Open in the App Open in the App Open in the App
Get the key ideas from

The Social Animal

The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement

By David Brooks
18-minute read
Audio available
The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement by David Brooks

The Social Animal (2011) reviews a trove of scientific evidence explaining what actually determines human behavior. Our iceberg-like unconscious mind helps us navigate the world with split-second judgment, while certain inborn traits drive us to be successful in life. You’re both a lot – and a lot less – smarter than you think!

  • Students of human behavior who want to know what makes us tick
  • Skeptics curious about whether people really are rational beings
  • Anyone who’s interested in understanding what determines our success in life

David Brooks is an American journalist and political commentator best known as a New York Times op-ed columnist. He has also contributed to the New Yorker, Forbes, The Times Literary Supplement and many other esteemed publications.

Go Premium and get the best of Blinkist

Upgrade to Premium now and get unlimited access to the Blinkist library. Read or listen to key insights from the world’s best nonfiction.

Upgrade to Premium

What is Blinkist?

The Blinkist app gives you the key ideas from a bestselling nonfiction book in just 15 minutes. Available in bitesize text and audio, the app makes it easier than ever to find time to read.

Discover
3,000+ top
nonfiction titles

Get unlimited access to the most important ideas in business, investing, marketing, psychology, politics, and more. Stay ahead of the curve with recommended reading lists curated by experts.

Join Blinkist to get the key ideas from
Get the key ideas from
Get the key ideas from

The Social Animal

The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement

By David Brooks
  • Read in 18 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 11 key ideas
Upgrade to Premium Read or listen now
The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement by David Brooks
Synopsis

The Social Animal (2011) reviews a trove of scientific evidence explaining what actually determines human behavior. Our iceberg-like unconscious mind helps us navigate the world with split-second judgment, while certain inborn traits drive us to be successful in life. You’re both a lot – and a lot less – smarter than you think!

Key idea 1 of 11

We subconsciously choose mates who resemble us and conform to certain physical criteria.

Ask any 15-year-old boy and he’ll give you a laundry list of traits his dream girl would possess. But chances are, that kid will grow up and fall in love with someone who doesn’t perfectly meet his criteria. So, what actually enamours our teen? And why do any of us fall in love?

It turns out we’re subconsciously attracted to people who resemble us and have similar facial features. For instance, if our noses have a similar breadth and there’s a comparable amount of distance between our eyes.

Furthermore, we’re drawn to people who share our educational, economic and ethnic background. Consider the fact that a 1950s study found that more than half of the couples who applied for marriage in Columbus, Ohio lived no more than 16 blocks apart when they started to date. And what’s more, 37 percent of the couples lived within five blocks of each other!

So, generally speaking, we’re more likely to fall in love with people who share our attitudes, expectations and interests. However, we also gravitate toward people who have certain generic physical features.

For instance, it won’t surprise you that on average, heterosexual women prefer tall men with symmetrical facial features who are slightly older and stronger than the women themselves. But did you know that researchers have also established that women are more sexually attracted to men with large pupils?

And what do heterosexual men prefer in women? According to a massive study conducted across the globe, men unequivocally prefer women with a hip-to-waist ratio of roughly 0.7.

Although hip-to-waist ratio is overwhelmingly the most important factor, men also prefer full lips, clear skin and lustrous hair.

Upgrade to continue Read or listen now

Key ideas in this title

Upgrade to continue Read or listen now

No time to
read?

Pssst. Sign up to your secret to success: key ideas from top nonfiction in just 15 minutes.
Created with Sketch.