David Brooks apparently no longer has any editor at all. He must have taken to writing his own headlines, anyway, because no professional could have composed this one:
Startling? Yes, I think it's a typo. But maybe not. After all, his proposal for what to do about social alienation in the crisis of very-late capitalism, when an ever more desperate struggle to stay afloat leaves us little time, and increasingly vicious competition makes us perhaps less inclined, to make emotional connections, is—well—"startling" might be just the right word:
Shorter David Brooks, "Startling Adult Friendships:There Are Social and Political Benefits to Having Friends", New York Times, 9/19/2014:
I know! Let's send everybody to adult summer camp!