The Social Animal is an instruction manual for politicians, the chief virtue of which is that it is practically useless. Faced with geopolitical and economic upheaval, the New York Times columnist offers a reassuring refuge from reality.
The business of newspapers isn't as interesting as journalists think. Not only that, few can write properly, few report thoroughly, and many are frustrated at being chroniclers rather than the persons being covered.
Peter Beinart's books represent the intellectual equivalent of what nutritionists call the empty-calorie principle.