Justice Education

Good Read
April 2024

How to Know a Person by David Brooks

David Brooks is on a mission. Growing up, he was solitary and emotionally reserved. His family, though they had a deep love for one another, rarely expressed it, leading Brooks to retreat into his own private world of books and ideas. This focus helped him get into the University of Chicago, but it also kept him from connecting with others on a deeper level.

He has now set out, not only to change how he relates to others, but to help his readers know and be known. In How to Know a Person: The Art of Seeing Others Deeply and Being Deeply Seen (Random House, 2023), David Brooks provides a blueprint for that journey, walking them through his personal transformation and providing practical advice for how to walk the same path. Considering everything from how to break the ice with strangers to what social energy to bring to a room to how to comfort those in despair, Brooks helps readers transform their daily interactions in a way that develops and enhances their connections with others. “There is one skill,” he writes, “that lies at the heart of any healthy person, family, school, community organization, or society: the ability to see some­one else deeply and make them feel seen—to accurately know an­other person, to let them feel valued, heard, and understood. That is at the heart of being a good person, the ultimate gift you can give to others and to yourself.”