The Second Mountain by David Brooks (Book Summary)


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Have you at any point met individuals who appear to transmit with a feeling of satisfaction and happiness? Have you at any point pondered what their mystery is? Or on the other hand how they turned into the manner in which they are? 

In the wake of addressing many individuals from various different backgrounds, concentrating incredible works of reasoning and religion, catching up on contemporary research in brain science and human science, and thinking about his own background after he experienced a troublesome separation, David Brooks touched base at a response to these inquiries. 



He clarifies this through the representation of ascending two progressive mountains, every one of which speaks to a sort of battle that individuals will in general experience on their voyages toward finding a satisfying life. 

The main mountain ends up being somewhat of a setback without giving an excessive amount of away, while the subsequent mountain is where the key to satisfaction lies. Lastly, to indicate what might be on the horizon and include some anticipation: in the middle of the two mountains, their falsehoods a valley of anguish. 


Independence undermines our social associations.


We should start by mapping out the societal scene from which the mountain rises to comprehend the primary mountain that individuals hop on their voyage toward a real existence of satisfaction. The idea of this scene can be summed up in a solitary word: independence. 

As its name proposes, this is a conviction framework that champions independence. It’s the prevailing ethos of the United States, which can, along these lines, be called an individualistic culture. 

Independence permits a way of thinking of life where individuals are offered practically complete individual flexibility. Not at all like individuals from non-individualistic social orders, you won’t need to comply with the thoughts, values or conduct standards of other individuals or associations. For instance, you won’t need to live by the manages of political pioneers or religious foundations. 

Those manage to speak to different things that other individuals need you to think, esteem or do. In any case, what would you like to think, esteem or do? Independence welcomes you to respond to this inquiry for yourself and urges you to pursue your own wants. Need to dedicate your life to whitewater boating? 


Or then again become an incredible business official? Do anything you desire, individualists state, as long as it doesn’t meddle with other individuals’ capacity to do likewise. In the perfect rendition of an individualistic culture, we can all calmly exist together and do our very own thing close by one another. 

Hidden this origination of society is a perspective that considers individuals to be discrete people, as opposed to interconnected individuals from different covering networks like places of worship and neighborhoods. 



When you have a place with one of these networks, you’re bound up with your kindred network individuals in a lot of shared spaces and attempts: a case of this is a Jewish people group loving God in their synagogue. In a collective setting, it bodes well for individuals to have common responsibilities to one another and to their mutual qualities and targets. 

In any case, every one of those duties speaks to confinement on individual flexibility. By resolving to pursue the Jewish dietary laws of kashrut, for instance, an individual grasps stringent confinements on what she can and can’t eat. 

Independence recoils from such a prospect, in light of the fact that to the extent this conviction framework is concerned, the less our responsibilities and imperatives, the better. Be that as it may, this is a tricky idea, as we’ll find in the following part. 


An absence of social associations prompts across the board societal issues.


Independence may sound like a fairly engaging vision of life with its guarantee of practically boundless individual flexibility. Be that as it may, when it turns into the predominant way of thinking of a whole society, it can prompt numerous issues. 

That is on the grounds that the more we center around ourselves, the less we center around one another and on the undertakings of structure, keeping up and extending our social associations. For a for example, simply take a gander at the contemporary United States, where social associations are fraying because of widespread independence. Some calming insights bear this out. 

Throughout the whole year, just 8 percent of Americans report having a significant discussion with their neighbors. Incessant depression plagues 35 percent of Americans matured 45 or more seasoned. Furthermore, the quickest developing political and religious gatherings in the US are “unaffiliated,” which means these individuals are disengaged from any network in two of the fundamental regions of public activity. 

At the end of the day, individuals are getting lonelier. Sadly, dejection is something beyond a negative feeling – it’s additionally a genuine societal issue. In the United States, it has prompted expanded rates of melancholy and suicide. From 2012 to 2015, the level of youthful Americans with serious despondency ascended from 5.9 to 8.2 percent, and from 2006 to 2016, the suicide rate ascended by 70 percent among Americans matured 10 to 17. 



As Americans lose their social associations with one another, they additionally lose their trust in others and in the foundations that are intended to tie them together. From the 1950s to the present, the level of Americans who trust their neighbors has tumbled from around 60 percent to only 32 percent among the all-inclusive community, with twenty to thirty-year-olds dropping right down to 18 percent. 

In the meantime, over a similar period, the level of Americans who trust the US government has dived from around 75 percent to under 25 percent. Also, in the event that congregation participation is an intermediary for trust in sorted out religion, at that point this gives off an impression of being nose-plunging too, having dropped by very nearly 50 percent since the 1960s. 

Without a feeling of association and having a place with their neighborhoods, more extensive society or the organizations that once guided a great many people’s lives, Americans feel cut afloat and coming up short on a feeling of establishing in their lives. What’s more, it’s inside this setting they start to ascend the main mountain, to which we’ll turn straight away. 


The opportunity of independence makes numerous individuals feel afloat, driving them to concentrate on the quest for material achievement.


Envision you’re a youthful grown-up living in the individualistic United States, and you’re going to start your quest for the American Dream. You simply moved on from an amazing college with an attractive degree, so you’re well-prepared to succeed. The main thing left to do is to respond to that feared inquiry: Now what? 

It’s a hard inquiry to reply. Keep in mind the majority of that individual flexibility that independence guaranteed you? All things considered, you don’t generally get the chance to appreciate it until you complete your training. Up until that point, you invest the greater part of your energy going to class or doing school-related exercises, for example, sports or homework. 

There are unbending timetables and guidelines to pursue. Your educators set out clear desires for you, and your evaluations disclose to you how you’re measuring up to them. Furthermore, you realize that in the event that you get decent evaluations, you’ll have the option to get into a decent college. There’s a make way to pursue. 

At that point, you graduate, and all of a sudden there’s nobody to instruct you any longer, so you need to make sense of it without anyone else. Also, there’s no set way to pursue, so you need to burst your own. 



That may sound like the start of an incredible experience, but at the same time, it’s a truly overwhelming prospect – particularly when you live in an individualistic culture, and come up short on a feeling of association with a network that could give you a feeling of directing reason. 

Feeling driftless in the untamed ocean of an individualistic culture, numerous youthful Americans feel urgent to discover something to which they can stay themselves. Furthermore, something regularly winds up being their expert lives. 

They attempt to discover positions in organizations that will give them an unmistakable feeling of structure, similar to the one they encountered at school. Get down to business, put in extended periods of time, please your supervisors, gain advancements and accomplish more elevated amounts of status and riches. This is the lifestyle that they grasp – an actual existence of workaholism. 


Furthermore, in seeking after status-and riches situated aspirations, individuals are ascending the principal mountain: the heap of common achievement. 

Ascending the principal mountain gives individuals a feeling of direction and bearing, yet it’s a temperamental way to the satisfaction that eventually comes at an incredible expense, as we’ll find in the following part. 


The quest for material achievement, in the long run, hits an impasse.


Since we’re going to scale to the most elevated compasses of the primary mountain, put on some climbing boots and bring some rope.

We should begin with the most ideal situation: achieving the summit. Envision you’ve made it. You’ve risen to the highest point of your vocation stepping stool. You’re an exceedingly regarded proficient in a very regarded field. There’s only one issue: regardless you don’t feel a feeling of satisfaction. You have a craving for something is absent from your life. What’s going on here? 

We’ll hover back to that question in a matter of seconds, on the whole, how about we take a gander at the contrary plausibility in light of the fact that there we can discover a few hints. Envision that as opposed to achieving the summit, you lose your balance on the mountain and tumble down into the valley underneath. 

Possibly you get knocked off the incline by some horrendous occasion in your own life, for example, losing your activity, getting separated, building up an illness or encountering the sudden passing of a relative. Or on the other hand, perhaps you simply get tired and choose to bounce off the mountain as opposed to keep walking ahead. 

Maybe you’re one of those individuals who achieve a limit with a good for nothing appearing employment and just leaves it, never to return. 



In any case, you end up in the valley between the first and second mountains. A valley is a position of misfortune and enduring. Regardless of whether you lose employment, a friend or family member or some part of your wellbeing, you additionally lose your ability to read a compass, which means, and strength throughout everyday life, which further develops the torment you feel, therefore. 

How would you facilitate your anguish? All things considered, a few people attempt to smear it out with palliative exercises like drinking, however, these are just brief arrangements that make further issues of their own. 


A more advantageous reaction is to incline toward loved ones for help, regardless of whether by method for a thoughtful ear, sympathetically expressions of guidance or basically a pleasant feast together. 

In the event that you take this better way through the valley of misery, you may finish up adapting some essential exercises about what was absent from your life when you were ascending the primary mountain, alongside what you have to live a more full human presence. 

What’s going on here? As you may have speculated, the appropriate response includes interfacing with other individuals. We’ll take a gander at the subtleties in the following section 


As an extreme objective of life, joy is a defective target.


Keep in mind that luring guarantee of independence – that it will give you a practically boundless opportunity in the event that you receive it as a way of thinking of life? Indeed, here’s an inquiry to pose before you sign the agreement: What’s the purpose of having so much close to home freedom in any case? 

Of course, you get the opportunity to do anything you desire, as long as it doesn’t hurt other individuals – however, what precisely do you need? 

All things considered, from the stance of independence, the exact response to that question relies upon the person’s character. For one individual, it could be a real existence of experience. For another, it could be celebrated. Be that as it may, there’s a general want that underlies most answers: somehow, we as a whole simply need to be upbeat. 

That may sound like a sensible intention, however, there’s an issue with it, and the issue lies at the core of the marvel of bliss itself. Essentially, when you feel cheerful, this is on the grounds that you’ve accomplished one of your objectives or satisfied one of your wants. You earned that recognition. You got that advancement. You had a flavorful supper. 

Satisfaction results, yet not for long, in light of the fact that the luminosity of accomplishment and satisfaction before long blurs away. Bliss is a transitory state. You accomplish an objective or satisfy a craving, you feel cheerful for somewhat, the joy disperses, and after that, it’s a great opportunity to proceed onward to the following objective or want. 



In this way, an actual existence devoted to the quest for joy turns into a real existence of perpetually bouncing from one brief scene of fulfillment to another, with significant lots of disappointment in the middle. 

Be that as it may, the issue with joy isn’t only that it’s short-lived. It’s additionally that the objectives and wants whereupon it rests are on a very basic level self-situated. They’re tied in with accomplishing triumphs, picking up advantages or looking for delights for yourself. By a similar token, they’re somewhat little when it’s all said and done. 


For instance, reconsider finding an advancement. At that point contrast this individual triumph and the ethical triumph of giving an imperative guide to a huge number of needy individuals in India, as Mother Teresa did. The previous accomplishment appears to be really negligible when contrasted with the last mentioned, isn’t that right? 

There’s a littleness to a real existence lived in support of oneself, while there’s a grandness to one lived in support of others. That is the thing that the subsequent mountain is about, and that is the place we’re going straightaway. 


Rather than narcissistic achievement and satisfaction, the real existence of administration prompts self-greatness and happiness.


Abandoning the quest for the bliss so you can commit your life to the administration of others is a truly honorable suggestion. But on the other hand, it’s a truly unappealing one for the vast majority of us. Of course, bliss is brief, yet it feels great while it endures. The actual existence of administration, conversely, sounds like a troublesome undertaking. 

Before you start ascending the subsequent mountain, it would, along these lines, be sensible to ask: What’s in it for me? Are there any advantages, other than good pats on the back? 

All things considered, above all else, you’re not being approached to abandon joy out and out. You can even now appreciate the characteristic fulfillment that accompanies achieving your objectives and satisfying your wants. The fact of the matter isn’t to keep away from joy, it’s simply to quit making it the most important thing in the world of your reality. 


Be that as it may, it shows signs of improvement. To the constrained degree that you’re abandoning bliss, you’re additionally supplanting it with something unquestionably all the more satisfying: delight. What’s the distinction between the two? Indeed, bliss is a more profound, more perpetual enthusiastic state than satisfaction. 

Also, in contrast to bliss, it’s not about smugness or self-glorification. Despite what might be expected, it’s about self-greatness. That implies overlooking yourself, concentrating on others, discovering have a great time, giving your time and vitality to them, and improving their lives during the time spent doing as such. This will intensify your joy significantly further since you’ll feel inspired by observing other individuals to get elevated. 



Here’s a single direction to picture the happiness that outcomes from this self-greatness. Envision that adoration resembles a fluid, and you have an endless supply of it somewhere within you. Presently envision that you could open up your conduits and let that affection stream out of you into other individuals’ lives. 

The Dalai Lama gives a striking picture of what bliss resembles. The creator was once at supper with him, and the most striking part of the man wasn’t the shrewdness of his words, yet his chuckling. 


Intermittently, he’d simply begin giggling for no clear reason; he was essentially so loaded with delight that he couldn’t contain it. Also, his chuckling was infectious. The creator really wanted to giggle alongside him, despite the fact that there didn’t appear to be anything to chuckle about! 

That is the kind of delight that anticipates you with a real existence of administration. We’ll see how to accomplish it in the following part 


Carrying on with a real existence of administration requires diligent work, and an affection for mankind alone isn’t sufficient to pull you through.


The real existence of enduring satisfaction is a real existence of administration – and the real existence of administration is a real existence of flooding love. In any case, if that sounds like everybody should simply hold hands, assemble around an open-air fire and sing “Kumbaya,” well, set that picture aside since that is not what a real existence of adoring administration is about. 

There’s some genuine work to be done in ascending the subsequent mountain. From destitution and vagrancy to illicit drug use and ceaseless dejection, there are bunch issues to be unraveled in our general surroundings. 

What’s more, regardless of whether it’s looking after profound, solid and adoring associations with our companions, family or sentimental accomplices, there are numerous extra issues to be comprehended in our own lives too, for example, working through correspondence issues and finding the ideal opportunity for others in the present feverish world. 

On the off chance that you have confidence in a monotheistic religion, you’ve additionally got another issue on your plate: carrying on with a real existence of administration to other people while all the while carrying on with a real existence of administration to God and your religious network. No weight, at that point! 

Point being, on the off chance that you need to really commit yourself to the administration of others, you must give yourself to handling some enormous issues. That implies submitting yourself to troublesome work and presenting yourself to other individuals’ anguish. Imagine yourself serving nourishment at a destitute sanctuary. 



Truly, it’s satisfying, but on the other hand, it’s requesting, both as far as the work itself and the enthusiastic effect of seeing such a significant number of individuals encountering hardship. 

How would you keep yourself scaling the second mountain when difficult situations arise? All things considered, it is pleasant to feel that you could simply give yourself a lift by taking advantage of your ceaseless supply of adoration for mankind. 

Lamentably, it would likewise be somewhat innocent. “All You Need Is Love” may be an extraordinary melody by the Beatles, in any case, too bad, it’s not by any stretch of the imagination a reality that reflects human instinct. As an individual who has felt it knows, love is a flighty inclination; it travels every which way. 


On the off chance that you attempt to depend on adoration alone to push you through the troubles of carrying on with a real existence of administration to other people, you’ll end up wavering. 

So if all you need isn’t simply adore, what else do you need? You’ll discover the appropriate response in the following part. 


The real existence of administration requires duty, as can be found with regards to marriage.


Love is an incredible and essential spot to begin in the event that you need to ascend the subsequent mountain and carry on with a cheerful existence of administration to other people. In any case, it’s simply that: a spot to begin. Independent from anyone else, love prompts fleeting demonstrations of graciousness and liberality. 

To transform it into something that is longer-enduring and progressively significant subsequently, you have to manufacture a structure of conduct around it. 

That implies making a promise to the administration of other individuals by receiving a lot of ceremonies, conventions, and understandings, which are intended to guarantee that you keep on treating individuals in a cherishing way notwithstanding when your sentiments of adoration flash and blur. The clearest case of this is the dedication you make when you enter a marriage. 

It starts with a promise of commitment. In a customary Christian service, you openly announce your faithfulness to your accomplice at the special stepped area. By making and after that doing this promise, you’re likewise deterring yourself to different alternatives. By saying “I pick you” to your accomplice, no doubt about it “I don’t pick you” to the billions of other potential accomplices living out there on the planet. 



Obviously, taking a pledge and stopping yourself don’t without anyone else make for a glad marriage. That requires significant speculation of time and vitality into your association with your accomplice. 

This implies having private discussions with your accomplice, becoming more acquainted with them on a more profound dimension, communicating gratefulness for them, pardoning them for their defects, doing kind things for them, discovering time for them, going on dates with them, etc. 


All the more, by and large, it means putting the requirements of your relationship over your own needs. For instance, it may propel your vocation in the event that you complete that proposition tonight. In any case, on the off chance that that implies dropping your night out on the town, at that point possibly you have to take one for the group and defer the work until tomorrow. 

Talking about work, that is another region wherein you can make responsibilities and carry on with an actual existence of administration. In the following section, we’ll investigate how to do that. 


Seeking after a job is another approach to carry on with a real existence of administration, and it requires duty too.


You don’t simply have a vocation when you carry on with a real existence of administration, which is work you do fundamentally for cash or status. Rather, you have employment – work you do fundamentally out of energy. 

Finding a livelihood pursues a comparable example to getting hitched. To begin with, you go gaga for action, a field or a reason. It could be composing, science or battle fund change. Spurred by this affection, you need to turn into an essayist, a researcher or a political dissident. 

At that point you take a “promise” to seek after your job: you announce your major at a college, or you focus on a specific master’s level college or professional preparing program. 

Thusly, you close yourself off from the various choices accessible to you. In the event that you choose to dedicate yourself to crusade fund change, that implies not committing yourself to different causes, similar to environmentalism. Obviously, that doesn’t mean you can’t reuse or purchase reasonable items. It just methods you won’t be as dedicated to the reason as a full-time ecological lobbyist. 

Furthermore, that is fine. Truth be told, it’s pivotal, on the grounds that the main way you can have a major effect in one field is by not having a major effect in different fields. On the off chance that you isolate your time and vitality into modest bundles and send them to better places, you’ll end up scarcely having an effect anyplace. You’ll be a handyman and ace of none, and the absence of an engraving that you leave on the world will mirror this. 



To truly devote yourself to your business, you’ll additionally need to move up your sleeves and put your field’s needs over your own. That implies taking a gander at your region of study or work and soliciting yourself: How would I be able to be of most administration, given my abilities, interests, and foundation? You should then devote yourself to the appropriate response. 

For instance, the writer George Orwell was a staunch communist, however, he detected that his employment as an essayist expected him to focus on the estimations of genuineness and journalistic trustworthiness over those of his political tendencies. 


So when he expounded on his encounters of battling in the Spanish Civil War, which was pursued during the 1930s between a gathering of fundamentalists and an alliance of left-wing and rebel powers, he attempted to be as a target about the last as would be prudent – notwithstanding when that implied depicting their shortcomings and failings. 


Rehearsing religion is one more approach to carry on with a real existence of administration.


Religion is the most significant area for some individuals where they feel called to a real existence of duty and administration. Concentrating on Judaism and Christianity that formed his childhood, the creator fights that religion gives its disciples various advantages with regards to living such a real existence. 

One of them is custom. Keep in mind, duty is tied in with taking your affection for a person or thing and after that building a structure of conduct around it: a lot of conventions and practices which guarantee that you follow up on your adoration in a predictable way, regardless of whether your adoration glints. What’s more, that is accurately what religious customs are about. 

In Judaism, for instance, there are 613 charges, the greater part of which manage the handy subtleties of completing customs, for example, lighting candles and observing Shabbat, the week after weekday of rest. 

On an everyday dimension, rehearsing Judaism to a great extent comprises of following these ceremonial edicts, regularly with relatives at home or with different individuals from the network at a synagogue. This unites Jewish individuals once a day and helps them to remember their associations with one another, to God and to the mutual convictions that join them. 

Religion additionally furnishes its followers with clear pictures of living a decent life – not simply through scriptural accounts of figures like Moses and Jesus, yet additionally through everyday encounters as a major aspect of a religious network. 



For the creator, that implied growing up encompassed by both the benevolent Jewish people group of the synagogue to which his family had a place, and the sympathetically Christian people group at the Episcopalian day camp to which his folks sent him. 

In the case of social affair around the supper table to observe Shabbat or lounging around the pit fire to sing “Puff the Magic Dragon,” the creator encountered a blissful type of collective life in the two settings – one that was loaded up with adoration and dependent on a mutual faith in God. 


Presently, on the off chance that you feel lukewarm, unsympathetic or out and out unfriendly toward religion, you may think, “Pause, these advantages of religion appear to spin around being a piece of a network, as opposed to having confidence in a specific doctrine. Wouldn’t I be able to simply skirt the religious piece and go directly to the network stuff?” 

The short answer is yes. The long answer is the subject of the following and last part. 


Mainstream people group building gives a non-religious elective way to carry on with a real existence of administration.


We started this synopsis by taking a gander at how networks are self-destructing in the contemporary United States. This last section is about how they can be assembled back – and how you can carry on with a happy existence of administration by being a piece of that reconstructing procedure, regardless of whether it’s in the US or in different nations confronting comparable issues. 

On the off chance that you’re keen on assuming such a job, at that point you’re in karma: your general public needs you. The keys to modifying our disintegrating networks lie in the hands of the general population who have invested in a network focused existence of administration. The creator calls these individuals weavers, in reference to the possibility that they weave the individuals from broken or not-yet-existing networks together. 

For instance, Asiaha Butler experienced childhood in Englewood, an unpleasant neighborhood in Chicago. Seeing the destitution and viciousness that tormented her locale, Asiaha needed to do humanitarian effort to help improve things, however, she found the current associations lacking. 

So she inevitably made her own association: Resident Association of Greater Englewood, or RAGE. Uniting everybody from visual planners and business officials to individuals who basically prefer to prepare treats, the association currently has an assortment of network building occasions, for example, work fairs and “money bombs,” in which occupants get together to shop at privately possessed stores as a once huge mob. 

Notice the dimension of society that Asiaha was dealing with. She didn’t point excessively high and endeavor to change the whole United States or the city of Chicago overall. In any case, nor did she point excessively low and just attempt to improve the lives of a couple of people. 



Rather, she went for the sweet spot between these two boundaries and concentrated on her neighborhood. At this dimension, you can have a noteworthy effect on some of the individuals’ lives without taking on more than you can realistically handle. You can, thusly, think about the area as the unit of progress through which social change happens. 


When you begin seeing your neighborhood along these lines and start searching for chances to unite it as a network, a wide range of potential undertakings and causes may begin shouting to you: road fairs, narrating discussions, after-school expressions programs, libraries, neighborhood-controlled open administrations – the rundown goes on. 

There’s no lack of thoughts. All that is missing is individuals like you to make them substances!


The Second Mountain by David Brooks Book Review


Independence causes a scope of societal and individual issues by undermining our social associations, which numerous individuals attempt to overwhelm by seeking after material achievement and bliss. 

Be that as it may, this interest eventually turns into a dead end. The genuine street to satisfaction prompts a real existence of administration to other individuals, which can be polished through our employment, relational unions, religions as well as the assignments of network building. 


Search for potential outcomes rather than issues. 

On the off chance that you need to get associated with your locale, you may be enticed to begin by attempting to distinguish every one of the issues that plague it. Be that as it may, a progressively profitable methodology is to take a gander at the benefits your locale as of now has and ask how you can expand on these. 

What kind of gifts do your neighbors have and how might you tap into them? Also, what assets are as of now accessible yet are being underused? Suppose you need to empower increasingly mutual social occasions among the inhabitants of your neighborhood. All things considered, maybe one of them is a visual creator who could make some appealing publications to work up enthusiasm for an area meeting. 

What’s more, perhaps your neighborhood library has space wherein you could have the occasion!


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Savaş Ateş

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