General News

David Brooks to Deliver the 2019 Gotto Lecture

David Brooks, the longtime New York Times columnist and best-selling author, will keynote the second-annual Anita and Antonio Gotto Lecture at Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church.

Brooks will deliver the Gotto Lecture on Wednesday, Oct. 30, in the Fifth Avenue Sanctuary.

Photograph by Howard Schatz

The church also announced that Brooks’ newest book, The Second Mountain: The Quest for a Moral Life (Random House, 2019) is the selection for the annual congregational book-read this fall.

“More and more, Americans have been asking, ‘Where can we find a moral compass in this turbulent world?’ No one has championed this question more clearly and passionately than David Brooks,” says Senior Pastor Scott Black Johnston. “If you care about the fabric of society, or you are trying to find your own bearings amidst choppy seas, we hope you will read the book with us, then come for a stimulating discussion with one of America’s premier cultural thinkers.”

The Gotto Lecture is free of charge, but registration is required. Registration is open at

Brooks has been an op-ed columnist for the Times since 2003. He is also an executive director at the Aspen Institute, where he leads Weave: The Social Fabric Project. He is currently a commentator on “The PBS Newshour,” NPR’s “All Things Considered” and NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Released in April, The Second Mountain is his fourth book. In it, Brooks explores the four commitments that define a life of meaning and purpose, drawing inspiration and wisdom from a range of people who have lived joyous lives of commitment, community and faith.

Brooks writes “with a feel for those who, rather than succumbing to their own personal traumas, turn toward helping others and, in so doing, renew the lost sense of community that afflicts an America whose churches, neighborhoods, mores and cultural institutions are all in decline,” said the reviewer Mark Epstein in the Times.

In addition to The Second Mountain, Brooks wrote The Road to Character, Bobos In Paradise: The New Upper Class and How They Got There, and The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement. He is on the faculty at Yale University and is a member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.

Inaugurated in 2018, the Anita and Antonio Gotto Lecture Series offers compelling talks and presentations by renowned theologians and preachers, writers and scholars, across a range of faith traditions and academic disciplines. The first speaker in the series was the moral psychologist and best-selling author Dr. Jonathan Haidt, the Thomas Cooley Professor of Ethical Leadership at New York University’s Stern School of Business and co-author (with Greg Lukianoff) of The Coddling of the American Mind (2018).

The series is made possible through a generous contribution from Anita and Antonio Gotto, longtime members of the congregation.