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Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence Hardcover – October 8, 2013


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Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence + Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ + Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Harper (October 8, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062114867
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062114860
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (181 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,032 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Attention is a “little-noticed and underrated mental asset,” sorely tested among modern distractions but essential to success in work, play, relationships, and self-awareness, asserts Goleman, psychologist, journalist, and author of Emotional Intelligence (1995). In fact, the ability to focus, more than IQ or social background, is the key to performance and success. Neuroscience, case studies, and personal experience contribute to Goleman’s exploration of focus, which includes concentration, selective attention, open awareness, self-awareness, empathy, and systems awareness. He breaks them down to inner, other, and outer focus. Among examples of the significance of focus: a doctor’s ability to shut down emotions to focus on gory medical procedures; an epidemiologist’s attention to patterns and systems to track the human connections that lead to global pandemics; and a gamer’s focus on spatial perception, decision making, and ability to track objects. In commerce, education, sports, and personal life, Goleman offers concepts and techniques, including mindfulness and meditation, to train ourselves to be more focused, exercising those areas of the brain involved in focusing attention. An engaging, wide-ranging look at attention and intelligence. --Vanessa Bush

Review

“Daniel Goleman has surpassed himself in the breadth, depth, and readability ofthis fascinating meditation on what is most important for human, organizational, andplanetary flourishing. Focusshows us how to go about paying attention in all the ways that really matter.” (Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reductionand author of Mindfulness for BeginnersJon Kabat-Zinn, founder of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reductionand author of Mindfulness for BeginnersJon Kabat-Zinn, founder of Mindfulness-Based St)

“I’ve been studying attention for more than a decade, but I learned something new on every page of Focus. It is a powerful guide for taking control of our attention and will lead you to nothing less than taking control of your life.” (Tony Schwartz, author of The Power of Full Engagement and CEO of The Energy Project)

“With compelling insights, wide-ranging examples, and cutting-edge science, Daniel Goleman makes the convincing case that the ability to focus is a key to excellence, in both our personal and professional lives-and also explains how to boost that focus.” (Gretchen Rubin, bestselling author of The Happiness Project)

“Attention is so important that ordinary people take it for granted, while scientists subject it to microanalysis. Steering deftly between these extremes, Dan Goleman synthesizes what is known and what we need to know.” (Howard Gardner, John H. and Elisabeth A. Hobbs Professor of Cognitionand Education at the Harvard Graduate School of EducationHoward Garnder, John H. and Elizabeth A. Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Educati)

“Daniel Goleman has written the perfect prescription for today’s deficit of attention in business and life....Highly recommended!” (Chip Conley, founder of Joie de Vivre Hospitality and author of Peak and Emotional Equations)

“Goleman has provided a highly readable manifesto for turning our smartphones off once in a while.” (Financial Times)

More About the Author

DANIEL GOLEMAN is the author of the international bestsellers Emotional Intelligence, Working with Emotional Intelligence, and Social Intelligence, and the co-author of the acclaimed business bestseller Primal Leadership. He was a science reporter for the New York Times, was twice nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, and received the American Psychological Association's Lifetime Achievement Award for his media writing. He lives in the Berkshires.

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Customer Reviews

Very good well written book.
Robert f seeley jr
This is an excellent book that provides solutions and ideas to help with focus and concentration in our professional and personal lives.
Douglas L. Schmidt
The main problems he sees are all the pet issues of the left; global warming, wealth inequality, health care policy problems etc.
Luke Avedon

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

273 of 290 people found the following review helpful By Mark P. McDonald TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 8, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Daniel Goleman's writings about emotional intelligence (EQ) have become a central element of human resource and leadership development. That earlier work, its importance and wide scale adoption raised the bar for this book -- Focus. A bar that Goleman misses, not for the lack of ideas, but for the surprisingly disjointed approach and arguments of his chapters. Its a four star book - worth reading if you have the time, but its ok if you miss this one particularly if you have read other books about the brain, attention or social science. Here is why:

This book covers ground that others have already written about and explained. From the Stamford Marshmallow study to discussions about how the internet is rotting your brain, Goleman breaks little new ground nor offers really new advice or insight. If you have read other books about these subjects than take a pass as Goleman is late to the game.

There is little in the way of an actionable idea or framework in focus, beyond talking about the way the brain works top down or bottom-up. Unlike EQ, there is not simple way to practice or adoption. Sorry but there is no focus quotient or FQ -- probably for good reason -- but this is a major gap.

The overall book's organizations is more of a collection separate essays -- a compendium rather than a book which require great focus.

Sorry, this is a book that is worth reading, but not one worth putting to the top of your list -- like EQ
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184 of 195 people found the following review helpful By Big Data Paramedic VINE VOICE on August 6, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The book is well written with every chapter peppered with amusing examples and stories making it an interesting read. Most of us will agree that we are deluged by interruptions and distractions every step of the way. Be it the Email, or IM or text. Multiply by a factor of ten or hundred to see the interruptions a teenager faces. If any one had any doubt about the impact it is having on each one of us and the society as a whole, the book settles the issue.

But wait, how do I increase my focus ?

Do I do Yoga? . How do I effectively increase my focus while juggling between office work, Kids , pickup and drop off at school, Homework, Baseball,Watching NBA, America's Got Talent, shopping for Milk . Yes, superficial advice in the book like "walk in the nature" are good but they are not silver bullets. (Smart games > oh yeah, my kid will love it to improve Focus as he spends hours on it) The entire book reflects one side of the coin with no real solutions to improve focus. There are chapters on "Well focused Leader" .. It is a fact that the leaders get all the help, best training programs with or without reading the book...It is a common man like you and me who needs help .

The book would be a 4 star if it was written by anyone other than Goleman,but the benchmark set by him for himself in Emotional Intelligence: 10th Anniversary Edition makes me give this book three stars. Well, don't be disappointed. Do yourself a favor by reading other master pieces like
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73 of 80 people found the following review helpful By Aretae VINE VOICE on August 5, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I've been studying the topic of focus rather intently recently, trying to find new thinking in the area. I've read Pomodoro technique, Eat That Frog, was working on GTD, and so Goleman's book arriving just at the right time was a lovely surprise. The book starts with relatively laser-like focus on the eponymous title of the book. But after four or five chapters he drifts away. I loved the first section of the book. Really well done. But I came looking for a book on the topic of focus, and I found a book that riffed on several topics of interest to Goleman, many individually fascinating, but only peripherally related to the central idea of the book. In some books, that is a perfectly acceptable approach. With a book titled "Focus", that seems inexcusable.

I loved some other parts of the book. He talks better than I've ever heard someone talk about the 4-sigma empaths. He points out the limitations in the 10,000 hour rule around practice, and discusses eduation issues well. He discusses leadership. And he conlcueds by annoyingly riffing on economically illiterate sustainability issues at the end of the book.

He also hits a bunch of standard psychology topics, as with most modern popular psychology books, which becomes annoying when you've read the rest of them.

The first few chapters were clear and insightful enough to give the book 5 stars, had it continued as it was. If it had had just one digression into a topic like hyper-emotionally intelligent folks...it would also have been worth 5 stars. But the comprehensive lack of focus, and the annoying obligatory environmental bits at the end push it down to 3.5 stars.
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41 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Dennis Littrell HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 3, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
In part this book is aimed at helping readers become better at what they do. In this sense "Focus" is a sophisticated self-help book. Love what you do, do what you love and do it with focus and deliberate (and smart) practice and your life will be more rewarding.

In a larger sense this book is about saving the planet from the catastrophic threat of systems breakdown with reference to pollution, soil depletion and erosion, habitat destruction, global warming, etc.

The book is organized into seven parts. In the first, "The Anatomy of Attention," Goleman presents his ideas about "top-down" and "bottom up" drivers of behavior and how focus leads to "flow" which is "full absorption" in what we do. He makes a distinction between our attention being "hijacked" which leads to negative outcomes and our attention being deliberately allowed to drift, which leads to creative ideas. We find "balance" when we live our lives in harmony with periods of intense focus (but without undue stress) followed by periods of creative drift.

Goleman sees bottom-up drivers as coming from our more primitive brain modules and top down drivers as coming from the so-called higher brain modules such as the neocortex. These two systems must work in harmony for us to be successful and for us to be able to find and manage sustainable systems for the planet.

In Part II "Self-Aware" Goleman guides the reader toward seeing ourselves as others see us and gives a "recipe for self-control."

Part III "Reading Others" is mainly about what Goleman calls "The Empathy Triad," that is, three ways of being empathetic. Empathy comes from within ourselves and is partly the result of mirror neurons which allow us to feel what others are feeling.
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