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Podcast #292: The Road to Character | The Art of Manliness

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We often lament the loss of good character in our society. There’s a sense that our leaders and even members of our community can’t be trusted to do the right thing and are only out for themselves, the collective good be damned. Why does this sense of moral anomie exist? And what can we do about it?

My guest today has written a book exploring these questions. His name is David Brooks. He’s a columnist at The New York Times and in his latest book, The Road to Character, he takes a look at what exactly we mean when we talk about character and why it seems like there’s a lack of it today. David and I begin our discussion with the “crooked timber” view of humanity that people had in previous generations and how it shaped moral development. He then takes us through the cultural changes that got rid of this perspective of human nature and how that led to a loss of a moral vocabulary that makes it hard for people today to even talk about character.

We then take a look at the lives of several eminent individuals from history and what they can teach us about character formation. From General Eisenhower’s battle to harness his uncontrollable anger, to George Marshall’s inner fight for discipline and the ability to put big picture goals ahead of personal ambition.

We end our conversation talking about the mindsets and actions we can take to live a life of character.

This is an important, interesting, and edifying episode I hope you’ll tune in for.

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