David Brooks quotes:

  • The daily activity that contributes most to happiness is having dinner with friends. The daily activity that detracts most from happiness is commuting. Eat more. Commute less.

  • Highly educated young people are tutored, taught and monitored in all aspects of their lives, except the most important, which is character building. When it comes to this, most universities leave them alone.

  • People used to complain that selling a president was like selling a bar of soap. But when you buy soap, at least you get the soap. In this campaign you just get two guys telling you they really value cleanliness.

  • ... trash talk ... Washington floats on a river of aspersion.

  • Some children lack tools to see their course in the world in far-sighted ways. Just introducing school vouchers won't change that. You have to have nurse-home partnerships, early childhood education, mentoring programs and so on. People learn from people they love.

  • I am not a Jew for Jesus but I am definitely a Jew for Christmas. Christmas is one of the best things you Christians have given us, along with mac and cheese, Bono, croquet and politeness.

  • My SUV, assuming Hummer comes out with a model for those who find the current ones too cramped, will look something like the Louisiana Superdome on wheels. It'll guzzle so much gas as I walk out to my driveway there will be squads of Saudi princes gaping and applauding. It'll come, when I buy it, with little Hondas and Mazdas already embedded in the front grillwork.

  • We pretend to be a middle class, democratic nation, but in reality we love our blue bloods. ... We love the prep school manners, the aristocratic calm, the Skull and Bones mystery, the dappled lawns stretching before New England summer homes. How else can you explain the Bush vs. Kerry match-up that confronts us this year

  • This death cult has no reason and is beyond negotiation. This is what makes it so frightening. This is what causes so many to engage in a sort of mental diversion. They don't want to confront this horror. So they rush off in search of more comprehensible things to hate.

  • I think there are two basic approaches you can use for campaign finance. One is complete openness, everybody knows absolutely everything, but no limits. But you let people decide.The other is just have a national public system.

  • The school asks a person who has achieved a certain level of career success to give you a speech telling you that career success is not important.

  • When you cover politics, you realize that knowing how to talk about character matters more and more. The way we hold ideas is more important than the ideas.

  • Dan P. McAdams argues that children develop a narrative tone which influences their stories for the rest of their lives. Children gradually adopt an enduring assumption that everything will turn out well, or badly, depending on their childhood.

  • If I had to fault President [Barack] Obama, I would say that sometimes governs like a visitor from a morally superior civilization.

  • Most poor people in America are white. The family breakdown issue is an issue that crosses all sorts of racial lines. High school dropout issues. But because of the flow of events which involve the racial component, we've sometimes confused racial issues with other issues which are trans-racial.

  • America is not just a democracy, it represents a certain culture of competitive mobility and personality aspirations, politics is not merely a clash of interests, but a clash of dreams.

  • There are no free and democratic and wealthy countries in the world that have US rate of gun violence. We have to worry about loners and alienated people. We have to do better on mental health.

  • The roots of great innovation are never just in the technology itself. They are always in the wider historical context. They require new ways of seeing. As Einstein put it, 'The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.'

  • The point of being a teacher is to do more than impart facts, it's to shape the way students perceive the world, to help a student absorb the rules of a discipline. The teachers who do that get remembered.

  • I'm a pundit. I'm, like, paid to be a narcissistic blowhard and be in front of the camera.

  • It's just a lot safer to be an incumbent. So I think they have used the campaign finance reforms. They have passed laws that will help themselves stay in office. And I think that's one of the flaws that we do have in the system.

  • People used to complain that selling a president was like selling a bar of soap. But when you buy soap, at least you get the soap. In this campaign, you just get two guys telling you they really value cleanliness.

  • What family you were born into matters so much more than it did before in a perverse way.

  • Most poverty and suffering - whether in a country, a family or a person - flows from disorganization. A stable social order is an artificial accomplishment, the result of an accumulation of habits, hectoring, moral stricture and physical coercion. Once order is dissolved, it takes hard measures to restore it

  • I've observed a few things about the few really great people I've had a chance to meet and cover...They need to be around people. You and I require sleep. They require people.

  • This is how life works. Deciding whom to love is not an alien form of decision-making , a romantic interlude in the midst of normal life. Instead, decisions about whom to love are more intense versions of the sorts of decisions we make throughout the course of our existence, from what kind of gelato to order to what career to pursue. Living is an inherently emotional business.

  • Our emotions tell us what to value. They're like a little GPS system: Go that way. Don't go that way.

  • In the evenings she got on her knees and inflicted her piety on her sister:

  • Bobos are uncomfortable with universal moral laws that purport to regulate pleasure. Bobos prefer more prosaic self-controlled regimes. The things that are forbidden are unhealthy or unsafe. The things that are encouraged are enriching or calorie burning. In other words, we regulate our carnal desires with health codes instead of moral codes.

  • To explain the unknown by the known is a logical procedure; to explain the known by the unknown is a form of theological lunacy."

  • If you do have to look at polls, you should do it no more than once every few days, to get a general sense of the state of the race. I've seen the work on information overload, which makes people depressed, stressed and freezes their brains. I know that checking the polls constantly is a recipe for self-deception and anxiety.

  • I think Americans expect optimism in their leadership. The most popular and effective leaders, whether it was Bill Clinton or Ronald Reagan or Jack Kennedy, brought to it a sense of optimism and possibility.

  • I'm thankful that we live in a crassly commercial, polarized culture, so media jackals like me have a lot of work to do.

  • Sometimes, you go - you achieve a few things in life. I have achieved more career success than I ever experienced or that I ever thought. And I just realized, it doesn't make you happy. It's an elemental truth. It's so true.

  • I'm not a kicker and a screamer.

  • If done correctly, these techniques can allow the Bobo pilgrim to have 6 unforgettable moments a morning, 2 rapturous experiences over lunch, 1,5 profound insights in the afternoon (on average), and .667 life-altering epiphanies after each sunset.

  • One of the things capitalism does is, it does enhance and exacerbate the sin of pride, making yourself, the material world the center of your universe, instead of God's will.

  • It is especially painful when narcissists suffer memory loss because they are losing parts of the person they love most.

  • Memo to young journalists: Democratic victories are always ascribed to hope; Republican ones to rage.

  • To explain the unknown by the known is a logical procedure; to explain the known by the unknown is a form of theological lunacy.

  • People generally don't suffer high rates of PTSD after natural disasters. Instead, people suffer from PTSD after moral atrocities. Soldiers who've endured the depraved world of combat experience their own symptoms. Trauma is an expulsive cataclysm of the soul.

  • The imagination simplifies our endless desires and causes us to fantasize that they can be fulfilled.

  • Self-actualization is what educated existence is all about. For members of the educated class, life is one long graduate school. When they die, God meets them at the gates of heaven, totes up how many fields of self-expression they have mastered, and then hands them a divine diploma and lets them in.

  • Almost every successful person begins with two beliefs: the future can be better than the present, and I have the power to make it so.

  • To nurture your career, it makes sense to cultivate your strengths. To nurture your moral core, it is necessary to confront your weaknesses.

  • I make honorable things pleasant to children." A teacher from Sparta

  • Angela Duckworth has shown how important grit and perseverance are to lifetime outcomes. College students who report that they finish whatever they begin have higher grades than their peers, even ones with higher SATs.

  • College is about exposing students to many things and creating an aphrodisiac atmosphere so that they might fall in lifelong love with a few.

  • He read vividly.

  • Humanities are the instructors of enchantment.

  • Online life is so delicious because it is socializing with almost no friction.

  • Those born in the poorest quarter of American society have an 8% chance of earning a college degree. Those born in the wealthiest quarter of American society have a 75% chance of earning a college degree.

  • Students are taught how to do things, but many are not forced to reflect on why they should do them or what we are here for.

  • Women, in general, are less visually aroused than men, a trait that has nearly cut the market for pornography in half.

  • A person who is interrupted while performing a task takes 50% more time to complete it and make 50% more errors.

  • If you're a soldier or marine in an Arab country, Islam is the solution. And you need to show respect.

  • Research by Donald A. Redelmeier and Sheldon M. Singh has found that, on average, Oscar winners live nearly four years longer than nominees that don't win.

  • It's almost inherent, but I'm a massive [Stanley] Kubrick fan. I'm a big admirer of what guys like Christopher Nolan have been able to do. For me, to be able to try to make big films that reach a lot of people, and that hopefully have something to say, is a lofty goal, but that's my goal.

  • How can we expect young people to be rooted in things such as character, morality and honesty? How is one supposed to be at once an arrow soaring skyward and an oak planted firmly in the ground? The meritocratic culture hones strivers on every aspect of their lives save one - how to cultivate character.

  • There are plenty of team players in government who do whatever the leader says. There are too few difficult members, who have complicated minds, unusual perspectives, the toughness to withstand the party-line barrages and a practical interest in producing results.

  • The key factor separating geniuses from the merely accomplished is not a divine spark. It's not I.Q., a generally bad predictor of success, even in realms like chess. Instead, it's deliberate practice. Top performers spend more hours (many more hours) rigorously practicing their craft.

  • America has an important role to play as the world leader in creating a global order, free trade, free waterways, free commerce, free movement of people. That happens because of U.S. military might.

  • The message of the summoned life is that you don't need to panic if you don't yet know what you want to do with your life. But you probably want to throw yourselves into circumstances where the summons will come.

  • Friendship allows you to see your own life but with a second sympathetic self.

  • The teachers union may not like Betsy DeVos, but she's clearly within the range of Republican policy-makers.

  • Much of life is about failure, whether we acknowledge it or not, and your destiny is profoundly shaped by how effectively you learn from and adapt to failure.

  • The brain is not the mind. It is probably impossible to look at a map of brain activity and predict or even understand the emotions, reactions, hopes and desires of the mind.

  • If there is a series of attacks like that or, God forbid, if ISIS is really sending soldiers across Europe and maybe across the world for a barrage of these things, then the political climate is revolutionized here. And maybe the [Donald] Trump speech will look like a precursor to a climate that we're all about to walk into.

  • I'm not sure [Donald] Trump has had that distinction between private and public life in his head. And so, I think there's likely to be an erosion of just that standard, that different standard, consciousness, and I think it's likely we'll see what we haven't seen in the last eight years and even the last 12 or 16 of private enrichment in office and scandals where people have to resign and things like that, because just once the standards go, behavior tends to go.

  • Your DVD collection is organized, and so is your walk-in closet. Your car is clean and vacuumed, your frequently dialed numbers are programmed into your cordless phone, your telephone plan is suited to your needs, and your various gizmos interact without conflict. Your spouse is athletic, your kids are bright, your job is rewarding, your promotions are inevitable, everywhere you need to be comes with its own accessible parking. You look great in casual slacks.

  • I happen to think most people go into government do it for the right reasons and they really do things as they see them on the merits of the issues.

  • One of the things this world is finding is that emotion is the basis of reason. We really have to trust our emotions, which are much smarter than our reason in some ways.

  • Even in this nuclear thing, [ Donald Trump] says we should be stronger and expand. What does that mean? So, what is concrete in what he's saying?

  • Students are too busy jumping through the next hurdle in the résumé race to figure out what they really want. They are too frantic tasting everything on the smorgasbord to have life-altering encounters. They have a terror of closing off options. They have been inculcated with a lust for prestige and a fear of doing things that may put their status at risk.

  • Two terrible behaviors don't make a good behavior.

  • Palin is smart, politically skilled, courageous and likable. Her convention and debate performances were impressive.

  • Empathy makes you more aware of other people's suffering, but it's not clear it actually motivates you to take moral action or prevents you from taking immoral action.

  • In my view, success is earned externally by being better than other people. But character, that sort of unfakeable goodness, is earned by being better than you used to be. And it's about self-confrontation.

  • The prevailing view is that geniuses are largely built, not born.

  • We are primarily the products of thinking that happens below the level of awareness.

  • Betsy DeVos is not the most informed person on education policy, but I have seen her present a few times, and she presents as a pretty respectable, intelligent person who has cared passionately about education and cares about charter schools.

  • I think as we interpret him and frankly as the world learns to interpret Donald Trump, are these just words that are enigmatic things floating on air or are they actually shifts in policy and will they change moment by moment, day by day without any underlying connection to the actual stuff of governance? I don't know.

  • Learning was a by-product of her search for pleasure

  • As for multimillionaires [in Donald Trump's Administration], a lot of us hope to be a multimillionaire some day. Again, spotty records, but it seems to be not without the range.

  • I could tell you that when you have trouble making up your mind about something, tell yourself you'll settle it by flipping a coin. But don't go by how the coin flips; go by your emotional reaction to the coin flip. Are you happy or sad it came up heads or tails?

  • I don't blame the Democrats for fighting. They have got a very energized base. And there is a lot to complain about a lot of these nominees. But I think, if you are actually going to turn someone down from a president's [Donald Trump] own Cabinet, it better be a lot more egregious than the cases we have seen.

  • Britain is blessed with a functioning political culture. It is dominated by people who live in London and who have often known each other since prep school. This makes it gossipy and often incestuous.

  • On the [Andrew] Puzder point, I do agree there has been a double standard.

  • The rich don't exploit the poor. They just out-compete them.

  • People generally overestimate how distinct their lives are, so the commonalities seemed to them like a series of miracles.

  • On the [Betsy] DeVos case, I agree that the gun - her gun position is kind of weird, kind of crazy, but I do think she does know about public schools.

  • Civility is the natural state for people who know how limited their own individual powers are and know, too, that they need the conversation.

  • The legitimacy of a war is not established by how it is organized but by what it achieves.

  • The reason the Betsy DeVos case was the centerpiece case for the Democrats wasn't about her weakness as a knowledgeable person on education policy.

  • The crossroads where government meets enterprise can be an exciting crossroads. It can also be a corrupt crossroads. It requires moral rectitude to separate public service from private gain.

  • [Betsy DeVos] does care about charter schools, which are public schools. She does care about choice, which is a perfectly legitimate thing to care about. It's because it's the one issue where the Democratic donor base was really energized, which was the teacher unions.

  • We are a democratic, egalitarian people who spend our days desperately trying to climb over each other.

  • Pain now is better than pain deferred.

  • Sometime over the past generation we became less likely to object to something because it is immoral and more likely to object to something because it is unhealthy or unsafe. So smoking is now a worse evil than six of the Ten Commandments, and the word sinful is most commonly associated with chocolate.

  • I have seen [Betsy DeVos] present a few times. I don't really know her. But I have seen her present on education policy, and she's not a stupid person.

  • People want reality that tells them how right they are all the time.

  • Freedom without structure is its own slavery.

  • Live life as a series of revelations

  • Would [Betsy DeVos] be my first pick? No. Is she someone who has dedicated her life to education policy? Yes, actually, she has.

  • The zooming wealth of the top 1 percent is a problem, but it's not nearly as big a problem as the tens of millions of Americans who have dropped out of high school or college. It's not nearly as big a problem as the 40 percent of children who are born out of wedlock. It's not nearly as big a problem as the nation's stagnant human capital, its stagnant social mobility and the disorganized social fabric for the bottom 50 percent.

  • Bragging about what a good deal you got is one of the many great art forms that my people, the Jews, have introduced to American culture.

  • Emotion is the foundation of reason.

  • Courage is the most important virtue because it is the hardest.

  • The more people doubt their own beliefs the more, paradoxically, they are inclined to proselytize in favor of them.

  • Most people don't form a self and then lead a life. They are called by a problem, and the self is constructed gradually by their calling.

  • People ask, quite legitimately, why [Betsy] DeVos and why not a lot of the others? But it's because it has to do with the special interest groups that run a lot of Washington.

  • Big Brother is not the only danger facing the country. Another is the rising tide of distrust, the corrosive spread of cynicism, the fraying of the social fabric and the rise of people who are so individualistic in their outlook that they have no real understanding of how to knit others together and look after the common good.

  • Bill Clinton pandered by telling you what you wanted to hear. John Kerry panders by never telling you what you don't want to hear. This is negative pandering; he talks a lot without really ruling anything out so you can draw your own conclusions.....Kerry has been talking for years, and yet such is the thicket of his verbiage that he has achieved almost complete strategic ambiguity.

  • With a normal president like President [Barack] Obama, he says a word, and that's because there has been some thought that he's done and there had been policy papers and there's been aides and there's been advisers and then there is a connection to an actual set of policies. And so, the words like have roots into actual stuff.