The Social Animal, by David Brooks, is a non-fictional account of the social lives of human beings. It looks deep into the human psyche in order to discover the motives for human actions. The story follows Erica and Harold, a fictional couple, through their entire lifespans. This includes a full examination of growth and development that starts in utero and expands over their lifetimes. Harold and Erica's relationship shows an array of longitudinal information that follows their relationship and explores such disciplines as psychology, sociology, politics, and history in an engaging approach to the social sciences.
Brooks cites many research findings in this story to explain social problems: love, educational methods, attachment styles, economics, historical research, and political struggles. Basically, this book presents the social sciences in a entertaining yet educational manner by integrating them into a story and showing their applications in real life. This enhances a better understanding of social processes that occur in everyday life, such as subconscious feelings, emotions, and drives.
I initially read this book because I'm fascinated with social interactions and psychological functions. I found it quite appealing because it not only explains facts and figures, but also it links the facts to Erica and Harold's imagined situations. As a New York Times columnist, David Brooks is skilled at making his writing less scientific and more realistic. The Social Animal presents factual information in such a way that readers will maintain interest without feeling as though they are reading a text book.