It’s rare to find a book where every chapter invites you into a new way to think and a better way to live. David Brooks, a popular columnist and author, walked through a valley and emerged on his second mountain with a refined and weathered view of life. He recorded his journal entries and observations of others who have arrived at a place of deep meaning.
On the first mountain we strive and achieve and prove ourselves. But on the second mountain we give ourselves away to others and leave a legacy. This book is beautiful and painful, research and familiar story, fresh and foreign.
He explores and names things we know deep down, but aren’t sure what to call them. It’s clear Brooks these words from the crucible of relational and spiritual transformation. This is a deep well in a shallow culture.
Here are some killer quotes.
“People in the valley have been broken open…but for others, this valley is the making of them.”
“The people who have been made larger by suffering are brave enough to let parts of their old self die.”
“You don’t climb the second mountain the way to climbed the first mountain. You conquer your first mountain. You identify the summit, and you claw your way toward it. You are conquered by your second mountain… On the first mountain you tend to be ambitious, strategic, and independent. On the second mountain you tend to be relational, intimate, and relentless.”
“Our society has become a conspiracy against joy.”
“Workaholism is a surprisingly effective distraction from emotional and spiritual problems.”
“What does it profit a man to sell his own soul if others are selling theirs and getting more for it?”
“During my years caring for patients, the most common pathology I saw was not heart disease or diabetes; it was loneliness.” Former surgeon general Vivek Murthy
“Fulfillment and joy are on the far side of service.”
“Knowledge is plentiful; motivation is scarce.”
“To commit to faith is to commit to change. It includes moments of despair, or it is not faith.”
“Some people become insecure overachievers. They seek to win by accomplishing the love, admiration, and attachment they can’t get any other way, but of course no amount of achievement ever gives them the love they crave.”
“Most of us get better at living as we go. There comes a moment, which may come early or later in life, when you realize what your life is actually about.”