The Road to Character:

Your highlights:

Today’s society values the “me," the extrovert that lives in each one of us. But this wasn’t always so.

So while each person embodies these two basic types, one is often overshadowed by the other.

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Our “Adam I" type is an “alpha," a personality that projects outward, most comfortable in a success-obsessed society. He wants a career, social status; he’s a winner and will fight to remain so.In contrast, our “Adam II" type is an introvert. Today’s society wants nothing to do with him. He has a strong moral compass and strives to become more virtuous. Think of Adam II as the core of what makes a human “human," displaying traits such as kindness, bravery, honesty and devotion.

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Society has made a shift, from a focus on humility and reservedness to a focus on individual desire.

Society used to emphasize that humans were not strong but essentially weak, a climate in which Adam II types thrived.

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At the same time, humanists stressed the limits of our understanding and viewed pride with suspicion. Both schools of thought had the same point, stressing that individualism was not a virtue.All this changed with the rise of romanticism in the eighteenth century, an era marked with the increasing prevalence of Adam I types and ideas of human goodness and the power of the individual.

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The 1950s and 1960s were about pride and empowerment, a time when marginalized communities, from women to minorities, sought justice. But this age of empowerment also saw the power of individualism and personal desire overshadowing humility.While this might seem like a good thing on the surface, the truth is, our self-obsessed society has cost us a lot.

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Modern society has lost its connection to the moral values that lead to true joy and satisfaction.

the belief that you can accomplish anything you set your mind to means that every situation is easily reduced to a simplistic equation of cost and opportunity. As a result, as a society we no longer invest in things out of love or loyalty, but only to climb the social ladder.In other words, our lives revolve around how we achieve, and no longer why. The effect is profound.

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The long road to character begins with understanding that all humans are flawed creatures.

So as society fills itself with self-centered individuals, it becomes divorced from humanity’s deeper morals. But how do we change this? By embracing the flaws inherent in all of us.

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experiencing suffering makes you more grateful by helping you realize that you don’t deserve most of the love you receive. When you realize this, you become more grateful for the affection and attention of others.Therefore doing things like being honest about your flaws can help you overcome self-centeredness and embrace deeper social values, like love and connection to others.

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we all, more or less, have the same problem: a natural tendency toward overconfidence and selfishness. A problem with which we need to struggle, each one of us, to redirect our lives on a moral compass and not a hedonistic one.

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Toss pride by the wayside. Only by freeing yourself from pride can you walk the road to character.

If we’re going to thrive, we must free ourselves from pride!By throwing off pride, embracing the assistance of others and admitting our own flaws, we can begin balancing our internal Adam I and Adam II and be happy, fulfilled and worthy.

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Pride makes us coldhearted and cruel, while deluding us into thinking that we’re the masters of our own lives. Pride pushes us to prove our superiority to others, and the aid it prevents us from receiving can be a major block on the road to character.

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Final summary

The key message in this book:The scales of our society have precariously shifted toward self-obsession and success, leaving the virtue of humility and the struggle toward character in the past. But life’s joys aren’t found in a dream job or home, they exist in the moral battle of becoming a more loving, humble person.

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About the book:

The Road to Character (2015) explains how society’s focus on fame, wealth and status eclipses moral virtues and internal struggles. These blinks will show you how to reclaim qualities such as kindness, bravery, honesty and commitment.

About the author:

New York Times columnist David Brooks is also a regular guest on PBS’s NewsHour and NBC’s Meet the Press. He has written many national best-selling books, including The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character and Achievement.