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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.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
Published: Random House Publishing Group an imprint of Random House Publishing Group on Sep 26, 2006
ISBN: 9780553903195
List price: $11.99
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I've read Daniel Goleman's previous book, Emotional Intelligence, and I remembered that I enjoyed it but I couldn't quite remember why. By the end of Social Intelligence, I remembered his poignant message from the other book. We need to be good to one another because it is good for ourselves.What Goleman brought out with Emotional Intelligence, that being smart has less to do with your ability to score well on standardized exams and knowing the technicalities of your work and more to do with how you interact with others, is continued in Social Intelligence. You have to be able to read others, read the situation, and act in a way that will bring the most positive outcome while still (even if not immediately) benefiting yourself. It all seems like common sense, but these are skills that require time to learn.Social Intelligence continues on these themes, but with a neuroscience bent. Rather than relying on the theoretical aspects of psychology, Goleman here discusses the more scientific or biological side. When humans are social, things happen to our brains, receptors fire, different regions are activated during different kinds of interactions, to different facial expressions and body postures, and it all happens so fast, making our reactions instantaneous. This instant reaction is what he calls the low road, and the low road lives in those parts of the brain responsible for things like fear, anger, and altruism. Thinking about what to think takes more time, and this is the high road. The high road allows us to think about what the low road is telling us in order to discover what is happening.Goleman disperses sage advice amongst illuminating stories and chronicles of numerous scientific experiments done in the social neuroscience and psychology fields. It is not only an enlightening book, but also easy to read. Using real-life examples, I found it easy to see how the inner workings of the brain are shaped by and shape social interactions.For example, moods are contagious, be it an emotionally positive or negative experience. This low road contagion, however, can be overcome with a high road perception. Accurately identifying emotions and recognizing why they are happening allows us more control of social situations, thereby acting in an "emotionally intelligent" manner.Also, when people are able to experience rapport, a very smooth interaction with a strong feeling of liking, comfort, and harmony, their brain activities are very similar. The same regions are activated, their bodies move in unison, they even breathe in unison. The brain chemistries seem to communicate with each other.Goleman discusses the implications of social intelligence on interactions of all kinds, from personal and professional, to family and love. In addition, he points to the positive health consequences of being socially intelligent. He ends with the greater positive social consequences of using the I-You mentality rather than the I-It mentality.We are all better off as individuals, groups, cultures, and a global society when we act in socially intelligent ways. The rub is that this is easier said than done. Each of us has acted in ways that were not beneficial to the situation, to others, or to ourselves at one time or another. The important thing is to learn from these low road impulses by activating our high road for the empathy and compassion needed for well-being.Goleman used this quote and because of my affinity for all things Walt Whitman...In "I Sing the Body Electric"I have perceiv'd that to be with those I like is enough,To stop in company with the rest at evening is enough,To be surrounded by beautiful, curious, breathing, laughing flesh is enough...I do not ask any more delight, I swim in it as in a sea.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.I personally found this book to cover a poignant topic due to my own struggles with the low road. I sometimes recognized myself in the not-too-pleasant stories and personalities. The knowledge in this book has helped me better understand myself and my reactions. The problem remains in changing those reactions, becoming a more intelligent high road user. It is not something you can do quickly or easily. You have to wait for a complex and/or emotional social interaction to arise and then practice the best techniques to handle it. But when it's happening to you, it can be difficult to recognize you are being tested. We all have different experiences that have allowed for a more finely tuned social intelligence in one aspect or another, but the goal is to be able to remain on the high road perpetually, to enhance the calm, and to truly care about others.As I work my way through life, I try to find ways to make it an easier, happier existence for myself and for others around me. I fail miserably at times, but I succeed more often than not. It is sometimes difficult to forget my own emotions and realize the true situation. If I can stop for a minute and take a step back it helps, but in a high anxiety situation, it's hard to do. It's ironic how I like to know what's going on, yet find it difficult to be able to see it. In my quest to find ways to make life easier and society better, the message and knowledge in Social Intelligence will definitely help me. Now I practice.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
A very learned consideration of social intelligence that redefines Goleman's view of emotional intelligence. Full of interesting research but not as practical as karl Albrecht's book of the same name.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
A book that may have some really relevant ideas about how to maintain world peace, not just another self centered how to avoid stress and feel good as an individual. Interesting review from Librarythingers here, especially Carlie.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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Reviews

I've read Daniel Goleman's previous book, Emotional Intelligence, and I remembered that I enjoyed it but I couldn't quite remember why. By the end of Social Intelligence, I remembered his poignant message from the other book. We need to be good to one another because it is good for ourselves.What Goleman brought out with Emotional Intelligence, that being smart has less to do with your ability to score well on standardized exams and knowing the technicalities of your work and more to do with how you interact with others, is continued in Social Intelligence. You have to be able to read others, read the situation, and act in a way that will bring the most positive outcome while still (even if not immediately) benefiting yourself. It all seems like common sense, but these are skills that require time to learn.Social Intelligence continues on these themes, but with a neuroscience bent. Rather than relying on the theoretical aspects of psychology, Goleman here discusses the more scientific or biological side. When humans are social, things happen to our brains, receptors fire, different regions are activated during different kinds of interactions, to different facial expressions and body postures, and it all happens so fast, making our reactions instantaneous. This instant reaction is what he calls the low road, and the low road lives in those parts of the brain responsible for things like fear, anger, and altruism. Thinking about what to think takes more time, and this is the high road. The high road allows us to think about what the low road is telling us in order to discover what is happening.Goleman disperses sage advice amongst illuminating stories and chronicles of numerous scientific experiments done in the social neuroscience and psychology fields. It is not only an enlightening book, but also easy to read. Using real-life examples, I found it easy to see how the inner workings of the brain are shaped by and shape social interactions.For example, moods are contagious, be it an emotionally positive or negative experience. This low road contagion, however, can be overcome with a high road perception. Accurately identifying emotions and recognizing why they are happening allows us more control of social situations, thereby acting in an "emotionally intelligent" manner.Also, when people are able to experience rapport, a very smooth interaction with a strong feeling of liking, comfort, and harmony, their brain activities are very similar. The same regions are activated, their bodies move in unison, they even breathe in unison. The brain chemistries seem to communicate with each other.Goleman discusses the implications of social intelligence on interactions of all kinds, from personal and professional, to family and love. In addition, he points to the positive health consequences of being socially intelligent. He ends with the greater positive social consequences of using the I-You mentality rather than the I-It mentality.We are all better off as individuals, groups, cultures, and a global society when we act in socially intelligent ways. The rub is that this is easier said than done. Each of us has acted in ways that were not beneficial to the situation, to others, or to ourselves at one time or another. The important thing is to learn from these low road impulses by activating our high road for the empathy and compassion needed for well-being.Goleman used this quote and because of my affinity for all things Walt Whitman...In "I Sing the Body Electric"I have perceiv'd that to be with those I like is enough,To stop in company with the rest at evening is enough,To be surrounded by beautiful, curious, breathing, laughing flesh is enough...I do not ask any more delight, I swim in it as in a sea.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.I personally found this book to cover a poignant topic due to my own struggles with the low road. I sometimes recognized myself in the not-too-pleasant stories and personalities. The knowledge in this book has helped me better understand myself and my reactions. The problem remains in changing those reactions, becoming a more intelligent high road user. It is not something you can do quickly or easily. You have to wait for a complex and/or emotional social interaction to arise and then practice the best techniques to handle it. But when it's happening to you, it can be difficult to recognize you are being tested. We all have different experiences that have allowed for a more finely tuned social intelligence in one aspect or another, but the goal is to be able to remain on the high road perpetually, to enhance the calm, and to truly care about others.As I work my way through life, I try to find ways to make it an easier, happier existence for myself and for others around me. I fail miserably at times, but I succeed more often than not. It is sometimes difficult to forget my own emotions and realize the true situation. If I can stop for a minute and take a step back it helps, but in a high anxiety situation, it's hard to do. It's ironic how I like to know what's going on, yet find it difficult to be able to see it. In my quest to find ways to make life easier and society better, the message and knowledge in Social Intelligence will definitely help me. Now I practice.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
A very learned consideration of social intelligence that redefines Goleman's view of emotional intelligence. Full of interesting research but not as practical as karl Albrecht's book of the same name.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
A book that may have some really relevant ideas about how to maintain world peace, not just another self centered how to avoid stress and feel good as an individual. Interesting review from Librarythingers here, especially Carlie.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
This is a really interesting book that covers a lot of interesting subjects such as education, romantic love, juvenile detention centers, jails, and so much more. I will definitely be listening to it several times.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Not as good as Emotional Intelligence, also by Goleman. I expected more concrete advice & information, less academic exposition.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I usually don't finish non-fiction, but I read almost all of this book. I enjoyed the exploration of of neurological mechanisms behind social interactions, the science of why a certain interaction can just feel "off". I also liked Goleman's broader worldview- that violence and distrust are encouraged not innate. The last chunk of the book deals with how stress hormones, such as cortisol, affect the body's ability to fend off illness, showing a direct correlation between oppression and ill health. This information has been explored in a variety of other books, among them Bowling Alone and Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers, but Goleman does a good job of tying it in to his other observations on social intelligence and how one's possession of it can have a positive effect on one's own health and the health of the community.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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