Stephen Curry and the Culture of Self-Trust

Bethany Jenkins | May 13, 2015

In the last 70 years, we’ve changed how we celebrate victory, David Brooks argues in his new book, The Road to Character. While listening to a radio broadcast from August 15, 1945, the day after V-J Day, Brooks noticed how the host Bing Crosby described the program’s tone: “Today, though, our deep-down feeling is one of humility.” One guest, recalls Brooks, quoted a war correspondent, saying, “We did not win [the war] because destiny created us better than all other people. I hope that in victory we are more grateful than proud.”

When the program ended, Brooks turned on his TV to watch a football game just in time to see a wide receiver catch a short pass before he got tackled. Immediately, the defensive lineman did a “self-puffing victory dance” to celebrate his accomplishment. “It occurred to me,” Brooks reflects, “that I had just watched more self-celebration after a two-yard gain than I had heard after the United States won World War II.” He then zooms out to comment on this significant cultural shift:

It did occur to me that there was perhaps a strain of humility that was more common then than now, that there was a…

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