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Social Intelligence in South Beach

Social Intelligence in South Beach

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Published by davidwalters
Cultivating social intelligence at Joe's Stone Crab Take Away was too odorous for me.
Cultivating social intelligence at Joe's Stone Crab Take Away was too odorous for me.

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Published by: davidwalters on Nov 12, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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12/02/2013

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SOCIAL INTELLIGENCE IN SOUTH BEACH BY DAVID ARTHUR WALTERS
“What are you reading?” asked a young man sitting a few seats over from me at
 the counter at
Joe‟s
Stone Crab Take Away in South Beach.
Social Intelligence
,
The New Science of Human Relationships
,” I said,
 
“by Daniel Goleman.”
 
“What‟s it about?”
 
It‟s another popular take off on the ancient I
-
We thing,” I said.
 
“What thing?”
 
 
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2
 of
4
 
You know, the I-We thing, the thing about what the nature of the relationship or balance  between the individual and the group or society should be. This author emphasizes the We. He thinks we individuals nowadays should be more compassionate and caring about others and less selfish if we want to be happy. There is really nothing new about it except how he dresses it up with references to works of modern experts. He comes down on the We side, going so far as to cite something that Walt Whitman wrote that would really disgust
individualists.”
 
“What‟s that?”
 
There is something in staying close to men and women and looking on them, and in the contact and odor of them, that pleases the soul well. All things please the soul, but these please the soul well 
.”
 
“Can I look at it?”
 
“Sure,” I said, and slid the book over the counter towards him. “It‟s old wine in a new bottle. A
writer can make a fortune on it if he has the right agent and publisher. Bantam published this one.
 
“You‟re a writer?”
 
“Yes, but I write
 because I love to write. I never try to market my work. As for the odor of  people, I cannot stand smelling them. That
s for people overseas who do not wear deodorants and like to smell each other. I read that an Arab might remark to someone at work that his breath smelled like he ought to see a doctor right away.
 
 Nonsense: I have travelled.
 
Do women use underarm deodorant and shave their legs in France?
 
Yes.
I‟m writing a book on travel.”
 He explained to me that he given a very good job in Ohio to travel all over Europe. He wound up in Panama, where he had gone into real estate, and was now in South Beach, working for
Sotheby‟s, up Was
hington Avenue from Joe
s Take Away.
“Travel
ogues have been popular throughout the history of literature,
 I recalled to keep the conversation alive.
The Adventures of Marco Polo
was a best seller. Traveling used to be considered a means of education.
 
I loved travelling.
 
A friend of mine travelled about Europe when he was discharged from the service, and he still talks about it decades later. He was an artist, so he supported himself drawing things on T-shirts and selling them on the streets. I would rather read travel books than travel myself. Does your
 
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4
 
travel book have a lot of pictures? People are graphic today. They want to look at pictures
instead of reading descriptions.”
 
“Oh, I didn‟t think about that. Good idea. I know a great photographer,” he said, leaving me to
wonder if he had written anything at all, for how would he get a photographer to retrace his  journeys. Maybe he is coming on to me, I thought; one never knows in South Beach.
“This is superficial writing,” he remarked, thumbing through
Social Intelligence
.
“Indeed. It‟s a money maker. It was going for thirty
-dollars a pop in 2006. I paid a buck for it yesterday. He is a best-selling author. Maybe he got a half-million off this book.
 
“A friend of mine
 said he made a lot of money on a book because all the libraries bought a
copy.”
 
“You mentioned you worked for Sotheby‟s. Now there is quite a story, how a
newspaper
 journalist came up with ideas that made Sotheby‟
s a fortune in the art world, popularized the art  business. Stanley Clark was his name, a heavy set man, I recall, not very neat looking
.”
 
“Now we‟re doing it with real estate.”
 It occurred to me that
Social Intelligence
 was a good book to carry around as a conversation  piece. Maybe I should get a copy of
 Emotional Intelligence
 to go with it. Perhaps I would eventually become a happier member of society if not more intelligent, the socialist hypothesis  being that intelligence is more social than individual. The young salesman proceeded to press me for personal information. Was I retired? Did I own  properties on the beach? Did I live year-round on the beach? Did I have good friends who lived on the beach? I made the mistake of saying that my best friend lived on the beach, and was currently with her ex-husband, who came down to help her with some business.
“We are showing some nice units in a building this afternoon he would be interested in.”
 
“No, his investments are in London. The family would never invest in Florida. They do not l
ike it. They consider Florida to be a trashy investment. He would not
take “no” for answer, said he had a big contact in London, kept pushing and
 pushing, wrote down his contact info in my book, and said to be sure to contact him. After I parted company with my new acquaintance, I scanned a few pages from
Social  Intelligence
 and emailed them to him.

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