March 17 — Brooks

It is rare to find genuine intelligence and masterful communication in the same man. At a lunch session at the American Enterprise Institute, it strikes me that Arthur Brooks is such a man. He came of age as a bohemian French hornist, then launched his professional career toward academia by starting his higher education at an online-only college. Neither of these facts make sense of the man I’m watching speak right now. He delivers point after point seamlessly, voice clear like the horns he used to play, gaze moving comfortably around the room like a public speaking coach. He looks me right in the eyes a few times. His attire befits that of a creative professional, paisley tie and well-cut suit. His rimless glasses add a touch of lawyer or politician. In his talk he quotes research by an academic who moonlights in a metal band, recalls parables from Buddhist monks, and recommends reading the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius.

I just finished his latest book. I’m well on my way to becoming an acolyte.

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