The Second Mountain

By David Brooks

This is an unusual, surprising, compelling book!

I am tempted to turn back to page 1 and start over, because the book merits deeper thought.  (I will resist for now, but at some point I will probably re-read it.)

David Brooks is a prominent writer with the NY Times and a political commentator.  He is Jewish and for a good while agnostic.  But, over a long period of a time that included tough suffering, and through the influence of many people, Brooks has come to a fledgling faith in Jesus.  He considers himself a wandering Jew and a confused Christian.  (He means a Christian with doubts and questions.)  The focus of the book is not his faith journey, but he does include this story.

The book revolves around the need for relationships, rather than living a life of hyper-individualism.

In the first section of the book, he touches, insightfully, on a range of topics germane to a satisfying life:  the nature of joy, a life of serving others, the emptiness of material success, the rise of hyper-individualism in the 1960s, the importance of making commitments, and more.

Then, he turns to examine four topics in depth:  Vocation, Marriage, Philosophy and Faith, Community.  For the three sections on vocation, marriage and community, he has some of the best writing I’ve read on these subjects.  His writing is filled with interesting anecdotes and quotes.

For the section on philosophy and faith, he basically tells his story from the time he was a child growing up Jewish in New York City, up until the present time.  Though he is still on this journey, his story is fascinating.

Overall, this book is worth a reading and a re-reading.  And if you have Jewish friends you might consider giving them a copy of the book.