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David Brooks to speak at Montana State

BOZEMAN – David Brooks, bestselling author, op-ed columnist at The New York Times, and recurring commentator on “PBS NewsHour,” will speak at Montana State University at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 18, in the Strand Union Building ballrooms.

Tickets are required for the free, public event and are available from the Bobcat Ticket Office, located in the Brick Breeden Fieldhouse. A $2 convenience fee will be charged for orders placed online at or by phone at 406-994-2287. Tickets will be available starting on April 4 at 10 a.m.

“We are excited to welcome Mr. Brooks to Montana State,” said MSU President Waded Cruzado. “His thoughtful observations on American life will provide an engaging experience for our students, faculty, staff and the Bozeman community.”

While in Bozeman, Brooks will meet with community leaders, students and local book clubs about his latest book, “How to Know a Person: The Art of Seeing Others Deeply and Being Deeply Seen,” in which he contends that at the center of any healthy and thriving business, organization, community or nation is the crucial skill of being able to see and value other people. Written for a broad audience, “How to Know a Person” aims to provide tools for Americans to move beyond division and polarization and connect with others on a human level.

“In my opinion, ‘How to Know a Person’ is a profound text and what we need to hear as a nation at the present time,” said Ilse-Mari Lee, dean of MSU’s Honors College. “I know that Mr. Brooks will inspire our students forward by encouraging them to find connections, and not divisions, to others.”

Prior to his evening talk, Brooks will conduct a seminar for MSU Honors students and talk with student and community leaders and high school students. A book-signing in the SUB ballrooms will follow his evening speech.

“How to Know a Person” is Brooks’ sixth book. In 2019, he published “The Second Mountain: The Quest for a Moral Life,” in which he makes the case that a life of meaning and purpose is built on four major commitments – to a spouse and family, to a vocation, to a community, and to a philosophy or faith – and that embracing those along with interdependence can repair societal damage done by hyper-individuality.

Brooks’ 2016 book, “The Road to Character,” discusses the necessity of cultivating deep inner lives, rather than focusing solely on success and external achievement, to better understand politics and culture and live more meaningfully.

His earlier books include “Bobos in Paradise,” a reflection on the generation of elites at the intersection of bourgeois capitalism and bohemian counterculture, and “On Paradise Drive,” which explores the American “future-mindedness” that drives individuals’ work ethic and inability to relax.

Brooks is the founder and chairman of Weave: The Social Fabric Project at the Aspen Institute, a program that explores how connections with others weave a rich social fabric and how to shift American culture from one that values individual success to one that finds value in relationships and community success.

Beyond The New York Times, Brooks has also been featured on NPR’s “All Things Considered” and NBC’s “Meet the Press,” as well as in The New Yorker, The Washington Post and Forbes, among others. Prior to joining the Times in 2003, he held positions at The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, Newsweek and The Weekly Standard. He has been awarded more than 30 honorary degrees from American colleges and universities and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Brooks’ visit to campus is sponsored by Dennis and Anne Colston Wentz, Friends of Montana PBS and members of the Honors College Advisory Council.


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