Critical Analysis on “It’s Not About You” by David Brooks

The purpose of writing a critical analysis is to evaluate someone’s work (book, essay, movie, play) in order to increase the reader’s understanding of it. A critical analysis is subjective writing because it expresses the writer’s opinion and evaluation of the work. Analysis means to break down the study parts. The following essay was written by our expert writers on critical writing. If you need an original essay on critical analysis, place an order here. First things first, read the essay to get a better understanding of how to approach such essays.

Critical Analysis on “It’s Not About You” by David Brooks

The essay, “It’s Not About You” by David Brooks rejects the idea of finding yourself and presents the notion of losing yourself. The idea of “go to school” and “find a safe, secure job” is long gone with the industrial era. In the Information Age, there is a need for students to look out for opportunities in the problems that exist today (Woodcock 2270). School train students to follow a specific laid out plan for their life upon graduation. Instead of creating themselves, the graduates hop from job to job, hoping to find a safe, secure job. David Brooks, therefore, writes to help students to lose themselves and make a meaningful contribution to society. In the essay, “It’s Not about You,” David Brooks calls upon graduates to create themselves, rather than finding themselves.

In the essay, “It’s Not about You,” David Brooks advises graduates to lose themselves, rather than finding themselves. Brooks states that school prepares graduates to follow a particular path. Brooks writes, “This year’s graduates are members of the most supervised generation in American history. Through their childhoods and teenage years, they have monitored, tutored, coached and honed to an unprecedented degree.” (Lunsford and Ruszkiewicz 106). School prepares students to follow a laid-out plan, instead of letting students find themselves. Upon graduation, however, students struggle to cope with the hard reality- difficulties in getting a secure job and paying the student loan.  Also, Brooks criticizes the idea of advising graduates to follow their passion. Brooks states that “following your passion” does not help in adulthood. Instead, Brooks advises graduates to look outside and spot the opportunities. Success in life is not about pursuing happiness but pursuing unhappiness, which in the end, lead to happiness. From the author’s perspective, the pursuit of happiness involves pursing the opposite- unhappiness.

The author used a logical presentation to organize the essay. At the beginning of the essay, the author starts the essay with a hookup sentence, which states, “Over the past few weeks, America’s colleges have sent another class of graduates off into the world” (106). The statement evokes interest in the author’s purpose because colleges in America churn out graduates every year. In the body, the author states the graduates have been ill-served by their elders- the graduates have been supervised and tutored to follow a particular path. Moreover, the author gives reasons why graduates have been ill-served. Firstly, the graduates enter an unstructured world. Secondly, thee graduates enter a diverse job market. The school prepares students in a particular line, but when they enter the job market, they find a diverse culture. In conclusion, the author calls upon the graduates to lose themselves. Brooks writes, “The purpose in life is not to find yourself. It’s to lose yourself (107). The term, “Lose yourself” means that the graduates should learn to spot opportunities in problems, rather than focusing on “finding themselves. Brooks statement implies that graduates should learn to create jobs, rather than hoping around looking for one.

Brooks mixes the first person, second person and third person approach to essay writing to help in expressing his ideas. In the introduction of the essay, he uses the third person writing approach by using the pronoun “their.” For example, Brooks writes, “Through their childhoods and teenage years, they have been monitored, tutored, coached and honed to an unprecedented degree.” (106). The use of the pronoun “the” creates an objective perspective in the essay. The writer also uses the second person approach to express the ideas. For instance, he writes, “If you sample some of the commencement addresses being broadcast on C-Span these days, you see that many graduates are told to: Follow your passion, chart your own course, march to the beat of your own drummer, follow your dreams and find yourself” (107).  The use of second person approach helps the author to address the reader directly, thus helping the reader to understand the message. Also, Brooks uses the first-person approach to engage the reader. For instance, in the conclusion, he writes, “Most of us are egotistical and most are self-concerned most of the time, but it’s nonetheless true that life comes to a point only in those moments when the self dissolves into some task (108). The use of the first person makes the message of the author subjective. The author takes a position on the issue of losing oneself. According to Brooks, losing oneself means engaging in some task to learn more about a particular profession. Brooks implies that self-education is crucial to the advancement of human beings. If any body wants to pursue success, then self-education and creating opportunities is the key to success.

The author’s choice of words helps to explain the idea of creating oneself, rather than finding oneself. For example, Brooks writes, “Through their childhoods and teenage years, they have been monitored, tutored, coached and honed to an unprecedented degree” (106). The choice of the words “monitored”, “tutored”, “coached” and “honed” explains how students are prepared to find themselves. The word “monitored” implies that the tutors are on the look-out for whatever the student does. If the students, therefore, are expected to act in accordance with the teachings. Monitoring does not allow students to “lose themselves” and create opportunities, rather, it makes students to reason like the tutors. Similarly, the use of the words, “tutored”, “coached” and “honed” shows how tutors prepare students in a particular line of thought. If students are tutored, coached and honed, they cannot think independently. Even if they think independently, they will still act in accordance with the thoughts of the tutors. By the use of the words, “monitored” “coached”, “tutored” and “honed”, the author effectively criticizes the education system in the United States. The author implies that the education system should aim at preparing students to create themselves. Students should be able to lose themselves in the job market and gain skills in a particular job.

The author treats the topic as informative and educative. Brooks intends to inform the audience about the changes in the labor market. Brooks writes, “They enter a bad job market, the hangover from decades of excessive borrowing. Instead, they will confront amazingly diverse job markets, social landscapes, and lifestyle niches. (106). The author informs and educates the graduates about what to expect in the labor market. Unlike in the industrial age when students were prepared for the jobs at hand, the information age requires a different set of skills. The author, therefore, treats the topic as informative and educative to effectively convince the reader on the importance of creating oneself, rather than finding oneself.

Brooks uses ethos, logos, and pathos to appeal to graduates to create themselves. For instance, Brooks cites Artul Gawande who gave a countercultural address at Harvard Medical School. Gawande said that being a good doctor often being part of a team. Brooks cites Gawande to appeal to the graduates because Gawande represents authority. When Brooks cites an authoritative figure, he establishes trust within the audience. The author uses logos to explain the transition from school to the job market. If the graduates will enter the job market, then they will enter an unstructured job market. Also, the author uses pathos to evoke emotions in the target audience (Varpio 209). For example, the statement, “…But, especially this year, one is conscious of the many ways in which this year’s graduating class has been ill served by their elders.” (106). The statement, “ill-served” evokes angry emotions in the students because they feel they got what they did not deserve.

The author effectively used the choice of words, organization, writing style, and elements of persuasion to convince the reader that the graduates were ill-served. The change in the labor market requires a different set of skills. In the information age, the graduates should focus on creating themselves and relationships which are necessary for solving contemporary problems. Brooks alternates between an objective and a subjective tone to effectively convince the reader that America’s colleges do not prepare students to face the realities of the labor market. There is the need, therefore, for institutions to focus on developing all-around students who can make a meaningful contribution to society by identifying and solving problems.

Works Cited

Lunsford, Andrea A, and John J. Ruszkiewicz. Everything’s an Argument. , 2014. Internet resource.

Varpio, Lara. “Using Rhetorical Appeals to Credibility, Logic, and Emotions to Increase Your Persuasiveness.” Perspectives on Medical Education, vol. 7, no. 3, June 2018, pp. 207–210. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1007/s40037-018-0420-2.

Woodcock, Ramsi A. “The Obsolescence of Advertising in the Information Age.” Yale Law Journal, vol. 127, no. 8, June 2018, pp. 2270–2341. 

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