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Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships [Paperback]

Daniel Goleman
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

July 31 2007
Emotional Intelligence was an international phenomenon, appearing on the New York Times bestseller list for over a year and selling more than five million copies worldwide. Now, once again, Daniel Goleman has written a groundbreaking synthesis of the latest findings in biology and brain science, revealing that we are “wired to connect” and the surprisingly deep impact of our relationships on every aspect of our lives.

Far more than we are consciously aware, our daily encounters with parents, spouses, bosses, and even strangers shape our brains and affect cells throughout our bodies—down to the level of our genes—for good or ill. In Social Intelligence, Daniel Goleman explores an emerging new science with startling implications for our interpersonal world. Its most fundamental discovery: we are designed for sociability, constantly engaged in a “neural ballet” that connects us brain to brain with those around us.

Our reactions to others, and theirs to us, have a far-reaching biological impact, sending out cascades of hormones that regulate everything from our hearts to our immune systems, making good relationships act like vitamins—and bad relationships like poisons. We can “catch” other people’s emotions the way we catch a cold, and the consequences of isolation or relentless social stress can be life-shortening. Goleman explains the surprising accuracy of first impressions, the basis of charisma and emotional power, the complexity of sexual attraction, and how we detect lies. He describes the “dark side” of social intelligence, from narcissism to Machiavellianism and psychopathy. He also reveals our astonishing capacity for “mindsight,” as well as the tragedy of those, like autistic children, whose mindsight is impaired.

Is there a way to raise our children to be happy? What is the basis of a nourishing marriage? How can business leaders and teachers inspire the best in those they lead and teach? How can groups divided by prejudice and hatred come to live together in peace?

The answers to these questions may not be as elusive as we once thought. And Goleman delivers his most heartening news with powerful conviction: we humans have a built-in bias toward empathy, cooperation, and altruism–provided we develop the social intelligence to nurture these capacities in ourselves and others.

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Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships + Emotional Intelligence: 10th Anniversary Edition; Why It Can Matter More Than IQ + Working with Emotional Intelligence
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

In this companion volume to his bestseller, Emotional Intelligence, Goleman persuasively argues for a new social model of intelligence drawn from the emerging field of social neuroscience. Describing what happens to our brains when we connect with others, Goleman demonstrates how relationships have the power to mold not only human experience but also human biology. In lucid prose he describes from a neurobiological perspective sexual attraction, marriage, parenting, psychopathic behaviors and the group dynamics of teachers and workers. Goleman frames his discussion in a critique of society's creeping disconnection in the age of the iPod, constant digital connectivity and multitasking. Vividly evoking the power of social interaction to influence mood and brain chemistry, Goleman discusses the "toxicity" of insult and unpleasant social experience as he warns of the dangers of self-absorption and poor attention and reveals the positive effects of feel-good neurochemicals that are released in loving relationships and in caregiving. Drawing on numerous studies, Goleman illuminates new theories about attachment, bonding, and the making and remaking of memory as he examines how our brains are wired for altruism, compassion, concern and rapport. The massive audience for Emotional Intelligence will revel in Goleman's latest passionately argued case for the benefits to society of empathetic social attunement. (Oct. 3)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"Passionately argued … lucid."—Publishers Weekly


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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A useful book for everyone June 28 2007
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I like it when a science writer (NYTimes) is also a smart scientist. This was a surprisingly good read considering I never did finish his Emotional Intelligence book. The core thesis is that social intelligence was developed as humans lived in social groups and it allowed us to identify leaders etc and live together. In our brains there are apparently two routes that this follows , the very fast reactive, (gut instinct) low route and the slower analytical higher route. Since I have at times been accused of diminished social intelligence, I had probably had lots of room to grow in this direction. He covers development stages from post natal through to adulthood, fascinating stuff as I recognized behaviors that my children had exhibited in the fist few months of life. He shows applicability of the research in schools, healthcare , politics and the work force. This is also a personal lifestyle book with lots of applicability to HR departments and leadership. Its a good size, very readable and it flows well. I recommend it
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wow April 22 2014
By Adam
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I wasn't expecting what I got. I am amazed at how much information this man can cram into a book. Daniel Goleman is one of those authors who has the knack and capacity for wowing the audience time and again. I'm very happy I made this purchase. I'm only halfway through and I will say that the only thing I dislike about the book is that it will eventually - inevitably - come to an end. It's something I will read again at a later date because I'm positive there are things I would have missed or forgot.
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Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  149 reviews
61 of 66 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Being smart in relationships or understanding our neural circuitry Dec 1 2006
By Brant - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This is an easy to read book that will verify what you may have already noticed and couldn't put your finger on. Backed by new and hard science, innumerable studies and experiments, Dr. Goleman weaves a picture of everyday life that is profoundly affected by our natural empathy for other human beings. Dr. Goleman provides a road map for developing social awareness and facility.

Dr. Goleman describes the interdependence of nature and nurture. He discusses our brains' capacity to read and map what is going on within another person. Our social brain is triggered by mirroring neurons that instantaneously and unconsciously align themselves with those we are with. Our genes are designed to express themselves when triggered by a matching external social stimulus. If our parents worry about the future we worry about the future whether or not they said worrisome things out loud, the worry was transmitted unconsciously. Most of what we know about interacting with others is learned. So according to Dr. Goleman what you may not have learned when younger can be learned. This book makes it possible to see the world of human relationships as a field of new possibilities and gives us a lot to ponder about the state of our culture and what we might do about it and ourselves.

"How to Create Magical Relationships", written by Ariel and Shya Kane, is a great companion book to "Social Intelligence". This book is very down to earth with stories and examples of how people's lives and relationships have transformed. They offer a living example of social intelligence and ignite the possibility of everyone having magical relationships. The Kanes value living in the present with non-judgmental awareness. Their style and delivery are very practical. Using real world examples and illustrations from their own experience, they make a life filled with excellence, well being, and passion a vivid possibility for everyone.
268 of 309 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Lacks coherence Nov. 25 2006
By Kristin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I heard an interview with Daniel Goleman on NPR and thought this book sounded fascinating. Goleman explained that research into neuroscience was exploding, and that researchers had recently discovered biological, chemical and structural aspects of the brain that correspond to fluency in social interactions. When people strongly connect in social situations, the chemical activity in each person's brain actually synchs up with the other participants'. This causes a ripple effect throughout the body, causing greater and greater physiological connections. A person with high "social intelligence" has this effect to a much greater degree than others; an charimatic person can affect the physiology of a crowd of hundreds or even thousands. Goleman claims that such research will have a profound effect on the theory of social interactions and interpersonal relationships.

Unfortunately, the ten-minute interview was much more interesting and informative than the book. After making that basic point in the first five pages in the introduction, Goleman wanders incoherently from topic to topic, with no attempt at all to structure a cohesive argument or to draw any overarching conclusions from the material he discusses. Instead, each chapter consists of a series of only loosely related anecdotes that supposedly correspond to one research study or another. Goleman makes no attempt to explain the connections between these subsections or to thread them together into a coherent whole. Indeed, the entire book consists almost entirely of a series of examples, but Goleman never explains what the examples are supposed to be illustrating.

I found it impossible to read this book straight through. It's as if Goleman knew that most of the readers would just flip the book open at random and read a tiny snippet here and there. If the book is approached in that manner, a reader might think that the book looks pretty interesting and conclude that there must be something there. Goleman must have been banking on the fact that most people would not go beyond such superficial browsing. As someone who made a sincere attempt to read the book straight through, I actually feel deceived.
186 of 214 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Textbook on Human Communication Oct. 10 2006
By Lissa Coffey, Host of coffeytalk.com - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I am a huge fan of Daniel Goleman. He's the bestselling author who coined the term "Emotional Intelligence" with his 1995 book of the same name. Now he's got a new book, "Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships." Social intelligence is the ability to read other people's cues and then act on them. Life is all about relationships, and there is a science to how we relate to each other. It's fascinating to see how Goleman breaks down each aspect of communication. We can learn how to more effectively express ourselves so that we feel understood. And we can learn how to better "read" other people so that we can better understand. This helps to improve our interactions and ultimately strengthen our relationships. He talks about "synchrony" or interacting smoothly at the nonverbal level, which is an important, yet often overlooked, part of relating. Goleman also scientifically explains "the capacity for joy" and how that affects our social intelligence. He shows how our resilience plays an important role in our happiness, which comes into play as we express ourselves to others.
102 of 122 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WOW- Every Page is WORTHWHILE Dec 2 2006
By Richad of Connecticut - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I read a book a day, and have for 30 years. I sometimes read a book looking for that one scintillating page, sometimes it's just a paragraph, in some books only a sentence. I begin by reading the inside cover of the book. I then scan the preface, and turn to any random page usually deep in the book. I start to read. Whether something strikes my fancy or not, I turn to another page somewhere else in the book. I probably look at five pages this way. Within those five pages, I can tell if I am going to like this book.

With Goleman's Social Intelligence, every page was fascinating. I literally had difficulty putting it down. This whole book is jam-packed with fabulous and interesting information on topics, which I feel are important to all of us as human beings. Some of this material has been covered in other places in other ways. When Goleman covers it, it seems so fresh.

His work seems to indicate that as human beings, we are DESIGNED FOR SOCIALIBILITY. Our emotions are CONTAGIOUS. Now there's a thought I have never thought about. You can catch a cold; we all know that. What I didn't know is that I could literally catch somebody's emotional state.

Yes, I know that classically trained psychoanalysts go through "transference issues" with their patients. That's not the point. What about being in a room with a group of very down people, and your soul picks up on it and accommodates them by making you depressed. This is what Goleman is writing about, and he gives example after example. The difference is that the author uses the phrase, "TOXIC PEOPLE".

I have been fortunate in many of the friendships I have formed through the years. One of my friends is among the brightest people on earth. He is categorized as Mensa, Mensa, the top 1% of 1% of geniuses on earth. Several years ago when I was describing a relationship I had with another person, he said something so profound that it transformed me immediately. He said, "You know, you think you can reach down into the murk, and pull that person out. You can't, you never will, THEY PULL YOU IN." He was so right, so penetrating, so spot on dead accurate. You can't change TOXIC PEOPLE, and Goleman writes about this. They change you. You simply have to AVOID THEM.

I loved Goleman's story of "Yacht Envy". He talked about being on a magnificent yacht in the Mediterranean Sea. Each person on board had a room fit for a king. The yacht was a converted commercial vessel of some kind, but beautifully decked out. On the coffee table in each room was a copy of a very special book on the world's most beautiful yachts. There was a piece of paper pointing to a certain page in the book, and on that page was a multiage color layout of the very yacht you were on.

Goleman talks about how everybody felt so fortunate to be on this beautiful craft. Suddenly one morning, as the guests climbed the stairs to the deck, they saw this other yacht four times longer than the yacht they were on, close by. It absolutely dwarfed the ship they had all thought so highly of, and then there was the tender. The tender is an auxiliary ship used to service the yacht they were looking at. It brings provisions and other goods to the yacht. The tender was bigger than the yacht they were on. The author ends the story by saying, "Is there such a thing as YACHT ENVY."

What you will learn from this book will blow you away. Some of the topics that I find fascinating and covered in detail in Social Intelligence include:

· Nourishing relationships

· Reshaping our brains with enriching personal relationships

· Forthrightness is the brain's DEFAULT response

· People lying begin verbalizing 2/10ths of a second later than truth tellers

· A new explanation for Jung's concept of synchronicity

I will leave you with this thought. You are probably familiar with MRI. The doctors use them medically to find tumors and so forth. There is a more complex machine called an fMRI which brain investigators are doing mind-boggling research with. As an example if you are wired up, and all of a sudden are expressing anger over something, a researcher can look at an MRI and see precisely what parts of the brain are lighting up during the emotional outburst. You can just guess at the possibilities of this work. It is covered thoroughly in this book as is over 100 other fabulous concepts. Read it, delight yourself, and don't put it down. Social Intelligence is COMPELLING.

Richard Stoyeck
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars To get the most out of social intelligence July 24 2008
By Eliza - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
For Goleman fans, who seek an in-depth coverage of the scientific
research behind social intelligence, this book will satisfy. It can be an essential resource for researchers and human development practitioners, but may have less appeal for those seeking a more applied, "how-to" explanation. Goleman provides lots of scientific tidbits, but little advice on how to actually describe, assess, or teach social intelligence as a set of practical competencies. As with his first book, "Emotional Intelligence: Why It May Be More Important than IQ," educators and business users will find it necessary to develop their own methods for application.

It's worth noting that this book was published a year after the publication of Dr. Karl Albrecht's book, "Social Intelligence: the New Science of Success." Albrecht's book offers a more practical, "street level" treatment of the subject, with a five-point descriptive model of social intelligence, ("S.P.A.C.E.," which stands for Situational Awareness, Presence, Authenticity, Clarity, and Empathy) and a primary focus on how those dimensions can be measured and developed.

Recommendation: read both books.
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