The essay It’s Not About You by David Brooks discusses the important issue of the former graduate students not being prepared for the adult life. The current education system focuses on providing the structured knowledge, while the modern world requires the flexible skills (Brooks par. 5). The author uses various methods of persuasion to reach his target audience and to prove them his point of view.
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The article offers an opinion that the current culture of guiding young adults is misleading. Thus, it is evident that they are the primary audience that the author is trying to reach. It is not surprising that Millennials think differently than the previous generations. The past decades were marked by the development of technology for the personal use, which had the direct influence on the new generation. Nowadays, there are more ways to achieve career goals than before. Young adults realize that “working hard and following the rules do not guarantee success” (Mendoza and Rogo 2). However, Brooks tries to persuade them that the old system where one has to adapt to the rules of the community still prevails.
Brooks uses logical, ethical, and emotional claims to prove his point of view to the readers, as it is derived by Aristotle (Matsen et al. 107). Various topics require different sources of proof that are appropriate specifically for them (Garver 114). Thus, the article is mostly built on the logical claims. The beginning paragraph of the article ends with a pathos line, mentioning that most middle-aged people would be happy to start over their adult path. The claim serves to bring the warm feelings among the readers who would remember their youth, as well as among the young adults who should feel happy about their age. The author uses ethos to support his point of view with a professional opinion, like the one of the doctor Atul Gawande. Finally, there are many claims based on logos. Brooks provides the examples of several people’s life choices to prove the point that young adults will have to adapt to the existing reality.
The author uses the context of the current economic state of the country. Not only the wages are becoming lower. The globalization and the spread of technologies forces the competition in the labor market to grow rapidly (Childress 26). There is also an overview of the realities which are faced by young adults, like the national debt left by the previous generations. Brook’s main purpose of writing this article lies in revealing that the labor reality is much different from the ideas that are translated in school and through the mass media. He tries to prove that being self-centered does not benefit a young professional. Moreover, the author pictures the life choices of other people as an example that external forces are stronger than an individual and that everyone eventually will have to adapt. It seems that Brooks tries to change the system, which promotes the exaggerated importance of the egocentric worldview. Besides, he also tries to make young people think critically about the possible life paths.
The essay of David Brooks is a powerful message to youth. Even though the world has changed, there is still a need in cooperating and adapting. The author’s logical and ethical proofs seem credible, while the emotional appeal is sure to get the response from the readers.
Brooks, David. “It’s Not About You.” The New York Times, 2011, Web.
Childress, Vincent W. “Twenty-First Century Skills.” Technology & Engineering Teacher, vol. 76, no. 4, 2016, pp. 25-31.
Garver, Eugene. Aristotle’s Rhetoric: An Art of Character. The University of Chicago Press, 1994.
Matsen, Patricia P. et al. Readings from Classical Rhetoric. Southern Illinois University Press, 1990.
Mendoza, Jessica, and Paula Rogo. “Road Trip America: A Journey Inside the Mind of Millennials.” Christian Science Monitor, 2016, p. 2.