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Young Christian Influences Big Name Journalist

A young Christian named Anne Snyder spent her first three years after college trying to break into the world of journalism while trying to serve Christ through her career. Then she landed a dream job. David Brooks, a nationally known columnist with The New York Times, hired Anne to be his research assistant. She acted as his sounding board, reading early drafts of his columns and offering story ideas.

Anne is exceedingly intelligent and articulate, so it wasn't a surprise. But it was surprising that this young, professionally green evangelical Christian was working so closely with Brooks, an influential public voice, prominent journalist, thought leader, and non-Christian.

Fast-forward to mid-2015. The same David Brooks released a critically acclaimed book, The Road to Character. In the beginning of Brooks' acknowledgement page he offered this glowing honor to his new research assistant, Anne Snyder:

Anne C. Snyder was there when this book was born and walked with me through the first three years of its writing. This was first conceived as a book about cognition and decision making. Under Anne's influence, it became a book about morality and inner life. She led dozens of discussions about the material, assigned me reading from her own bank of knowledge, challenged the superficiality of my thinking in memo after memo and transformed the project … I have certainly stolen many of her ideas and admired the gracious and morally rigorous way she lives her life. If there are any important points in this book, they probably come from Anne.

Of course there's a story behind this acknowledgement: Anne's vibrant faith—and her God-given brilliance, uncompromising work ethic, and extensive reading list—had influenced Mr. Brooks in a profound, and relevant, way. Her faithful presence made a difference. In good faith, Anne made Christianity a little more relevant to one person, who happens to write bestselling books and a regular column for The New York Times.

Editor’s Note: Although we do not know all the facts, it is publich knowledge that Brooks and his wife divorced and he married this research assistant.

Adapted from David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons, Good Faith (Baker Books, 2016), pages 35-27

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