Arthur Brooks: "How to Live a 'Start-Up' Life" | Talks at Google
Good. Afternoon thank you, for taking time out of your busy days. Inventing, amazing. World-changing, stuff here at Google I'm. Max Pappas, I'm in town from the Washington DC office where I'm on the public. Policy team, there. I manage, Google's. Work with think tanks and policy organizations, like the American Enterprise Institute. AEI, for short which. Is one of the oldest, and most, influential. And well-respected. Think, tanks in the country. So. Today I'm thrilled to bring to Google AEI, is president, dr., Arthur C Brooks. Arthur. Brooks has been president of AEI since 2009. Where. He's also the Beth and Ravenel curry scholar and free enterprise. Before. Joining AEI. Dr., Brooks who has a PhD. And an MPhil from Rand was. A professor at Syracuse. Where. He taught economics and, social entrepreneurship. It's. Also worth noting that, before. Pursuing his work in public policy, Arthur. Spent 12 years as a classical, musician in the United States and Spain. Dr.. Brooks is also a regular. Contributor. To the New York Times bestselling. Author of 11 books, and. His books include topics from the role of government to economic, opportunity. Happiness. And the, morality of free enterprise in. His latest book is the New York Times bestseller, the conservative, heart how, to build a fair, happier. And more prosperous America. He's. Also published dozens of academic, journal articles, and he, wrote the textbook, social, entrepreneurship, today. Is going to speak about how to lead a startup life with. That please join me in giving a warm welcome to dr. Arthur, Sze Brooks. Always. Looking. Forward and looking forward to this for a long time good, to see you and good to see folks, were on the livestream I actually can't see you, but you can see me and I know that there are a couple, hundred folks that are watching us also later on YouTube I'm, looking forward to having some interaction, with these people where people were watching us later we have a, big, commitment to the work that we do in our youtube channel at AEI we, have. A pretty, large for a think tank a pretty large following, in our YouTube channel so if you like what you're seeing here and what we talked about here please go subscribe to our. YouTube channel yeah, I'm I'm as you heard from max I'm the president of the American Enterprise Institute that's a think tank in Washington DC, it's been around since 1938, we, do work on public policy, but, what we really try, to do, and, all our work that all 250. Of us in Washington is to, think about old problems. In new ways I mean. As, you know since, you're at, Google, you, know that when you're when you're trying to solve an engineering problem, trying. To make a big breakthrough the. Way to not, solve, a problem, that you've had for a long time is to simply think harder, in the old ways about it you have to find a new way to think about it that's why you go out and walk around sometimes. And you've, come back and you find oh I can, think about that in a new way now. We. Don't have engineering, problems, per se in public policy, but, we have old problems, that need new solutions, we. Have problems in policy, we have problems in politics, and and everybody, seems to think that we don't have solutions, to these problems I want. To talk to you in just the next half-hour about. How, to think in a new way about, policy, and how to think in a new way about politics, now. What am I not gonna do I'm not gonna tell you how you should feel politically. Everybody. Has their own opinions, on Paul's tell politics, I'm not gonna tell you what I think about politics, I'm not gonna tell you what you should think about politics, I'm gonna talk about thinking, differently about. Old. Problems, okay. Now. When. We talk about thinking differently you, can think I want you to think of a time in your life where. You, had an experience of. Suddenly. Having an epiphany of thinking. In a different way about an old problem even in your personal life and how it changed, things, I. I, was, trying to think about a good example, of that and, and. I, did think of one it, was you. Know give you an example just from my ordinary. Life not for my work life at all of an, inflection, in my thinking it was. Recently. Relatively, recently a years your so ago one, of my kids I have three teenage kids.
Not. To tell you my problems but they. And and one of them I. Was, having a parent-teacher, conference from. One of my teenage kids and it wasn't going very well, which, is pretty normal for teenagers you, know some of if, you don't have kids probably, well and, um. It, was a grades problem, and. So I we my wife and I we left and we, were in the car and we weren't talking, it was uncomfortable, we were kind of unhappy and and. My, wife said. You. Know. We're, thinking about this problem in the wrong way we need to think about this problem in a totally different way I said like I'm all ears how. Should we think about it she said at least we know he's not cheating. So. Okay. What do I bring that up that is a different, way of thinking and that spirit, I, want. To find how the, problems, that we're having in policy. Toward. Poverty. In America, can. Be seen as an opportunity, for renewal for, our country, and, then. I want to talk about how politics. Which is really bitter and polarized, and divided, is an. Opportunity, for us actually to come together all. Right so this is subversive and, pretty radical, thinking it's not how to make problems go away, it's how to think in a new way so that the problems that we have are actually opportunities, for the country that's. My job so. Let's start with with. What's actually tearing the country apart with, respect to policy, it's. The haves and have-nots, it's the polarization, with, respect, to income, and opportunity. It's the fact that that. Income inequality we. Believe is higher than its been in generations. How. Do we solve that in a way that helps us have greater solidarity, as. A country. It's. Thinking about this and. Trying to actually figure out a way, to describe, knew or could come up with a new kind of thinking and and. I was listening, to, a. Friend. Of mine who was giving a lecture about. Poverty. Okay, it's right in front of mine he's the he's, the assistant. Archbishop. In Los, Angeles Catholic, Archbishop in Los Angeles and and. He was actually quoting, his great mentor, from. From, the Archdiocese, of Chicago. A great Cardinal a great Catholic Cardinal, named Francis, George okay, and and this this visionary.
Cardinal, Was talking to his richest, donors, about. Poverty, so. He's and basically telling him why they should give their money to, support poor, people, in Chicago and here's what he said he. Said the. Poor need. You to pull them out of poverty and you. Need the poor to, keep you out of hell. It's, like gutsy, move I hate with your richest donors, I'm. Not gonna use that to fundraise for my organization, by the way but but what. Why is that an epiphany why does that actually lead to a breakthrough breakthrough thinking because, I was thinking about it later and I thought, do. We need poor, people in, our society I mean I understand, we want to help poor people and, understand that we want to have have, some sort of sense of charity toward, poor people. I got, it morally, but, do we actually need, them you. Answer that question, here's. How I want you to think, about it for yourself here's the thought experiment, that answers that question, there. Are a lot of poor people in right in our midst in Mountain View California right now not very far away from us I mean further, away, certainly, than 20 years ago. Because. Of the way that the realist art market has worked but if you go even as far away as San Jose lots, of, people. Who are really at the margins of society and they're the poor if all. Of the poor people within 50 miles of where we are right now really poor the bottom, of the socio-economic spectrum if they suddenly disappeared. Just like that would, you know, how. Long would it take you to know that right. Would you if. You're downtown would just say oh wow, fewer. Homeless people or if. You're looking like. A policy wonk like I am at the data you would you say well you know policing. In both of our services have just gotten cheaper I don't know maybe but, would you know it for your life would. You know with your friendships, would you know it and your social life I bet. You wouldn't not. For a long time. Why. Is that a problem because. It's weird, historically. It's, an unusual. Thing in America that. We actually wouldn't miss poor people why. Because, poor people are. Who we are as. A country this. Is a country that was literally, built, by poor people, this. Is a country, that was built largely. By immigrants. Who, were poor, it's. It's an amazing thing I don't have to remind you that you. Know the quintessential, sort, of the iconic. Image. Of immigration. In this country is Ellis Island, in the Statue of Liberty right, well, the. Statue of Liberty has a poem at its base by a it's, a pretty, bad, poem actually you had to memorize it when you were in high school if you went to high. School in the States which if you're an immigrant you didn't. Buy. Emma Lazarus but, there's one line in this is a Statue of Liberty and the first thing that immigrants, would see starting. In the late 19th century the. Poem says, give, me your poor. It. Didn't say give me your rich people, don't. Give me your high-skilled, engineering. Immigrants, although, that's good, give. Me your poor why because this is a country that had to be built by the that. The the the the, refuse, of other countries of, the, outsiders. From other countries, we were supposed to be a magnet for people from other countries who were basically. Ambitious. Riffraff. Here's. The amazing thing if you're born in the United States you. Descend. From ambitious, riffraff and you're proud of it it's, the only country in the world where. We're proud of the fact that our ancestors, were, poor and, we tell the stories yeah, yeah my great-grandfather he came to got nothing I know, that I mean it was like he was like living on the bus or something and then like and then my grandfather, my grandfather he went to high school my dad he went to college for the there's the story of every American family right but it starts, off not, with my. Great-grandfather, was a Duke, you. Know that's, a European story. Man. We're. Actually we'd kind of embarrassed, if your great-grandfather, was really really rich and you're, not.
Something. Happened, right. So, okay what does this mean that this. Is in the DNA of this country and and yet, we've. Divorced, ourselves, from any relationship. With poor people even though almost literally. At least an intergenerational sense, they. Are. So. What happens. We. Can't fix, that unless, we and we. Can't figure. Out how, to make poor people necessary. In our lives unless we figure out what went wrong or at least what happened. So. Sometime between my, parents were kids and, you. Know all of their friends were poor and when. My kids are kids. We've. Become, a, society that's divided. On socio-economic, lines and we don't know each other anymore, when, did that happen yeah I think I actually know the date when, that started to happen believe it or not I mean this is sort of artificial, and bare with me I think, it was April believe, it or not April 24th. 1964. It's really really precise what, happened on that date the answer was the, United States the, President, of the United States declared, the war on poverty, which. Is a great, thing that. Day was actually a photo op when President, Lyndon Johnson he, went to this little town in Kentucky in in Martin, County Kentucky. Place. Called Inez, which is really super hard up it was the heart of coal country but the mines had closed and there had been mills, and they had closed and people were out of work and and and, and it was poor so, he went there with a bunch of reporters, he was a master, by the way of the photo op we think that you know President Obama and President Trump were really great with the press huh Lyndon. Johnson he was the master and so he went with a bunch of writers from Time magazine and photographers, from Life magazine, rest. In peace and they, went to this little town in Kentucky and they went up here's the beauty, of it Johnson. Takes the reporters, to a random, guys house, it's. A guy named Tom Fletcher sitting, on his porch toys tarpaper, Shack, with. A like, a bunch of kids up on the porch and he walks up and says tell me your story isn't. It Tom Fletcher, so. Tom Fletcher it's. A terrible, tale he says he's a 38, year old father of eight who. Has a first grade education he hasn't worked in years and, his kids are malnourished and, he has no hope of finding a job okay. Okay that's what Johnson was looking for cuz he comes down off the porch he's walking away and he says to the reporters, is the beauty of it he's so great he, said today, I declare a war on poverty. And our goal is total. Victory, and you woulda, cheered because he was basically saying what third-world poverty is right here it's in America this. Look but. There's a solution we're. Declaring war we're gonna win, he. Gets back to Washington DC and he he. Puts a general, in charge of the world in poverty a great American, patriot, named Sargent Shriver who, also created the Peace Corps and when, he was asked what the goal was Sargent.
Shriver Said, our, goal is dignity. Not doles. I. Bet ya I don't care what your politics are you're, totally, down with that I know it not, making people dependent, making people have, a sense of their own dignity that's. Really what we're all about, isn't that what we want hmm. Okay, so, the. Question is how did it turn out that word dignity I want you to have in your head because what, is the essence, of a life of dignity. It's. Not being helped, it's, not being a charity case it's. Earning your own success, it's having meaning, and purpose, it's to, be needed. Like. I said I've got a house, full of teenage kids right, they don't always like. Me but. They need me and, that's. The source of dignity, for me that's the source of meaning and purpose in my life it's a reason that after I leave California I'm going back to Maryland. Where I live and I'm looking forward to that because. I want to go where I'm needed it's. Really important to me it's important to you too it's important to all of us now what happens in society when something. Has gotten so blinkered in the way that we take care of poverty that we tell. Generations. Of people that they're not necessary. Anymore we're gonna help you but, we don't need you, that's. Actually what's happening, today I mean, that the data are overwhelming. When I was a kid about. 7%, of men able-bodied working-age, men were. Out of the workforce and I grew up in Seattle and working-class neighborhood, in Seattle and we would see kind of guys certain, guys who would not, work and and it, would be a pity, and say that's not right so. What is it today, it's closer to 18 percent of working-age. Able-bodied. Men aren't. In the workforce, that's. What happens, when we do, help but we, don't think, seriously a about how to make people needed, in our, society that's. What we need to do in public policy, the solution, is not how to help people more it's how to need people more in public policy, if. You want to know what the the dysfunction, comes from when we don't need people look. At the data on this this is really incredible there's a paper an. Academic paper and the Proceedings, of the National Academy of Sciences last year published, by two economists. At Princeton, it's. A paper about demography, and most of it is good news I mean every. Group, every age group every demographic group in society has been getting richer, for a hundred years has been dying later, and had better public health for a hundred years here's, the bad news one, group has turned against that trend from. 1999. Until today, one, group has been dying, younger with. Greater health, pathologies, than they were before that. Group are white, men 45, to 54 without, a college education they, are dying, younger, and younger for. Three reasons number one is a, 46%, increase in cirrhosis, of the liver a 78%. Increase, in suicide, and a. 323. Percent increase, in drug overdose deaths these. Are guys my age, but. Without a college education that's. A an epidemic. It's a it's. A real it's a problem, of despair, which, is the inverse, of dignity, and the. Lack, of dignity, comes from whole, generations, of people who, are not needed. Okay. So, what's the solution. To all this to. Think differently, if. You want to solve the problems of poverty and you want to solve them permanently, and you just want to solve them in a way that you would deserve to be treated. Don't. Think about better ways to help poor people, think. About better ways to need, poor people, I'm. At Google right now you. Solve problems, you, solve hard problems, if. You're, a social. Activist. If, you want permanent. Solutions. To greater justice, think. About how that one gets solved, don't. Think about just how we can make you know people with high education. And high, spending. Capability, more productive, the top 10% of the income distribution, I'm, already, productive, and so are you I don't need to be any more productive I'm maxed, out man mm-hmm. Think. About how we can bring greater productivity, to, the bottom third of the population, socioeconomically. What. Are we doing for, them to bring them into full citizenship because when we make people more productive they are needed, more. Stop.
Thinking About poor people as charity cases, start. Thinking, of poor people as potentially. Productive, human, assets, the same way that we talk about rich people's kids how. Do we do that I, don't. Know but. That's what I'm thinking about these days and the way to think differently, is to, move from help to need. Now. Before. I move on you. Know it's easy I'm, talking, a little too much about them but. Let's think about you two, about. How much it's important for you to be needed and let's, put a real face on it about. What happens to people's lives when they're needed I was. A I do. A lot of we. Know work as president of AEI when, we're doing work in a particular area I like to talk to the people that were affecting looking at a data set is not sufficient, so. Fairly. Recently I was at a homeless, shelter in New York City that has amazing outcomes, because all, of them their, outcomes, are based on work they take these guys and they've been in prison and they've been drug addicted and and they're homeless and they've abandoned their families, and it's just like the worst situation, the situation you can't really help and they put them to work, sweeping the streets and then they have minimum-wage jobs and they learn skills and and then amazing, outcomes so people don't go back to prison very often and they don't go back and live on the streets very often so I want to know what their success is all about I'm meeting these guys. And. I meet this guy who, he. He went to prison when he was 18 for, murder, of all things and it was a weird thing you know he had smoking. A lot of dope when he was in junior high and went to harder drugs and, he was running with a bad crowd and one, thing led to another and there's a robbery and somebody got, killed and he went to president. Okay he gets out by, the grace of God 22, years later he's on parole when he's 40 and he start basically starting, his life at 40, and and. I meet him I see nine months after he's out of prison, and off the streets and he's working in this thing for he sweeps the streets for three months and he gets a job at an exterminator. Agency, what. You know fancy people call a dead-end job but is not it's, a job it's. Like all of our jobs and, and. I asked him how his life is going in and he says I'll show you takes out his iphone. Which. Is pretty cool but that's not the secret of happiness and. He but if what he's showing me is he's got an email from his boss and, it's. Here's what it says it. Says emergency. Bed, bug job East 65th. Street I, need you now and I said so what I said, look at it again he just said I need you, that, is the first time in my life anybody has said those words to me, that. My friends is the source of meaning you'll.
Want To make people you want to bring them into full citizenship, you want to give them happier lives you want to you want to permanently solve, the moral, problems, of poverty. Make. People needed. Okay. That's that's principle, number one. Now. Let's. Think. About from, policies go to politics, so let's get a little rougher here. Max. And I live in Washington, think. Of it that max lives in Washington so you don't have to here. At Google and you should be very thankful to max for doing that it's a it's it's it's fine. But. It's probably. Not where most of you would choose to live particularly if you're not obsessed, with politics. It's. Very, tough and it's particularly tough right now because of the polarization, you can't go anyplace or do anything, where you're not having a political conversation and, frankly it's exhausting, and in. Many cases it's unpleasant and you're watching yourself all the time why because we're in a period of almost unprecedented. Polarization. The. Left is the left and the right is the right and they don't overlap and we feel like we've got nothing in common right don't believe it go on social media right, which I know you all do. You. Find that, it's almost as if we inhabit, different planets, or we have different, DNA or, something because there's so much separation, between these, two groups of people, what's. The solution. That could actually bring. Us back, together, bring. Us really back together, as Americans. That's what that's what I want to talk about right now now. If you're, watching the, debates that we had in the last presidential campaign, you, watched Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump talking to each other you. Know that it's unbelievably, unpleasant, I was talking to my, 14. Year old daughter I remember having this conversation where I said, no. Don't forget the, things that those people are saying to each other that's not consistent, with our values so. Actually to apologize. As, if I were you know as if I were you know sitting, with her watching Breaking, Bad or something it's a presidential, debate for pete's sake we should be proud of this so the working of democracy, instead I'm apologizing. For the fact that these that, neither one of these people is saying something that reflects, my values, they're, saying terrible things to each other treating each other with with, with, contempt. Now. First. Of all you have to ask yourself, how do we get in this situation because it's it's deeply, suboptimal, from, a practical standpoint you, all know because you're normal people walking, the earth that, you will never insult, anybody, into agreement, it's, never happened in human history it impossible, like, that look listen, you moron I'm gonna refute all your facts and somebody's gonna go hang you know he's, right I am a moron I never thought of it that way it never happened, never gonna happen right it's it's very impractical to argue the way that we're arguing because politics.
Supposed To be the art of persuasion nobody's, persuaded, hmm. But, also there's a kind of a that's. Kind of a moral, problem, with it I, do. A lot of these these. Talks for very ideological. Audiences, sometimes very left-wing audiences, sometimes very right-wing audiences, so, you know yesterday I was at Cal Berkeley which. Is not known as that you know a stalwart right-wing audience of course and, but sometimes I am in these very conservative crowds, I was doing a, two. Years ago before the election I was doing a talk for a tea, party patriots rally, in New Hampshire okay. I do like 175, talks a year so I get a lot of opportunities. To share ideas with people but. But this one was really. Arch-conservative. People, I mean three-cornered, hats and, the whole thing, and and. I was making a point, and. By the way I mean that they're talking we're talking about you know the people were talking about tax policy and, I agree, mostly I mean, I agree I mean I'm a free enterprise warrior, I, want more capitalism. But, because, I want to lift up people who are poor and I want to make him needed which means you need the right kind of policy to be sure but but I'm down with this stuff really, a lot this. Is a friendly crowd and, I'm. Talking, to him and I made one point I was talking about political. Divisive. Nough sand I was talking about political. Progresses. And here's a point that I made I said I said. My friends I want you to remember, that. Political progressives, are not stupid and they're not evil, and. I. Meant that and this, lady raises, her hand she says actually. I think they're stupid and evil. So. And and, you know what I thought at that moment. Yeah. Yeah yeah that's for sure I mean it's like it's not, mixed company right. This is people who think alike and people are empowered when they're in right and, and and here's what I was thinking at this moment this is actually a breakthrough moment for me cuz. It was funny I mean she's trying to be funny, right but but. I was I told you I grew up in Seattle I grew up in a liberal family in Seattle which, is totally redundant, because they're all liberal, families in Seattle right and and, and.
When. She said that you know I thought she's, talking about my family and. I, took it personally, it doesn't matter that I actually agree, probably, agree, with a lot of her politics I love. My family you, know and it's like they're not, super. Political, or anything like that but they're not Tea Party Patriots for, pete's sake and when somebody says progressives. Are stupid and evil they're. Talking, about on my mom and dad and, I. Resent that actually. Now, why was that a breakthrough for me because, because. You know actually let me ask you here's. Why. Look. We're all from different places we all have different backgrounds well. Different views on politics how, many of you love somebody, with whom you disagree politically. Like. 100. Percent come on 100 percent we. All do if you, want to know the secret to political, reconciliation if, you want more solidarity. You. Have a responsibility, to stand up to people on your side, because. They're in, your, family. That's. How you do it that's courage. And that's. The secret of what we're trying to win it the problem that we're trying to solve in this country. Banding. Together with people with whom you agree. Effectively. Insulting. People with whom you disagree but have a personal, relationship, is not, courageous, it's. Not even loyal. So. How do we do that how. Do we do that how can I I can't just say do that because I have to be more specific I got to give you some tips on how, to get that done because, you know what you're. Gonna have an opportunity to do this within the next 24 hours, and, you're gonna think of this so. Let's make it a little more specific, a little more practical. When. You think about the. Problem, that we have today in politics. I mentioned. A word a little bit earlier that's contempt. People. Often say there's a lot of anger in politics, today it's actually not an anger problem it's a contempt, problem, in politics. Today contempt, is defined by social psychologists, as the conviction, of the utter worthlessness of. Another human being, right and that's how Hillary. Clinton and Donald Trump talk to each other that's how their supporters, talk to each other that's how people in the press talk to each other look at Twitter it's, the it's the contempt, machine all. Right where people talk to each other in the and anonymously. By the way because when people are not anonymous they tend to behave better. Never. Be anonymous, if you want to have a happy life and treat other people with more respects always give your name your, real your handle should have your real name in it in my view again. It's advice unsolicited, advice, I might add so. So, so, what is how do we see contempt, manifest, all the time is how people treat each other in the, political sphere as, utterly. Worthless now why does that matter. Anger. Simple, anger resolves. In reconciliation. Just, naturally, dissipates. Contempt. Never resolves, when, somebody treats you with contempt blows you up what, an idiot, that's the dumbest, thing I've ever heard you never quite forget, it when. September when you were in a class in college and somebody treated you with contempt, and just burned, you right. It. Gets worse by the way there's a guy at the University of Washington, his name was John Gottman he's a social Tolleson I've never met him but he's kind of an intellectual hero of mine because he's dedicated, his life to marital. Reconciliation. He, has a laboratory, where he brings couples. Together that are on the brink of divorce and he, has all of the best scientific, techniques for getting people to not divorce that's a huge deal there's, no Society, in history. That's. Successful that has not been based on the idea of successful. Intact. Families. So, anybody who keeps families intact. In my view is a hero and that's what this guy does I don't know it sure, he's a great guy. Because. Of what he's doing and so John Gottman he has this this. Experiment. Where he takes couples, that are quarreling. Maybe gonna get divorced and he, he, puts them in front of the camera, and they they have an argument, about what, they're disagreeing. About whether this how you raise the kids or about money or whatever and. Then he'll watch the tape his, assistants. Will film, it he'll watch the tape later, and. He'll talent turn the the sound to zero this is looking, at this thing and he, can predict with 94%, accuracy, which, couples will be divorced, within five years just by looking for five seconds, at the tape ah, so. What's he looking at max. Is married so he wants to know what's he looking at right now looking, at and the answer, is is signs.
Of Contempt, most notably eye rolling. These. Are like. You. Know teenage kids I see like eye rolling all day long and so they practically fall backwards, and their seats they roll their eyes so hard right that's fine but, you know what it really bugs, you is when somebody when your coworker, does it or, somebody with whom you're having a discussion who owes you respect, or at least some some. Civility does, it and worst, of all the some of you love does, it's like a physical, attack, practically. It's. Bad for you it's, bad when you do it but I bet you can, kind of catch yourself, from now on you're, never gonna be the same after this talk let me tell you all right it's like you're gonna go into your next political discussion, and you're gonna say oh I'm. Acting with contempt. Right, and I'm hurting somebody, and I'm, gonna have a permanent foe, as a result of this unless I fix it because that's the truth. Contempt. Is the problem, what's. The solution, okay. No to begin with it's not your fault if, you treat people with contempt, it's not your fault because that's the habit that's, what you see even from the, President, of the United States is, contempt. And all, of the social media and all the press it's all contempt, all the time you can be forgiven, for behaving like everybody, else mm-hmm. Right it still, doesn't make it okay. Or acceptable, to others but I understand why it happens it's a habit so. How do you break a habit any, kind of habit, for. Years I made my living as you heard as a musician I was a French horn player I played in the Barcelona Symphony for a long time and like everybody, in the Barcelona Symphony I was a smoker we're always just so, gross so terrible, it's, such a bad habit, it made my mother sad so, I decided, I had to quit right, but, I didn't I mean how do you quit smoking the, answer is don't just quit smoking you, gotta do something instead of smoking, but that's the way the brain works by the way there's a lot of good neuroscience, on habits, and, habits. Can only be broken when you put something in in, in place of the bad habit so.
I Took up drinking no kidding so the. So. This. Of the. The habit of contempt, therefore, can only be broken, if you do something, instead, of contempt, okay so catch, yourself, you're gonna be in a conversation on social media or in person, at the, dinner table or with a friend or with a colleague, or even with a stranger, and before, you do something contemptuous, you're gonna have to do something, else instead of it what, do you do when you feel contempt, okay. This is a research, project for me by the way a few months ago it's. Like I got, to be practical about it I want to break this habit myself and I want to help you break this habit so, what do we do instead you know what's the equivalent of, when you want a cigarette going, for a walk around the block what. Do you do I asked. Everybody asked, social psychologists, I have brain, scientists. I ask people that I really respect but, here's the best answer that I got from the person that, I really respect, one. Of the people I respect most on the earth is the. Dali Lama okay. Now it's, a weird, truth, that, I have a relationship with the Dali Lama because he does stuff with my organization, with AEI he's come to AEI a bunch of times. I interview, him we made a documentary, film together we've written for, The New York Times together. It's the weirdest, most kind, of counterintuitive thing, ever but but but, I just I just love, him, because. He's helpful, and he's, a good, teacher and he's, kind, and and so I'm always just all ears well a few months ago, we. Were in India, in Dharamsala. Which is in the Himalayan, foothills where, he has his monastery and we were making a film and doing some conferences, together and, I was thinking about this problem contempt. Contempt, what do I do when I feel contempt so I asked him I said your holiness when. I feel contempt, what should I do, and. He said. Practice. Warm-heartedness. And. I said you. Got anything else because. You. Know that. Sounds sort of soft. But. Then I thought about it I thought. About the man I was talking to for those who don't know the Dalai Lama is the spiritual leader the Tibetan, Buddhist people. He. Has been the, Dalai Lama or he has been identified as, the Dalai Lama since he was a kid and he's been the leader of the dependent Buddhist people for. Many, years for decades well. Something, happened him fundamentally, he was exiled from, Tibet when he was 17 years old by.
The Chinese government and he took his people into or the leaders the Tibetan Tibetan people, into exile in India, you. Know if these. Poor the Tibetans are poor the. It's six million people, in this vast territory. This. What happens gone forgotten, you. Know it's done right, but, no because, the Dalai Lama has used over the last seven decades his. Position, as the, world's most respected. Religious, leader, to. Treat the contempt. Of the people who exiled, him with, warm-heartedness, and in so doing he's. Actually created a worldwide following, what. Does he say basically he has this old saying that all a lama says that that I I, defeat, my enemies, when I make them my friends. Because. Of no longer my enemies of course he. Told, me he actually, starts, every day praying, for the Chinese leaders not, that they'll give him is homeland but they'll live happy and good lives that. My friends is more important to us I don't know if I'm strong enough for that but. When, I thought that here's the point I'm trying to make it. Sounds. Like warm-heartedness is sort of weak right it's, actually for tough strong, people. Contempt. Is for people with no discipline. Contempt. Is for people who have bad. Habits people. Who have mental tics people, who can't control themselves. That's, what contempt, is for, warm-heartedness. Is for disciplined, people it's, for people who can control themselves. Contempt. Is for sissies. Warm-heartedness. Is for strong people, so, how question how strong, are you. Next. Time you have this opportunity how are you gonna use it okay let me be more specific because, I'm still not being helpful enough. How. Can. You. Turn contempt, a warm-heartedness in your life I asked that question to okay. Give me some tips your holiness, that, is the lessons here he said it was very interesting he said think of a time when, you have done this by accident when, you've turned a conversation, around you made an enemy your friend. Remember. That remember, that feeling remembered. That occasion. And that, will be your teacher. So. I went back to my little room where I was sleeping and. I thought about it and I and. It and, I did have an experience where I did this and I, want to tell you about it because it actually, went, now I remember it all the time and it's changed my life I mean I just I don't.
Write Angry tweets because. Here's what I think about, and. Again you know my position where. People are pretty contemptuous, because we're in the middle of public policy and we're Washington DC and, and sometimes, there's controversy and all that what, do I think about I, think. About it. Was an experience, that I had eleven, years ago, so. Before. I came to a EEI I've been president for almost ten years of a yeah before that for a decade, I was a college professor I taught, most of that time at Syracuse, University at. The Maxwell school of public affairs which is a wonderful public affairs school and I had a good thing going, I had a happy life I was, working. In professorial. Obscurity. Writing my books and articles and. You know teaching my graduate, students and life was sweet I'm telling you, and. And then a weird thing happened to me I wrote a book right, after I got my became, a full professor so, I had you know tenure and I was completely protected, from ever being fired I could have killed the guy not gotten fired because I was had tenure right and so I thought how am I gonna use this I'm gonna write a book that maybe, is, more controversial, so I wrote a book about charity, I wrote a book about philanthropy which is my main area of research but I asked the question who, actually gives, to charity, who. Thinks, they give to charity but don't, and. It looked at the difference between poor, people and rich people, and religious, people and secular people and I also looked at the difference between conservatives. And liberals and that's of course was going to be really controversial, and that hid the book comes. Out and it has the news cycle in just the right way and my life changed because as, sometimes, happens, to obscure college professors, my, book started selling hundreds of copies a day right. And my life just changed overnight I went from obscure. College professor to being on the radio and on the television just within days but, it's crazy, because, I was getting all this feedback from people I was, not I'm not ready for this right I mean my wife is like you got to get a better haircut you're on TV and stuff like that it's like there was different times for me obviously and 11. Years a lot has happened in eleven years like and and and, here's, from the weirdest part I was getting letters. And mostly, emails, from people I'd never met because, when you have a book that's really selling a lot people, will write to you and tell, you their opinions even though they don't know you I love, your book I hate your book whatever so. I get an email from a guy two weeks after the book comes out I'm. Just sitting at my desk my office and Syracuse and then email pops up dang. Dear. Professor Brooks, you. Are a right-wing.
Fraud. You. Know and you know that's not a great way to start an email by the way that's not very you know inviting, but. I keep, reading because I'm game I'm good sport and the, first thing I notice so this email is like, 5,000. Words long scan take me 20, minutes to read this email but. I'm reading through it um problems here's the second thing I notice, every. Single, point in my book is being refuted, by this guy it's a guy from Texas right. I mean, with, within the most vitriolic, terms, in detail, the insults are detailed, like, you. Know the columns, and in table 3.1, they're there they're reversed you moron you know stuff like that where it's like wow. And. Every. Piece, of data every, conclusion. Every paragraph you, know detail, you. Know what I was thinking the whole time I was reading this email that. Kept coming to me over and over again he. Read my book. Because. Nobody, ever read my books I couldn't, believe this guy had read my book and I was just still gratitude. Because. It had never happened to me before I mean it was like my life was changing it is cuz people were reading my stuff so I thought, you. Know I think I'm gonna tell him what's on my heart right now so. I wrote back to him you're so-and-so I know. You think I'm terrible and you. Think my book is terrible, but. It took me two years to write that thing and I put my whole heart into it and you read every, word, I'm so grateful to you for that thank. You, send. And. Then. And then and then I waited because I was thinking I wonder if this guy will actually write back to me right and sure enough, 15 minutes later ding, I'm, working. On a dataset or something I look up and this email is coming I open it up dear professor Brooks next, time you're in Dallas if you want to get some dinner give me a call. I. Defeat. My enemies when I make them my friends remember, this. Guy went from wanting me dead to, wanting to buy me dinner in, the. Matter of just, like that almost. The blink of an eye why, because, I accidentally. Treated, him with warm heartedness in response to his contempt, it was a case. Study of the Dalai Lama's principle that I learned only some years later. Ok. Now that's. What I think of and you have something, that you did you've done to look I'm not so virtuous, I was just you know being honest at this one particular moment a little bit vulnerable and, look, what happened you, can think of these things too that's your case study that's your teacher that's your guide that's what you need to think of what, was the key ingredient in that thing that just happened by the way let. Me home in a little bit more on it was gratitude, gratitude, is, the contempt, killer if. You could remember, to be grateful for the things that but. You, we should be grateful for because I mean think, of all that we should be grateful for think where we are it's a beautiful day we're a mountain view you're working at Google there's a lot to be grateful for right.
Remembering. Gratitude, will kill contempt. There's. A wonderful, principle of this in this there's a book that that your parents, probably read called. How to win friends and, influence people, by Dale Carnegie, go get it still it was a big bestseller in the 30s, go. Get it's a beautiful. Book it sounds like it's how to bend people to your will but it's not it's actually a guide, to courageous. Ethical, living where you treat others with respect very, beautiful book and and, in the book he's Dale, Carnegie was this early self-improvement. Writer and he's travelling around America. To find the most successful, people and find their secrets and, so he. Gets to New, York City and he goes to Broadway, to see a magician. Named Howard Thurston, right. Howard, Thurston was the most famous magician of his age he was a celebrated, guy for 40 years he'd been doing the same tricks, night, after night after night on Broadway alright and so, Andrew Dale not Andrew Carnegie Dale Carnegie, goes to see Howard Thurston to find out why he's so great, now, the tricks are all really conventional, it's, rabbits, out of hats and card tricks and all this stuff but he, figured, out that what the wrote was really going on was was. Howard Thurston's, relationship. To his audience he. Would tell a joke and people would laugh and he would laugh too and, it, he, was super. Into, it like it was the first night hmm, they had been doing this for 40 years same tricks 40 years that, was the secret first night same. Spirit, every night so he goes back to Howard. Thurston's. Dressing. Room Edwards said mr. Thurston you know I understand. Now why, you're so popular you. Made it look like the first night how did you do that and. Said oh it's very simple every. Night before I go out I'm in my dressing room I say the same thing to myself I am truly grateful for the people in those seats who make it possible for me, to do, something that I love. Yeah. That's, pretty. Important. That's. Now what I say because, I get to do that for a living too I get to do something that I love I get to talk to you about, truth. Truth. That brings solidarity. And brotherhood. Love to other people. This is my job what, an amazing, thing I'm so grateful to you that. I get to do it that. Gratitude of course kills any contempt, when you when you display, it, while. You're talking to somebody else about politics. Why. Should, you why, should, you be grateful at that moment because. You're living in a free country where because. You have a different difference of opinion nobody's gonna come and knock on your door. At night and haul you off that, is historically. Unprecedented, god. Bless America that. Even if we display contempt, or not gonna get arrested for it that's. Something that we should be grateful for furthermore. If you, join me in believing that we should not be living in a one-party, state that. By construction. Means you feel grateful, to people who disagree, with you who. Are not from your party. You. Should be grateful and you should express that gratitude for. People who are on the other side and the competition. Of ideas, remember. That and prosper. From. That okay. Sum it up I've, tried, to give you two new ideas come I don't care what your politics are I don't care what my politics, are if you. Want to have policies, that help people more, don't, think about helping think, about needing them if you, want to put that into practice, to. Try to solve, political polarization and, contempt, remember, that you actually need. People, with whom you disagree, that's. How we put these things together if you do these two things today, you'll be thinking differently about. Your, work and about your life and about your relationships, and money back guarantee, you're gonna be happier, before you go to bed tonight, these. Are tips. To, better living and they're tips to making other people live, better as well, really. Grateful, for this I'm really grateful for the opportunity to, talk to you is I just mentioned a second ago and and, and I would love to hear how this works for you, so, give, me feedback spread, the ideas around. Write. Me an email at Arthur. Brooks at AEI dot org if. It works for you I want to hear about it and I want to share that with others as well thank, you for time thank you for your attention thank, you. Thank. You Arthur and if there. Are any questions we have time. For maybe one or, two quick questions I'll, pass, the mic I. Was. Wondering if you think that there's something fundamental. To human, dignity human flourishing, that's, tied up with human labor and, if so what that means for.
Us In an economy that's more productive in ever than ever but. In which like human labor is increasingly, diminishing component, yeah, what a wonderful question what, is the inherence, e of dignity, that comes from human labor I mean, there's no there's really a lot of philosophy, on this I mean this is this is a you know the idea, of sanctified. Ordinary, work is a very common, theme for, for. For, philosophers, and theologians and. What. Many people have written about this just. Throughout the ages is that that when people have a sense of their own self-worth it. Comes from meat from meaning and purpose meaning. And purpose only comes when you are serving others as opposed to being served this, is the paradox of it you know when you when you're feeling lousy about your life you, want other people to serve you more you want to stop feeling lousy go, serve other people more that, paradoxical. Kind of turning, of the tables actually, is one of the great secrets to happiness how, can you do that on a systematic, basis is by, seeing your, work as service, to others and making your work into services, other its service to others that's, how no, matter what you're doing whether, you're coding, or you're building a wall or you're running, a think tank you, can get greater joy from it by remembering, the people that you're trying to serve whether. It's your co-workers or, your clients, that's, really hugely important, and this is a robust. Social psychological finding, and and and a theological, finding and a philosophical, finding as well work, brings, happiness as long as it is tied to purpose, and purpose, comes from serving other people that's, your job is to figure out how to serve, other people more. So. So what does it mean when when, people work less so let's start let's not talk about just service jobs where people have less robust, human, labor or people even cutting down on hours let's. Talk about an economy where, you were and fewer people are needed in the workforce you've. Created an almost perfect storm, a formula, for unhappiness, and. Doing that or this isn't connected to what I've been talking about here right we basically say anytime, you say you. Look I don't think people should have to take dead-end, jobs you. Basically said you're not gonna get dignity, from work because I've defined, dignity. Out of your work what an arrogant, terrible, thing to say who, treats their brothers and sisters that way everybody. Should be able to work everybody should have dignified, work and get dignity, from their work no such thing as a dead-end job that's critical, but, what we're basically doing in our economy, of course is loading. More and more and more of the value, on the workforce on to you, and none to me you. Know the people who are trying to get more and more and more and more productive in the top 10% of the income distribution, that's.
What We're actually trying to do in which, case we're basically saying these, things have more dignity than other people, what. We should be thinking about is finding ways for other people, to earn their, way and in, not. Just in public policy in private industry as well and in doing that we'll have the formula for passing, on the blessings that we take for granted for. You for, me the. One thing for you to take away from what I just said is that, meaning, comes from work when, work provides service and service is all about other people, how am i bring how am i serving my fellow men and women more, today, I'm, gonna find a way to do it on your way to work in the morning say I'm gonna serve more, today I'm gonna find a better way to serve today and you go home happy over the better appetite, for. Dinner thank, you for that wonderful question yeah. How. Do you incentivize the, private sector to need the poor especially, if. It's, less financially. Viable than say serving, that the top 10% yeah. I'm, asking the private sector to be more creative in doing that because, I think that we're passing up all sorts of opportunities and here's how here's I like. To ask you to think about it as, an. Historic, matter every. Prosperous. And successful, Society. Has. Made a major inflection, as, prosperity, on the basis of energy. Have. An energy source right, and sometimes it says it's. Like finding oil but, usually, energy, sources are, tied, up in human, ingenuity, so. The United States had, a major inflection, of prosperity, of productivity, when, when we figured out that universal. Education. Is a really good thing the universal public education, is a great thing it's a huge public, good it unlocked, massive. Amounts of human energy and turned America into a really great country, it wasn't, that long ago by the way it's like you know in the late, part of the 19th century's, when this started to happen and. Went along with Industrial Revolution but, it unlocked the human capital revolution, in this country okay. Energy, sources are a really big deal what. We need to do to be more creative about, in the idea, part of the private sector in particular like, I mean we. Can talk about manufacturing, if you want but basically look this is Google this is the idea part of the world and I'm in the American, Enterprise Institute which is an idea Factory as well as finding. Better ways to, unlock the, next wave of human potential, the. Most productive, areas of human potential are going to be where it's currently lying fallow, not. Where it's already at its highest degree, of utilization, right. You've. All all heard the old axiom, and if you want to get something done go to a go to a busy person that, is true as far as it goes but, if you want an army, of people we're gonna do new things you have to find people who have free, time and, if, you want to find ways to in, radically. Inflect, productivity. In this country you have to find the places where we're simply, not asking, people to put their oar in the water enough and find ways to help them get that done what. Is Google, doing to. Enhance the productivity and the productive, capacity of, people who are currently. Behind. The curtain of how technology, can can enhance their their, productive, their and effectively, their intelligence, and their productivity I mean, oh Google, has made me it's unbelievable, what this company has done for me by the way I'll tell you what it's done I mean it's it's given, me the, capacity at, my fingertips with just me and devices. It's. Given, me the, imagination. Creativity, and the effective, intelligence far, beyond the dreams, of Leonardo, da Vinci that's. What it's done in just the last few years right. But why is it that the people were adding, to in this way are, the people who need it at the least and why, do we keep finding, ways. Make people at the top more productive, more creative, more prosperous, why are we not looking for people who are not at that particular place that's my challenge, to you my friends that's. What we should be thinking about not just as social, justice, warriors. But. As people who are trying to be. Economically. Savvy, who. Are looking for the next great post-industrial. Revolution. That's. The answer that we need to come up with and that's the answer we need to come up with together. Thank. You Arthur thanks. For everybody who came thanks. Everybody who watched online and.
Thanks. For coming to Google thanks max thanks, a lot. You.