly, and I think they disciplined
us to try to do that.>>David M. Rubenstein:
How did you do at the University of Chicago?>>David Brooks: I
did better there. There’s a certain point
where you learn to work.>>David M. Rubenstein: Okay.>>>>David Brooks: Like
I learned to work.>>David M. Rubenstein: So, how did you decide what
your career was going to be? Did you know you wanted to be
a writer when you graduated?>>David Brooks: Yeah, I knew
I wanted to become a writer and I sort of knew I wanted
to be a popular writer. I didn’t want to be an academic, because I’m not good
at abstract thinking.>>David M. Rubenstein:
So, you didn’t want to go into investment banking
or private equity, higher callings then writing?>>David Brooks: That
is a higher calling. But I — I would have had
to been able to do addition and multiplication
as I understand.>>David M. Rubenstein: So, when you were an undergraduate
you met William F. Buckley. How did that change your life?>>David Brooks: So, I
was a school columnist for the school paper and
Buckley came to campus, and I wrote a vicious
parody of him for being a name-dropping
blowhard [laughter]. It was like, while at Yale,
Buckley formed two magazines, one calledThe National
Buckley
, one calledThe Buckley
Review
, which he merged to formThe Buckley
Buckley
[laughter]. And so, it was a whole
bunch of jokes about that. And he came to campus and he gave a speech
to the student body. And at the end of it
he said, David Brooks, if you’re in the audience
I want to give you a job. And that was the big
break of my life.>>David M. Rubenstein:
Did he give you a job?>>David Brooks:
Sadly — excuse me?>>David M. Rubenstein:
He gave you a job?>>David Brooks: He said,
I want to give you a job. And sadly, I was not in
the audience [laughter]. So, I — I was literally out — I had been hired by
PBS to interview — to debate Milton
Friedman on national TV. And you go on YouTube,
and if you type in YouTube David Brooks, Milton Friedman you’ll see a
21-year-old me with big Jew fro and these gigantic 19’80s
glasses that were apparently on loan from the Mt. Palomar
Lunar Observatory [laughter]. And basically, the show is
— I was then a socialist. I argue a point that I
regurgitated from some textbook. He destroys it in
about six words, and then the camera
lingers on my face as I try to think of something to say. That was — that was the show.>>David M. Rubenstein:
All right. So, what did you do
when you graduated?>>David Brooks: I worked
as a bar tender for a year. Best job I ever had. And then I covered
Chicago politics for something calledThe City
News Bureau
andThe ChicagoJournal. So that was Harold Washington,
the first black mayor of Chicago had just
come in and he was in what they called
the Council Wars with a guy named Eddie Vrdolyak.>>David M. Rubenstein:
Then did you get a job with Buckley eventually?>>David Brooks: So, I
covered poverty on the south and west side and I — I
thought I was seeing a lot of bad social policy that had
the unintended consequences of making poverty worse. And that made me a
little more conservative. So, I called Buckley up and
said, is the job still there? He said yes, so I
flew to New York.>>David M. Rubenstein: So, you
moved to New York and you worked forThe National Review?>>David Brooks: Yeah,
and it was a total shock. You forget how Buckley was — he led a lifestyle
that was unimaginable. Like you’re a kid
covering crime in Chicago and then suddenly you’re in this
pied-à-terre on Park Avenue, and they put a finger bowl in
front of you, and you’re like, why is this soup so
watery [laughter]? I mean it’s like –>>David M. Rubenstein: So,
but had you been a conservative or how did you come to the
The National Review
?>>David Brooks: I
think by that time — I remember being happy
when Thatcher won. But mostly, at Chicago they
assigned me a book calledTheReflections on the Revolution
in France
by Edmond Burke. And at the time, I hated it. I loathed that book. And here was a guy — I
wanted to have a revolution. I wanted to create
new ideas for myself. And here was a guy says,
distrust your reason. But Burke’s conservatism
is based on epistemological modesty. Epistemology is what we can
know, and modesty is modesty. It’s the — the world is a
really complicated place, be careful how you
think you can change it. Do it gradually, incrementally,
and as Burke says, as if you were operating
on your own father.>>David M. Rubenstein: Okay.>>David Brooks: And so, what I saw in Chicago was social
change done badly, and it seemed to confirm in me what
Burke was saying. And so, I — I wasn’t a
conservative the wayTheNational Reviewwas, but I
was suddenly not as progressive.>>David M. Rubenstein: Well,
sometimes when you get close to people you idolize
you see their faults. Did you see any faults
with William F. Buckley, or did you still idolize him?>>David Brooks: I — I have
immense admiration for him. I mean, we were talking
backstage about his son Chris Buckley
wrote a book and it showed some of the dark side of his
father, which was there. The ADD is — his
father couldn’t sit still when Christopher
graduated from Yale, at the commencement, so he left. And so, Christopher
had to have lunch after his own commencement
alone. And that side of Buckley I saw. The — he couldn’t slow down. He — he simply could
not slow down. On the other hand, he asked
me questions about everything. He took me to Bach concerts. He took be yachting. He was a surrogate
father for 18 months. And what I saw is — was his
awesome capacity for friendship. One of his biographers estimated
that he wrote more letters than anybody else in the 20th
century, any other American. But he was constantly staying
in touch with his friends and endeared to his friends. And the great thing
is conversations at his home were almost
never about politics, they were about ideas
and literature. He was not primarily
a political creature.>>David M. Rubenstein:
So how long did you stay atThe National Review?>>David Brooks: I did
that for 18 months.>>David M. Rubenstein:
What’s that — 18 months. That was short.>>David Brooks: It
seemed long at the time.>>David M. Rubenstein:
Okay [laughter], and what did you do next?>>David Brooks: Then I came
down here and I began one of two stints as a movie critic. First forThe Washington
Times
, then forThe Wall
Street Journal
.>>David M. Rubenstein:
Did you have any background in being a movie critic?>>David Brooks: I had got — because my social life
was so rich in college, I went to the movies
every night [laughter]. And so, I had seen a lot
of movies and I will say, being a movie critic was fun. In those days I got to
meet Katharine Hepburn, Kirk Douglas, Bert Lancaster. I had the best interview of
my life with Jackie Gleason. I flew down to Florida and I
was sitting in a hotel room and his wife walks in and
playsThe Tonight Showmusic and then Jackie Gleason walks in
and goes like this [laughter]. And it’s just me and him
in a room [laughter].>>David M. Rubenstein: Wow.>>David Brooks:
So, he tells me, just one hilarious
story after another. The one I remember
is he’s telling — he’s out drinking
with Joe DiMaggio at Toots Shor’s,
this bar in New York. And he bets DiMaggio a thousand
bucks that he could race him around the block and beat him. For those who are
younger than 40, DiMaggio was a professional
athlete. Jackie Gleason weight
approximately 2,000 pounds [laughter]. And so, they take off
and they run around and as DiMaggio’s turning the
corner, he sees Gleason huffing and puffing up to
the front door. And he can’t believe
Gleason beat him. So, Gleason says, okay,
double or nothing. What’s the odds I’m
going to beat you twice? They take off, they
run around, they turn, and once again Gleason
is huffing and puffing up to
the front door. So, he owes him 2,000
bucks and then about a half an hour later
they’re back in the bar. DiMaggio says, you know,
we raced around the block, we never crossed on the
bottom side [laughter]. And so, Gleason had
hired a car to drive around the block [laughter].>>David M. Rubenstein:
Okay, so all right, your movie criticisms
were well received or not?>>David Brooks: I
think well enough. I will say being a movie critic
ruined permanently my love for the movies.>>David M. Rubenstein:
Okay, so –>>David Brooks: Because you
put a notebook between yourself and the screen, and you can’t
get lost in the movie anymore. And then when you
meet the people that are making the movies
you realize how many financial decisions are going into each
scene, and all you see is through the mind
of the producer.>>David M. Rubenstein:
So, what did you do next?>>David Brooks:
Well, by then I was atThe Wall Street
Journal
and I was — I became a foreign
correspondent. So, they sent me in the
early-’90s to cover — they told me, this is the
part of the world you’re going to cover; from Iceland to
Vladivostok, from Scotland to Cape Town [laughter]. And so, but in those days, I
covered nothing but good things. I covered the fall
of the Soviet Union. Best story I ever covered. I covered the independence
of Ukraine. The Berlin reunification, German
reunification, Modella coming out of prison in South Africa. The Oslo peace process
is the Middle East. It was all good news events.>>David M. Rubenstein: Did you
ever go to Greenland or know?>>David Brooks: No, but I
— I put in a bid for it. But I [laughter] –>>David M. Rubenstein:
Skip Gates, how are you? Skip, how are you?>>David Brooks: Skip Gates.>>David M. Rubenstein:
So, okay, so you did that for a while. You’re a foreign policy expert. Then what did you do next?>>David Brooks: Well, I should
say I’m reminded I had the best interview of my life in Russia. If you recall, there was a
coup against the Yeltsin regime and he stood up on
a tank in front of the white Russian
Parliament building and I ran into a 90 some odd year old
woman handing out sandwiches to the democracy
protesters and she had grown up in a Czar’s household. Her first husband
had been killed in the civil war
after the revolution. Her second husband
and boys were killed in the Battle of Stalingrad. Her third husband was sent away
to the gulag and disappeared. She was a [inaudible] people
in the ’50s and was sent away with her people by Khrushchev. And then she needed her life
handing out sandwiches in front of the Russian parliament
building. And so, she had personally
experienced every single event of Soviet history. And it was one of
those burning moments when you see history
right in front of you.>>David M. Rubenstein: Right. So, what happened next?>>David Brooks:
So, I came home, and I saw that American
culture had changed. I grew up in — I went to high
school in a place called Wayne, Pennsylvania and when I
left it was a waspy town where people wore green pants
and duck ties [laughter]. And when I came back it
had the first Anthropology, the store Anthropology. Like I never thought
a store named after an academic discipline
would come to Wayne, Pennsylvania [laughter]. And so, a new culture
had come into being.>>David M. Rubenstein: Right.>>David Brooks: Which
became the subject of my first book
Bobos in Paradise
.>>David M. Rubenstein:
All right, so when did you write that?>>David Brooks: That
came out in 2000.>>David M. Rubenstein: And
the theme of that book was?>>David Brooks:
Well, Bobos are people who are half bourgeois
and half bohemian. They’re people with ’60s values
and ’90s money [laughter]. And so basically, I came home, I looked at theNew
York Times
wedding page, what they called the mergers and
acquisitions page [laughter]. It was like Stanford marrying
Yale, Goldman marrying McKenzie. I was thinking, you
know, they — you couldn’t have a summa cum
laude marrying magna cum laude because the tensions
would be too great in that marriage [laughter]. And so, I’d seen the
meritocracy come in to being, but they wanted to prove
they were not money hungry, so they had a code of
consumption to prove that they were still
authentic progressives. And so, for example, one of the
codes was you can spend money on it — as much
money as you want on any room formally
used by the servants. So, the kitchens,
you could spend a lot of money on the kitchens. And so, you had these
nuclear reactors, these Augusto’s started
showing up. These nubby fabrics. You had a whole code that
I basically made fun of.>>David M. Rubenstein: So,
when did you begin writing forThe New York Times?>>David Brooks:
So, I went to work atThe Weekly Standard
where our job was to make the Republican Party
moderate and reasonable. And that worked [laughter]. And –>>David M. Rubenstein: How
many years were you doing that?>>David Brooks: I — I was at
The Standard
for nine years, where I really began to figure
out what I actually thought. And then, around 2003 I got
a call from Gail Collins who was editing the
editorial page, and I sort of new she was going
to ask me to write a column, so I took the train up and, on
the way, up I said, no, no, no. Because my best length
is 3,000, 5,000 words. 850 words are not
my best length. And so, she and Arthur
Scheilsbuerger asked the question and before I was
going to say no, I said, has anybody ever said
no to the question, do you want to become a
New York Times
columnist? And they said, no, no one’s
ever said not to this. And I had a failure of courage
and I said yes [laughter].>>David M. Rubenstein: Okay. All right, so what year
was that you began?>>David Brooks: 2003.>>David M. Rubenstein:
All right, 2003. And so now, you’re
been writing how long?>>David Brooks: 16 years.>>David M. Rubenstein: And
how many columns do you write a week?>>David Brooks: I
write two a week, so that’s 100 a year,
and it’s a lot. The saying — my chief joke about being a conservative
columnist at theTimes, is it’s like being the
chief Rabbi at Mecca. Not a lot of company
there [laughter].>>David M. Rubenstein: So, how long does it take
you to write a column?>>David Brooks: It can
be two and a half hours, and it can be 20 hours. The length of time
I spend working on it has an inverse correlation
to how good the column is.>>David M. Rubenstein: But
do you ever get writers block and call them up and say, I
just don’t have anything today.>>David Brooks: Uh, no. That’s not allowed. That’s not the way it works.>>David M. Rubenstein:
So, like suppose you –>>David Brooks:
The famous joke –>>David M. Rubenstein: Suppose
you write something that’s 820 words. You need 30 more. Do you — where do
you get the extra 30? You always have to
fill up exactly 850?>>David Brooks: I throw in
some bilge about character and you know [laughter].>>David M. Rubenstein: So, were
you surprised at the readership that you produced
with those columns? How many people now read them, and I assume you’re
pretty well-known as a result of those columns.>>David Brooks: I
don’t know [laughter]. Well, I will say, the
joke columnists tell about their job is it’s — it’s like being married
to a nymphomaniac. It seems good for the
first two weeks [laughter]. But then you go to keep
producing [laughter]. And — but I actually — the first six months on the job
were the hardest professional months of my life.>>David M. Rubenstein: So,
you ever actually spend time with the other columnists
or people inThe New York
Times
or are you — just write them at
home and send them in?>>David Brooks: Weirdly we
— we’re always on the road, so I’m here in the DC Bureau, and the two other columnists
here, there other now, are Maureen Dowd, Tom
Friedman, and David Leonhardt. And we’re just on the road so
much that — I like them all, we get along, we just — we
just don’t see each other.>>David M. Rubenstein: But do
you ever have trouble coming up with an idea for a column or
you always have plenty of those?>>David Brooks: I
have desperate trouble. So, like I used to think like
it’s just sheer desperation, I used to think well,
if I got hit by a bus and I lived I could get a
column out of that [laughter]. And so, my only desires
now is for column ideas. So, like I remember fantasizing
about winning the lottery, but it was not the money, it
was oh I could get a column out of that [laughter]. And so, it’s the thing uppermost
on my mind all the time.>>David M. Rubenstein: When
did the PBS series start? TheNewsHour.>>David Brooks: The
NewsHour
started in 2001.>>David M. Rubenstein:
Okay, so how — how frequently do you do that?>>David Brooks: That’s every
Friday and with Mark Shields, who’s most — Mark
Shields and Jim Lehrer, two of the most wonderful
men I know [applause].>>David M. Rubenstein: But
every Friday you have to show up in Washington or whenever — do you can’t be anywhere
else [inaudible]?>>David Brooks: Right,
and so it does pin me down. Because I’m here every Friday. We wanted to call — the segment
is called Shields and Brooks. We wanted to call
it Brook Shields. That would have been
better [laughter]. But they didn’t go for that. And the one — my
great observation aboutThe NewsHour, it’s something I’m intensely
proud to be a part of. But we have a certain
demographic who is out core demographic, which we
call seasoned youth [laughter]. And so, if a 98-year-old lady
comes up to me in the airport, I know what she’s going to say. I don’t watch your show, but
my mother loves it [laughter]. And so, we are doing
well with older folks.>>David M. Rubenstein:
So, you’re supposed to be the conservative
on that and is that a fair characterization?>>David Brooks: I’m supposed to
be, but frankly over the years, I’ve — I’ve been a struggle to still call myself
a conservative. And I think now I just
call myself the moderate. I have not left Edmund Burke, but the way the political
worlds have shifted I — it’s more accurate
to say I’m a moderate and someone who’s
politically homeless.>>David M. Rubenstein: But
now that you’re well known for your TV show
and also the column, do your high school friends call
you up and now say, you know, I really knew you were
going to be successful? Are people calling you who
didn’t call you before?>>David Brooks: I dated
a lot of people’s sisters and in all cases,
these were women who would have had
nothing to do with me. But I would say no, my core
childhood experience is I went to the same summer
camp for 15 years. From — and so that
was my childhood. And I have relatively few
friends from high school, but I have about 60
friends from this camp. And they treat me –>>David M. Rubenstein:
Like a Jewish day camp?>>David Brooks: Completely
the same as they always –>>David M. Rubenstein: It’s
a Jewish day camp somewhere?>>David Brooks: Well,
it was called Church of the Incarnation,
so it was unlikely to be a Jewish camp [laughter].>>David M. Rubenstein:
So okay, so let’s talk about your second book. What was your second book?>>David Brooks: That was
calledOn Paradise Drive. And that was a post-9/11 book. An attempt to write a book
capturing the spirit of America and how it showed
out in everyday life. And in the middle of that book I
saw a quote from Jacques Barzun that said, overbook is
possible to write except a book about the spirit of America. I was like, oh damn,
he’s right [laughter]. But basically, I was — I went
out for the excerpts for people who live in the DC area. I spent a lot of
time in Germantown, or in Springfield,
or in Louden County. And I thought this — these
were the fast-growing places at that time. And I wanted to show how the
spirit of America, of energy, and movement, and
bigness, and excess, and really a utopian
longing for some paradise –>>David M. Rubenstein: Right.>>David Brooks: Was
behind a lot of the moves. And so, I wrote about
big box malls. And, you know, the — you know, they would all have the
suburban theme restaurants on the highway, which if they
merge would be called Chili’s Olive Garden Hard Rock
Outback Cantina [laughter]. All these restaurants. And I was sort of obsessed
with this part of America that nobody else
is writing about.>>David M. Rubenstein:
So, some of your columnists inThe New York Times
— co-columnists — they take time off
to write a book. Do you take time off to write
a book or how do you do that?>>David Brooks:
I’ve done that twice and both times I’ve learned,
and Gail Collins told me this, it did not accelerate
the writing of the book, but it made you spend
a lot more time with your garden [laughter]. And anything other than writing.>>David M. Rubenstein: So how long did it take
you to write a book?>>David Brooks: I’m
on a four-year cycle. I’m doing other stuff. But books to me, that’s more or less the core of
what I’m proud of. And it takes forever
to structure a book. My books are always somewhat
personal, somewhat public. And to get that structure,
it takes me forever to do it, to figure out what
the book is about. And the odd thing is, you get
these complex book structures and then after four
years you get down to the simple structure. And you think, why didn’t I
get the simple structure first? But it takes you four years
to get to the simplicity on the other side of complexity.>>David M. Rubenstein:
All right, your third book was
Social Animal
.>>David Brooks: Yeah.>>David M. Rubenstein:
And what was that about?>>David Brooks: Nominally
a book about neuroscience, but it was really a book
about emotion and me trying to understand emotion. Because it’s not
something — I’m — I always say Washington is the
most emotionally avoidant city on the face of the
earth [laughter], and I might have been the most
emotionally avoidant person in that city. My friends joked that me
writing a book about emotion was like Gandhi writing a book
about gluttony [laughter]. And but, what the
neuroscience was showing — a great scientist named
Antonio Damasio had patients who had lesions in their brains, and they could not
actually experience emotion. And so, you would think they
would be super smart Mr. Spocks. But in fact, they
couldn’t function in life because emotion is not
the opposite of reason, emotion is the valuing device
that tells us what we want. It’s the foundation of reason. And so, people who are
emotionally intelligent are also intellectually intelligent. The two go together. And so, Damasio’s book is
calledDescartes’ Error. Descarte thought reason
and emotion were separate. But in fact, they’re not. And so, I really wanted to write about how we educate
the emotions through art and literature, and how we
refine our emotional life through relationship
with one another. In the course of
writing that book — and this is years ago now — Taylor Swift was on60
Minutes
and she was asked, you write a lot of sad songs. And she said, well actually
there are 23 different kinds of sadness. There’s your husband — your boyfriend dumps you
sadness, and she plays a tune. There’s you lose your dog
sadness, a different tune. Your mom’s mad at you
sadness, different tune. And to be aware of 23 different
kinds of sadness or 25 kinds of joy, is just a
better way to live. And a better way — it
gives you the capacity to see others deeply
and know what’s going on in their own emotional lives. And so that book was an
attempt to write myself into some capacity for that.>>David M. Rubenstein: And you
wrote a fourth book before you wrote this one. That wasThe Road
to Character
. What was that about?>>David Brooks: Well, what
I learned from that book was that books — a friend
of mine has said this, but I didn’t appreciate it. A magazine article can
be about many things. Books have to be about one thing that people immediately
can grasp. And so, I had a throwaway
passage in that book saying there
are two sets of virtues. There’s the resume
virtues, which is the things that make us good at our job. And then there’s the eulogy
virtues, then things they say about us after we’re dead. Whether we’re courageous,
honest, honorable, capable of great love. And we spend a lot of
time preparing people with the resume virtues, but we all know the eulogy
virtues are more important. So how do you develop those? So, it was really — and so that one phrase resume
eulogy virtues sort of carried the book. And I think tapped into a
sense that I think a lot of people share, that our
culture is over politicized and over professionalized,
and under moralized. That we render ourselves
morally inarticulate by not really talking about
how do we become better people. And that book was sort
of watching 10 people — 10 of my hero’s, how they became
— how they went from being sort of human disasters at age 20, to really magnificent
people by age 70.>>David M. Rubenstein: When
you write a book, do you do it in long-hand or do
you do it a computer? How do you do that?>>David Brooks: So, I
have a really bad memory, so I usually have these
notebooks in my pocket. I’ve got one right here. Anyway, paper. I’m always writing my ideas. And then I Xerox
out a lot of stuff. And so, as I research a book, I’ll have collected
thousands of pages of notes. And what I do is I can only get
them straight geographically, so I put — create
piles on the floor with the notes in
the right pile. And when I write a column
it’s only 850 words, but they’ll be 14
piles on the floor, because a pile is a paragraph. And I pick up the pile, write the paragraph,
throw out the notes. Pick up the next pile. And so, writing to me, it not
sitting at a keyboard tapping. It’s crawling around
on the floor of my living room [laughter]
organizing my piles [laughter].>>David M. Rubenstein:
But you do — actually you do write on
a computer eventually?>>David Brooks: Well, I tell
my students, by the time you sit and put it on the computer,
your paper should be 80% done. Because writing is about
traffic management. It’s about structure
and organization. And if you don’t get the
structure right, it won’t flow. And so, getting that
structure right — and then the process of organizing the piles is
the process of creativity. Sparks start coming.>>David M. Rubenstein:
Some people who are writers, they like to say, I’ll write
a certain amount a day. If I get that amount done,
I can do something else? Are you that way or do you
write until you get tired?>>David Brooks: Not as
crazy as some writers. Like Trollope is a very
depressing writer to read about, because he wrote 250
words every 15 minutes. 2,500 words every day. And if he finished a novel
before his 2,500 words, he just started another
novel [laughter]. And that’s just machine like. And — but I — I do
have to write every day. Like my wife thought
when we got married that we would have these
nice breakfast conversations. But I cannot talk
to other people until I’ve written my
800 or 1,000 words. So, I — we all have
our routines. Two routines I really like —
I think it was Toni Morrison — she had a hotel room in her — or a hotel room in her town
where she kept a typewriter, a desk, brandy, and a bible. And she went there every
day, did her thing. Cheever, John Cheever, had
an apartment in New York and he would get up, put
on his only suit and tie, ride the elevator down to
the basement of his building where he had an office. He would take off the suit
and the tie, he would write in his boxers until 12:30, then
he put on the suit and tie, ride back up and make
himself lunch [laughter]. And so, the rule is, the more
creative the endeavor the more disciplined the work
structure has to be.>>David M. Rubenstein: Okay, let’s talk about your fifth
book,The Second Mountain. So presumably there’s
a first mountain. What’s the first mountain?>>David Brooks: The narrative
device in this book is we get out of college and we — we think we want to
establish identity, want to establish a career, we want to play the
game of the meritocracy. And so, we — we
start to laugh off. And sometimes we succeed
and find it unsatisfying. Sometimes we fail. Sometimes a bad thing happens that wasn’t part of
the original plan. A cancer scares, or the loss of
a child or something terrible. And suddenly you’re
in the valley. And when you’re in the valley
you realize the desires of the ego which propelled you up the first mountain
were pretty unsatisfying. And then you’re ready for
a bigger, larger life. Which is not about building
up ego, but descending into yourself, into
your heart and soul, and you’re not acquiring
or contributing. And it’s really a shift
from one consciousness, which is from the consciousness
our culture requires to a counterculture.>>David M. Rubenstein:
But you were racing up the first mountain for part
of your life you would say?>>David Brooks: Yeah. And I achieved so
far beyond my dreams that I never — it was crazy. But I remember — I think four of my books have
been best sellers and each time I get the call
I’m surprised by how flat it is. It’s nothing. And I’m the poster child for career success
doesn’t make you happy. And so, there — there were part of the meritocracy
that tells us lies. The first lie is that career
success makes you happy. The second lie is that you
can make yourself happy. If you just get better
at, you know, yoga or, you know, a little thinner. But when you talk to people
at the end of their lives, it’s not the time they
were self-sufficient that they were happy. It’s the time they were
utterly un-self-sufficient and completely dependent
upon others. Another lie the meritocracy
is that you can — life is an individual journey. We give our kids these books,
oh the places you’ll go — the Dr. Seuss book — and
it’s about a kid graduating from school, all alone,
going on a path to success. No friends, no family. And I ran into a sociologist
who said she gives this book to her kids who are immigrants
here and they hate the book, because it doesn’t reflect
life as they know it. Which is studded
with relationships. And then another lie
of our culture is — and this is really a pernicious
lie if you really want to screw up your society —
is that people who achieve more are
somehow worth a little more than everybody else. And we pretend we
don’t tell this lie, but we really do in our actions.>>David M. Rubenstein:
Okay, so you — the second mountain is the
concern about community and other kinds of
things like that?>>David Brooks: It’s more a —
like I’ll tell it in my own way. In my own life. So, around 2013 my life sort
of crashed in on myself. Not the column, but I
— my kids had left home or were leaving home. My marriage had ended. I had most of my friendships
in the conservative movement and I wasn’t a conservative
anymore. So, I lost a lot of that. And so, all of a sudden,
I’m living in an apartment on Wisconsin Avenue and Newark
Street, and I’m all alone. And I had weekday friends. Guys I could — men
and women I could take to lunch and talk politics. But I didn’t have
weekend friends. And my weekends were these
vast expanses of silence where I would go
on runs and I got in the best shape of my life. But, the way — the
symbol of that period for me is in my kitchen. I wasn’t entertaining,
nobody was coming over. When you open the drawer where
there should have been — my kitchen where there should
have been forks and silverware, there was just post it notes. Because I was working
all the time. And where there should
have been plates there was just stationary. And like an idiot,
I tried to evolve — avoid an emotional and spiritual
crisis by working through it. And workaholism is a very
effective distraction from any deep problem,
but eventually it crashes. And so, I went through
this period where you — the pain crashes
you into yourself. Paul Tillich has a line —
he’s a 19’50s theologian — the line — he says, suffering
is an interruption of life and reminds you you’re not the
person you thought you were. It forces you to
crash to the floor of what you thought was
the basement of your soul and it reveals a cavity below
that, and it carves through that and reveals a cavity below that. And so, in those moments
of suffering we see deeper into ourselves than we ever
though imaginable and we realize that only spiritual and emotional food
can fill those places. So, the difference
between the first and second mountain is not just
selfishness versus community. It’s having one of those
experiences that causes you to crash into yourself
and to come deeply into contact with your soul. And I say this — I’m
not a religious writer. I don’t — I don’t care
if you believe in God or not believe in God. But I do ask you to
believe you have a soul. That there’s some piece of you
that has no shape, size, color, or weight, but gives you
infinite value and dignity. And that rich people don’t have
more of this than poor people. Old more than young. Our soul is where our
equality comes from. We don’t have equal brainpower. We don’t have equal
muscle power. But the level of souls is
— is equal and infinite. [ Applause ] So, what this soul does,
is it years for goodness. We all want to lead good lives.>>David M. Rubenstein: So,
you’re in this period of time and how did you get to
the second mountain? What did you do that got
you up the second mountain?>>David Brooks: Well,
I learned a few things. First thing I learned
is that freedom suck. I had total freedom. I had the income
of a 52-year-old and the open options
of a 22-year-old. And all my married friends
were projecting their fantasies onto me [laughter]. Oh, you should go out swinging. Yeah, that’d be great. And I learned freedom sucks. And then the second thing I
learned is you can’t solve your problem on the same
level of consciousness on which you created it. Which is an Einstein teaching. And then the third
thing I learned, was that you can’t pull
yourself out of the valley. Somebody has to reach
down and pull you out. And so, I got a very lucky
invitation in 2015 to go over to a house of a couple
named Cathy and David, who live in Crestwood,
up 17th Street. And I was accepting
all invitations at this point [laughter]. And so, I walk in the door
and Cathy and David had a kid in the DC public schools. And that kid had a
friend who had — his mom had health
issues and stuff. And, so James — this kid
often didn’t have a place to eat or stay. And so, they said,
James can stay with us. And then James had a friend,
and that kid had a friend, and that kid had a friend,
that kid had a friend. And so, by the time I go
to dinner there in 2015, they have 40 kids
around the dinner table and 15 sleeping around
the house. And so, I walk in the door, I
reach out to shake a kid’s hand, and he says, we really
don’t shake hands here. We just hug here. And so, I — every
Thursday night since then, I’ve been with those kids. I’m not the muggiest guy
on the face of the earth, but they’ve taught
me how to do it. And so, what the kids give
us is emotional transparency. And they demand it from us. And they turn and look at you like they’re flowers
looking to the sun for love. And I took my daughter there
and she came out and said, that’s the warmest
I’ve ever been. I took a guy named
Bill Milligan, who started the communities
in schools, and he’s been doing
youth work for 50 years. He said, I’ve been doing
youth work for 50 years. I’ve never seen a program
turn around a life. Only relationships
turn around lives. And so that’s what’s
happening here. And so, I’m writing about social
isolation, all the fragmentation and hatred on the
national level. And Thursday night at dinner
I’m seeing the solution. And so, it was — it was
through that — that was — there were several experiences, but one of those experiences was
suddenly an outward assistance on how to behave
and live better.>>David M. Rubenstein:
All right, so part of this, you got married again?>>David Brooks: I
got married again, which is another good thing. Yeah, and that was — that — having a happy marriage is like winning the
lottery times a thousand.>>David M. Rubenstein:
And okay, so today you would say you’re
happier than you’ve ever been?>>David Brooks: I’ve had a — I mean raising my kids
was a happy period. But I am — I am
blissfully, blissfully happy.>>David M. Rubenstein:
Now, in your book you write about a new religious
experience you had. You were born in one
religion, now you’re sort of in another religion
or what is –>>David Brooks: Sort of. It’s — the stupid joke I made
once now that I have to live with forever is that I’m
religiously bisexual [laughter]. But I grew up Jewish. And I went to —
got a bat mitzvah. For most of my adult
life, kosher. And I experienced the
kind of Jewish holiness. And Jewish holiness is not in — my line is that every
church service I go to is more spiritual than every
synagogue service I go to. But every Friday night
Shabbat meal is more spiritual than every church
service I go to. At the meal on Shabbat,
when the family is gathered and the blessings are said,
it’s like there’s a feeling of [speaking in foreign
language], loving kindness. And it’s like 18
people around the table and 18 people are listening
to 17 other conversations. They’re all talking at once and correcting the
17 other wrong things that have just been
said [laughter]. And that’s sort of
the Jewish goodness. But then I grew up —
I went to this school in New York called Grace Church
School, an Episcopal school, and I went to this
camp Incarnation, and there I saw another
kind of goodness. Which was — there
was a guy there for example names Wes
Lovenhorse who he had a gape. He had selfless love. He was like a man-child, a holy
child, who just radiated joy. He spoke is whistles and
always interrupting himself and laughing. And he did — he saw
horrible things in his life. He was — became an Episcopal
priest and worked in Honduras and then with women suffering from domestic violence
in Annapolis. And yet, he radiated a
sort of holy joy that I — that was unaccountable to me. Dorothy Day has a line that
Christians should act in a way that doesn’t make sense
unless God exists. And Wes was like that. So, I saw these two
different kinds of goodness, which were inspiring to me. But it wasn’t a problem, because
I didn’t believe in God anyway. So, it was just like two things. But then over the course
of a number of years, as a friend of mine says, reality overflew the categories
I had to understand it. You have certain
moments of transcendence. You have certain moments as I
described earlier where you — you become aware of
other people’s souls. And if you’re a journalist,
you’re writing stories about people, it can’t just be
about a bag of genetic material. The only reason we work
hard at journalism is if other people have souls. That have some infinite
consequence. And from there it was
just the most boring — you know I started
reading religious stuff — if you start going on a religions journey
people send you books. So, I got about 750 books in the
course of three or four months. Only 400 of wish wereMere
Christianity
by C.S. Lewis [laughter], different
copies of — and then, so I’m
sitting in my apartment and Jesus somehow
tarsorrhaphies through the wall. No, I’m kidding. That did not happen [laughter]. I just became aware that
I was a person of faith.>>David M. Rubenstein:
All right, so you now are both religions.>>David Brooks: Well, my Jewish
friends say no [laughter]. That’s not allowed. And so, but I feel more Jewish
than I ever did because now when I read Isaiah of Exodus,
I think the covenant is real. It’s not just a wisdom story. So, I feel more Jewish
than ever and yet, the Sermon on the
Mount is to me a — a glimpse at a sort of
celestial beauty that lingers. And I can’t unread Matthew.>>David M. Rubenstein: Okay,
so why should somebody — now that they’ve seen
what you’ve written about, heard what you’ve written about, why should they buy
this book [laughter]? What’s a good reason
to buy the book now that they’ve heard about it? Should they — will they learn
a lot more by buying this book than they just heard [laughter]?>>David Brooks: It’s a really
good status item [laughter]. No, well the book is partly
about the second mountain, but the second mountain
is a life of commitment. And so, there’s — it
started as a class. Actually, the book started, I
was single, and I was dating. So, it was first going to be
called The Marriage Decision: How Do You Decide Who to Marry? So, I spent a lot of
time thinking about that. And then I was teaching, and I figured my college
students were going to make four big
commitments over the course of the next 20 years
of their life. Most of them to a
spouse and family. To a community. To a vocation. And to a philosophy in faith. And in my view, the
second mountain in life is where you make maximal
commitments to those things. You don’t just have a
career; you have a vocation. You don’t just have
a contract marriage where you’re trying to be happy. You have a congenital
marriage where you try to surrender yourself
to your spouse’s joy. And so, I tried to describe,
and I do describe in the book, what it looks like to live a
life of maximal commitments. We live in a hyper
individualistic society and we’re not going
back to the 19’50s. But we can join our society
together by making promises to each other and then trying to
stay faithful to the promises. And a lot of it is just the
practical nuts and bolts of how do you choose a vocation? How do you choose
a marriage partner? How do you choose a
community, et cetera.>>David M. Rubenstein:
In other words, you’ll live a happier
life if you buy this book. Is that what you’re
saying [laughter]?>>David Brooks:
Actually, that reminds me. I was teaching a kid — a
wonderful kid who was — became a Rhodes Scholar,
really smart kid. And he took my course. And at the end of it
he said, you know, Professor Brooks your class
had made me a lot sadder. And I was like, that’s
a win [laughter]. It’s better to be a
sad spiritual person than a happy achievatron.>>David M. Rubenstein:
Now, recently you’ve taken on a new project,
The Aspen Institute. What is that?>>David Brooks: Yeah, it’s called Weave the
Social Fabric Project. And it starts with — I
was writing these columns and there’s our little
symbol here — on social isolation,
fragmentation. Suicide has risen
30% since 1999. Teenage suicide has
risen 70% since 2012. We’re just seeing
rise of distrust. And that seemed to me the
underlying problem behind a lot of problems. But it’s a problem that’s
being solved at the local level by people we call weavers
who are building community. And so, we thought we’d go out,
learn from their example and try to nationalize their effect. And so, I do this
now every week. I go out somewhere in the
country and I meet people who are really living for
relationships, not for self, and building communities. And a lot of them are
second mountain lives. There’s a woman I
met a while ago in New Orleans called
Lisa Fitzpatrick. She was a healthcare executive. She was driving one day, and
she saw two kids, 10 and 11, and they looked terrified. And they had something
in their hands, and they held it up
and it was a gun. And they shot her in the face. And it was a — they had to
do a gang initiation killing to get into this gang. And so, she recovers from this and she realizes I
wasn’t the victim here. I was collateral damage. Those two little boys were
the victims, because they had to kill somebody so they
could have a family. And so, she now devotes herself
to gang work in New Orleans and she works for the city. And so, a lot of our weavers
have had something negative happen in their life
and they try to fix what happened to them.>>David M. Rubenstein: So, you are doing this
with Aspen weekly. You’re writing two
columns a week. You’re on PBS Friday nights. You’re writing one book a year
and you’re teaching at Yale. And you’re married. And you have three kids. So, you have any free
time for anything?>>David Brooks: Uh
[laughter], I actually — this is a sad element
of my life. People ask me what’s my hobby.>>David M. Rubenstein:
Right, and you’re –>>David Brooks: And I used to
say, oh well I’m always going out to dinner night with
my friends or my kids. But now I’m trying
to take up tennis.>>David M. Rubenstein: Oh.>>David Brooks: I
want to have a hobby. Because you have some
pleasure in your life.>>David M. Rubenstein:
So you spend a lot of time on television talking
about politics, and when you were
writing your column and you are writing it still,
you were fairly critical of I think it was
candidate Trump, maybe it’s President Trump. I can’t remember. You were critical of maybe both. So, what is your view
on the likelihood of President Trump
will get reelected?>>David Brooks: I have actually
a cheerier view than a lot of my democratic friends. I think the guys at 40%. And he’s offended 60%. I mean I take it
stupidly, that’s not good. And so, I — I’m more — I’m more optimistic that he will
lose than a lot of the democrats that I hang around with. [ Cheering and Applause ]>>David M. Rubenstein: When
you write any critical articles of him do you ever
hear from him? Does he ever call you and say,
I don’t like that article?>>David Brooks: No, he
used to tweet about me, but I’ve never — I’ve never
had any contact with him. I’m very happy not to. I really [laughter]
I don’t want to be in the same room with the guy.>>David M. Rubenstein:
And so, what is your view on the likelihood that democrats
will retain control the house or get control of the senate?>>David Brooks: As I say, well
I do think the Democrats — you know, when we see what I
think is a pretty big advantage to the Democrats, of
course knowing the party of the main questions, I wonder
how they’re going to find a way to screw this up [laughter]? And — and so I — you know I — if I were advising
the Democrats, which I’m sure is advice
they’d love to get, I would say just
go with the bland. Like the number one job is
to get Trump out of office.>>David M. Rubenstein: And your
view is the likely Democratic nominee is going to be who?>>David Brooks: If I — my earlier answer to that
question was Kamala Harris. I think she is a
force of — a force. And if you’re thinking about
who can stand up to Trump, I think she has personal
character force. A forcefulness to her that I
thought would be a good match. I’m now looking at the race and I’m thinking it could
well be Elizabeth Warren. And I must say, I’ve —
I don’t know her well, but I’ve spent some
time with her, and I’ve never got
the likability charge. I find her very warm. I mean I like law professors
granted, [laughter] but I — and if you looked at what
she’s done over the last three or four months, she’s
steadily climbed up the ranks and she’s now got a
higher favorability rating than any other Democrat. And she’s taken 45,000
selfies [laughter]. So that’s like retail
politics [laughter]. And so, I’m — I’m very — you know, when you’re
covering a campaign like this, you’re like a scout
scouting a baseball pitcher. Who’s got good stuff? I would say in substance,
I don’t agree with it. But just as a candidate I
think she’s a strong candidate. I have to say, I’ve known Biden
for a long time, and I love — I think he’s a very
lovely, very lovely man.>>David M. Rubenstein: But
you don’t think he will get the nomination or?>>David Brooks: No, I mean I’m
very impressed by his strength. I thought it may fade. But there’s a — he has a
real strength of support. And so, those are the three
that I think are most likely.>>David M. Rubenstein:
Okay, and so as you look back on what you’ve done with your
life today, how old are you now?>>David Brooks: I turned
58 a couple days ago.>>David M. Rubenstein:
All right, well that’s a teenager to me. So, you’re 58-years-old. So, at 58, what would
you say you’re most proud of that you have achieved?>>David Brooks: I mean anybody’s going
to say your kids.>>David M. Rubenstein:
Well, once you get past that.>>David Brooks: [Laughter]
Well, I think what I would — I wrote a book on humility so I should talk
about how great I am. I would say it’s continually
being on the move and trying to continually learn more. I just wrote about a
book coming out next week by General Jim Mattis
calledCall Sign Chaos, and he’s a guy who just
keeps going to learn more to be a better Marine. And he did that his whole life. He’s got a great quote
germane the this festival, where he says, if you
haven’t read hundreds of books you’re illiterate, because your own private
experience is not enough to get you through life. [ Applause ]>>David M. Rubenstein: So, did you parents live
to see your success? Your professional success?>>David Brooks: Yeah,
my father’s still alive. My mom died about two
and a half years ago. And they — when my mom died, I lost my toughest
critic [laughter]. I would send her my book
manuscripts and she would — she was like, this is garbage on
the top of the page [laughter]. It’s like — she — my
mom was blunt and direct. So, I missed her for
editing this book, but my emotional
stability is a little –>>David M. Rubenstein:
And your father is he –>>David Brooks: My rather is
still alive and doing great. And he’s right now up in the
Botanical Gardens of Bronx in New York and the
old homestead.>>David M. Rubenstein: And
your children are they writer’s as well?>>David Brooks: No. They go their own way. My daughter walked into
a hockey rink at age five and suddenly felt at home. They’re — like I
mentioned, these — I discovered I want to
become a writer at seven. I call these the
enunciation moments. The moments early in life that prefigure a lot
that’s going to happen. And so, she walked
into a hockey rink up in Rockville and
felt at home. And she now teaches hockey for the Anaheim Ducks
out in California. And she’s hockey is life.>>David M. Rubenstein:
And your other children? What are they doing?>>David Brooks: My
youngest is a college student at The New School, 200 feet from where I went to
elementary school. And my oldest, who’s a boy, grew
up here and then went to college and then served in
the Israeli army for nearly three years
and now he’s back. He decided he likes
protecting people, so he’s going to go into law enforcement.>>David M. Rubenstein: So,
the message that you would like to leave all these
people with today is what? What is the main message you’d
like to convey to people, not just about your
book, but about life? What was the message
that you would like to convey to this audience?>>David Brooks: Yeah,
the one distinction that I found useful —
and it’s in the book — is the distinction
between happiness and joy. And that happiness is
about self-expansion. It’s — we feel happy
when we taste a good meal, when we win a promotion, when our team wins the Super
Bowl, when we feel bigger. Joy is when you erase the stuff. When you’re involved in
some moment so delicious that your sense of your
own self fades away. And so, for example,
I’ll tell two stories. The first is me. I’m driving home fromThe
NewsHour
when my kids were little and I’m driving home
to Bethesda, and so I pull into the side of the house
and I see into the backyard. And my kids were then
like 12, 9, and 4, were playing with a little ball. And they were kicking it
up in the air and racing across the yard to get it,
and they were falling all over each other, and they
were tickling each other and giggling and laughing. It was just a scene of
perfect family happiness. And it was summer sun
coming through the trees. For some reason my lawn
looked perfect [laughter]. And it was one of those
moments were reality just spills out its boundaries,
and I just shared at it through the windshield. And just was enveloped
by joy that was better than anything I felt at work. And which I knew I could
never have deserved. And we — parents
have all had that. And there are moments
where you’re just — you’re over awed by the way
the universe has blessed you. And that’s joy. You’re not thinking about
yourself at all, you dissolve. And another, I have a friend
who’s named Chris Wyman, who’s a poet, who
teaches with me at Yale. And he — when you talk to
Chris about his early life, he’s often in different cities
because there’s a woman there. So, like why’d you
live in Buffalo? Oh, there’s a woman there. And so, he was living in Prague,
because there’s a woman there and [laughter] he was writing
his poetry on the kitchen table and a falcon landed
on the windowsill. And he was trying to — the
falcon was scanning the street and he was just struck by
the beauty of the bird. And he calls to his girlfriend
who’s taking a shower, and he says to her,
come here, come here, you’ve got to see this. So, she runs out of the shower, she’s standing there
dripping wet, and they’re just
looking at this bird. And the falcon turns its head
and locks eyes with Wyman. And when Wyman says,
as he looked into those birds’
eyes he was like — he felt something
crumble inside, like looking at the centuries. It was like those
experiences we feel in nature where we are just lost in it. And his girlfriend was —
knew the power of the moment and she said, make a wish. And he wrote a poem
about it later and one of the stanza’s is, and
I wished, and I wished, and I wished, and I wished
that the moment would not end. And just like that it vanished. But those are these
elusive moments of joy that we experience. And it’s not about the self
and it’s not about the ego. It’s about surrender. And then there are
some people we meet. I meet them with some
regularity, who — where joy is not a moment. It’s just an outlook. They just radiate
joy all the time. I work through Weave
with Yoyo Ma. That guy just radiates
joy all the time. Every human being
it’s like he’s — this is the first human
being he’s ever met. Oh my god, these creatures
are amazing [laughter]. It’s like — and here I was
at a panel or a luncheon at a thinktank, and I sat
next to the Dali Lama. And that just — I mean, he didn’t see anything
very profound which was disappointment
to me [laughter], but he just laughed
all the time. And just radiated
a joy that comes from decades of spiritual –>>David M. Rubenstein: You’ve
said in your book, he laughed, and you didn’t know why,
but you were laughing just to make him feel good.>>David Brooks: I wanted
to be polite [laughter]. But so, those —
that orientation, if you point toward
happiness that’s good. I’m all for happiness. But if you point toward
joy, you’ll be heading in the right direction.>>David M. Rubenstein:
I want to thank you for a very interesting and
emotional conversation. I hope — I’m sorry this moment
has to end but thank you David. And I assume you’re
signing books somewhere.>>David Brooks: I am.>>David M. Rubenstein: All
right, thanks very much.>>David Brooks: Thank you.

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