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Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships Hardcover – September 26, 2006


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; 1 edition (September 26, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553803522
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553803525
  • Product Dimensions: 1.4 x 6.5 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (142 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #209,554 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

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.

From Scientific American

We all recognize a special capacity that humans have—some more so than others—to connect with others in a deep and direct way. We see this quality expressed by a performer revving a crowd, a doctor healing a patient or a mother putting a child to sleep. To orchestrate these tasks, a person must sense and stimulate the reactions and mood of another. In 1995 Daniel Goleman, a Harvard University–trained psychologist and writer for the New York Times, published Emotional Intelligence, in which he discussed the human ability "to manage our own emotions and inner potential for positive relationships." Now he goes a step further. In Social Intelligence, he enlarges his scope to encompass our human abilities to connect with one another. "We are wired to connect," Goleman says. "Neuroscience has discovered that our brain’s very design makes it sociable, inexorably drawn into an intimate brain-to-brain linkup whenever we engage with another person. That neural bridge lets us affect the brain—and so the body—of everyone we interact with, just as they do us." Each encounter between people primes the emotions. This neurological pas de deux stimulates our nervous systems, affecting hormones, heart rate, circulation, breathing and the immune system. Goleman peppers his discourse with anecdotes to illustrate the power of social intelligence. From the countertop of Rosie Garcia, a multitasking baker in New York’s Grand Central Terminal, to the tantrum-tainted class of a Texas teacher, he shows how social sensitivity and wisdom can profoundly reshape conflicts. In one encounter in Iraq, a quick-witted U.S. commander turned a Muslim mob’s threats into laughter when he ordered his soldiers to kneel, lower rifl es and smile—averting a potentially fatal clash. Goleman deftly discusses relevant neural pathways, including the thalamus and amygdala, which together regulate sensory and arousal stimuli. He speaks of spindle cells, which rapidly process social decisions; of mirror neurons, which sense another’s movements; of dopamine neurons, which react to pleasure-inducing neurotransmitters that flow freely while two lovers gaze. The author’s introductory tour through this emerging research landscape helps readers grasp core concepts of social neuroscience, illustrating abstractions with poignant anecdotes, without excessive jargon. Goleman also explains how such research may influence our lives. Given our socially reactive brains, we must "be wise," he says, and be aware of the ways that our moods influence the biology of each life we touch.

Rick Lipkin


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.

Customer Reviews

I've listened to the audio book at least 5 times.
Michael Lloyd
The identification by Dr. Goleman of the situational functioning of specific parts of the brain in this regard is quite stunning.
RSProds
I believe it was well written, and it was a very interesting topic.
AvidReader

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

60 of 65 people found the following review helpful By Brant on December 1, 2006
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.
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263 of 303 people found the following review helpful By Kristin on November 25, 2006
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.
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185 of 213 people found the following review helpful By Lissa Coffey, Host of coffeytalk.com VINE VOICE on October 10, 2006
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.
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101 of 121 people found the following review helpful By Richad of Connecticut VINE VOICE on December 2, 2006
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.
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