Thursday, August 2, 2018

My Reading Thoughts, Summaries and Connections: The Social Animal by David Brooks - Introduction

I heard about this book while listening in on Dr. Stuart Shanker's talk on Resilience at the 2018 Self-Reg Summer Symposium. As it is quite challening for me to this symposium, I was thankful that VoiceEd Radio broadcast several of the speaker presentations as part of their Voices of Self-Reg series.

This talk was fascinating as it wrapped the Self-Reg lens around the concept of "resilience". I have found along this Self-Reg learning joruney that I circle back often and, in those times, concepts get reworked. The key message that I took out of this particular lecture was that our aim is the "blue-brain" (pre-frontal cortex, rational brain) and the "red-brain" (limbic system, social-emotinal brain) to be in balance. Much of my focus to this point had been on those times when the red-brain had taken over to a negative point of fight, flight or freeze. I was fascinated to hear that the blue-brain functioning alone would also result in a negative personality profile (i.e. narcisism).

The whole lecture left me wanting more and, as I so often do after hearing Dr. Stuart Shanker speak, I went back to the list of books he mentioned while he lectured to consider if any of those books could wet my thirst for more. The Social Animal by David Brooks is one of the books he mentioned during this talk and when I read the summary of it on Amazon I felt confident that reading it would allow me to digger deeper into what I had begun to think about while listening to this talk.

I am finding each chapter of the book full of things to think about. The book is frame by telling the story of two individuals from birth (actually before birth) through their entire lives. As the story unfolds the author adds in relevant information. The challenge for me is the same as everytime I read a book... how to pick out and summarize the relevant pieces right now. To do this, I am going to experiment with a version of "sketch-noting". I tried at first to do it with pencil and paper but found myself getting too caught up in trying to cretae a perfect drawing (which I am along ways away from). I will continue to play with that approach but for not I wanted to explore just summarizing with a combinations of visuals and words using technology. My summary of the introduction is below. Clicking on each graphic should make it larger and easier to see.

I found myself nodding my head a lot while I read this introduction as it reinforces so much of what I've been learning since first starting to dig into a deeper understanding of the brain. It really speaks ot how unique each of brains are and how they are shaped by things that we often completely unaware of. I was also fascinated by the idea of gaining a deeper understanding of what is required for "human flourishing". I'm looking forward to continuing to read, explore and share related to this book. 

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