Occupation: Journalist, columnist
Previous TIME 100 appearances: 0
In an age of hyperpolitical rhetoric, New York Times columnist David Brooks is one of the most thoughtful minds on the right. For years, Brooks, whose new book The Social Animal digs into how emotions shape our actions, has been a measured conservative voice while far-right hyperbole from the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck has only gotten louder. His moderate insight (part socially liberal, part fiscally conservative) is as important as ever in a relatively new period, one in which politicians are striving for civility while being forced to compromise in Washington. Civility and compromise are what Brooks is all about.