New York Times columnist David Brooks knows why you are the way you are.

If you’ve been plagued by existential questions lately—the “Who am I?” and “Why did I do that?” sort, not “How could Butler only be an 8 seed in the NCAA tourney?”—consider heading to Town Hall tonight, March 21, at 7:30. Writer and social commentator David Brooks has a few things to say on the matter of our existence.

Who he is You know how Sarah Palin uses catchy slogans and TV spots to spread her right-wing message? Brooks is the opposite kind of celebrity conservative. He writes intellectual columns for the New York Times, and even dared to say ‘Barack Obama should run for president’ back in 2006. (And not just because he hoped Obama would crash and burn. Because he actually liked the guy.)

Why he’s talking Back in 2001, Brooks wrote the social study Bobos in Paradise (think Stuff White People Like for the cocktail-party set). Now he’s releasing The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement (March 2011, Random House), which looks at the unconscious and social influences on a fictional American couple. He’ll talk about human nature and success—and why we’re not really in control of our destiny at all. Cheery thought! Tickets ($5) are available at the door starting at 6:30 (cash or check only).

Also this week Music journalist-turned-pickup artist Neil Strauss signs his new book Everyone Loves You When You’re Dead at the University Book Store at 7pm on Tuesday. Sci-fi goddess Ursula K. Le Guin reads her poetry at Seattle Public Library’s Central branch on Wednesday (free event), and Seattle’s Garth Stein, author of The Art of Racing in the Rain, is the featured guest at Thursday’s fundraising dinner Words Matter at the W Hotel, in support of Seattle Arts and Lectures. Tickets are $150.