Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships

Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships

Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships

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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3 Comments so far »

  1. Brant "Joseph" said,

    Wrote on April 20, 2012 @ 3:52 am

    45 of 48 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Being smart in relationships or understanding our neural circuitry, December 1, 2006
    By 
    Brant “Joseph” (Brooklyn, NY) –

    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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  2. Lissa Coffey, Host of coffeytalk.com "DoshaDiva" said,

    Wrote on April 20, 2012 @ 4:22 am

    176 of 202 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    A Textbook on Human Communication, October 10, 2006
    Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)

    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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  3. Kristin said,

    Wrote on April 20, 2012 @ 5:04 am

    197 of 227 people found the following review helpful
    1.0 out of 5 stars
    Lacks coherence, November 25, 2006
    By 
    Kristin (surfside, ca, United States) –
    (VINE VOICE)
      
    (REAL NAME)
      

    Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)

    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.

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