How to Know a Person

The Art of Seeing Others Deeply and Being Deeply Seen

English language

Published Oct. 25, 2023 by Random House, Incorporated.

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3 stars (1 review)

As David Brooks observes, “There is one skill that lies at the heart of any healthy person, family, school, community organization, or society: the ability to see someone else deeply and make them feel seen—to accurately know another person, to let them feel valued, heard, and understood.”

And yet we humans don’t do this well. All around us are people who feel invisible, unseen, misunderstood. In How to Know a Person, Brooks sets out to help us do better, posing questions that are essential for all of us: If you want to know a person, what kind of attention should you cast on them? What kind of conversations should you have? What parts of a person’s story should you pay attention to?

Driven by his trademark sense of curiosity and his determination to grow as a person, Brooks draws from the fields of psychology and neuroscience and from the worlds …

3 editions

Review of 'How to Know a Person' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

Mr. Brooks has written a discussion of his approach to knowing about, listening, and talking to people. He has interest in the topic for many years both because of his own introversion and because of his career in journalism. The book is organized into general principles, communicating with people in various difficult and crisis situations, and a third part of assorted other ways to know people. The book is largely a self-help guide and contains a lot of advice that mostly seems good. At times I would agree with the author that it is wise.

What struck me negatively is what is negative in many self-help books; it is heavily referenced with ideas and quotes from famous psychologists and psychological studies. These ideas are often interesting, but many are non-scientific in that they cannot be tested, or, at least, have not been tested. So they amount to a number of …


  • Ethics
  • Sociology