Random House, 320 pages | Published October 24, 2023
Reporter David Brooks is used to asking the right questions to get the facts, but in How to Know a Person he shows how to ask questions that instead create “mutual expedition(s) toward understanding.” The result is a deeply engaging book that reads like a guide to pastoral care, yet is equally applicable to professionals and caregivers, helping all of us bring more curiosity and compassion to our conversations.
As a frequent contributor to The Atlantic, Brooks often talks politics, but rest assured, there’s nothing political here. Readers who love (or hate) Brooks will appreciate his willingness to be vulnerable as he traces his journey from reserved observer to engaged listener who seeks to illuminate others, “seeing other people in all their fullness.” Mutuality is essential to his process. As he describes a moment of “beholding” his wife, he writes, “I don’t have to tell you how delicious that moment felt — warm, intimate, profound. It was the bliss of human connection.” Revelations like this make us both eager to read more about Brooks’ process and ready to apply his methods in our own relationships.
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