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Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships

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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.

403 pages, Hardcover

First published January 1, 2006

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About the author

Daniel Goleman

274 books4,559 followers
Author of Emotional Intelligence and psychologist Daniel Goleman has transformed the way the world educates children, relates to family and friends, and conducts business. The Wall Street Journal ranked him one of the 10 most influential business thinkers.

Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence was on The New York Times best sellers list for a year-and-a-half. Named one of the 25 "Most Influential Business Management Books" by TIME, it has been translated into 40 languages. The Harvard Business Review called emotional intelligence (EI) “a revolutionary, paradigm-shattering idea.”

Goleman’s new book, Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence, argues that attention — a fundamental mental ability for success — has come under siege. Leadership that gets results demands a triple focus: on our inner world so we can manage ourselves; on others, for our relationships; and on the outer forces that shape our organizations and society itself.

His more recent books include The Brain and Emotional Intelligence, and Leadership: The Power of Emotional Intelligence - Selected Writings.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 478 reviews
Profile Image for Seth Jenson.
110 reviews19 followers
June 27, 2011
Here are some interesting quotes from the book:

“When someone dumps their toxic feelings on us, explodes in anger or threats, shows disgust or contempt, they activate in us circuity for those very same distressing emotions. Their act has potent neurological consequences. Emotions are contagious. We catch strong emotions much as we do a rhino virus, and so can come down with an emotional cold. Every social interaction has an emotional subtext. Along with whatever else we are doing, we can make each other feel a little better, or even a lot better. Or, a little worse, or a lot worse…”

If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.
-Marcus Aurelius

I also found the following facts very interesting:
-Those with an ongoing personal conflict are 2.5 times more likely to get a cold.
-Ongoing personal conflict puts people in the same category as vitamin c deficiency or lack of sleep.
-4.2 times more likely to get a cold if you are isolated and have few social connections.
Profile Image for Don.
380 reviews7 followers
December 3, 2008
In my ongoing exploration of emotional intelligence, I decided to give this book a try in an effort to build my own skills at recognizing and responding to social situations. I learned early into reading this that I had chosen the wrong book. Goleman goes into a fair amount of depth explaining the neurological basis for our emotional reactions to social stimuli, but doesn't extend the discussion to how we can build the ability to read social situations and modulate our own behaviors and responses to elicit a desired outcome. Admittedly, once I realized my error I skimmed the rest of the book, so I may have missed something.
Profile Image for imane.
463 reviews379 followers
April 17, 2021
الشعرة الرقيقة بين السذاجة والطيبة هي نفس الشعرة بين النفاق والذكاء الاجتماعي
السذاجة هي انك لا تعرف من هم البشر الطيبة هي تعرف من هم وتراهم وتفعل الخير لوجه الله
النفاق هي الفهلوة والتملق والكذب من اجل الحصول على مصلحة دنيوية الذكاء الاجتماعي هي معرفة وفهم الطبيعة البشرية وحسن التعامل والمداراة والمرونة في التعامل للحصول على مصلحة دنيوية واخروية

البعض يقولون ان الذكاء الاجتماعي جاء من الماسونية ان تكون سياسي دبلوماسي مرن واكثر الاشخاص الاذكياء اجتماعيا هم رجال السياسة رجال الاعمال
والنرجيسيون دهاة شكلهم حلو ولسانهم حلو يعرفون متى واين وكيف وماذا يقولون في الوقت المناسب
طبعا ليس مطلوب منك ان تصبح مثلهم داهية لكن على الاقل يجب ان تفهم الطبيعة البشرية وتتصرف وفقها. هناك امور حتى لو بدت حقيقة فانها لا تقال وهناك امور حتى لو شعرت انه عليك فعلها لا يجب فعلها
الانطوائيون لديهم ذكاء منطقي وربما ذكاء رياضي لكن عندما يتعلق الامر بالتعامل مع البشر فهم يتصرفون كالمتوحدين قد يقولون امور لا ينبغي قولها او يتصرفون تصرفات ساذجة تجلب الضرر لانفسهم
في عالم البشر يجب ان تفهم لغة الكواليس تلك اللغة وراء الكلمات والاشارات ويجب ان تتحرك الحركة الصحيحة في الوقت المناسب

Profile Image for Melissa.
29 reviews
December 22, 2022
This book is very fascinating to me. It is research is neurobiology and is filled with wonderful research and data about how different parts of our brain affect change in our social behavior. It also has quite a bit of research about how early trauma effects brain development and can later effect styles of communication.

I think this should be required reading for all 10th graders. I say 10th graders because I believe they are at the place developmentally to really absorb and implement what Goleman is saying.

I wish I had read it in 10th grade. My life would have taken a different trajectory.

I always think about how the classroom should focus more on "social politics" if you will or a course called "what really matter" or "what they didn't tell you on the SAT's".....

Because at the end of the days it is one's ability to navigate complex social structures that affords one "success" in most economic and social systems.
Profile Image for Lulu.
11 reviews
Want to read
June 29, 2008
My friend and I started reading this book at exactly the same time, one year ago. I made a comment to him over coffee 2 or 3 weeks ago about some trivia I had gleaned from Social Intelligence, and asked what he thought of that particular chapter. His reply was priceless (on many levels). He sighed and whispered "I am STILL reading it!". I leaned in an whispered, "SO AM I!". We agreed completely on these points: 1. This book is not good enough to devour, but not bad enough to give up on. 2. Either both of us, seemingly intellectual minds, are not quite as intellectual as we believe OR this book is simply a shell game. 3. We will never finish the book. Oddly enough, we are living proof of many of the points Daniel Goleman is attempting to make...the longer two people interact....they mirror one another. The irony of it all!
Profile Image for Emre Turkmen.
75 reviews17 followers
September 28, 2021
Herkesin okurken kendi iç dünyasına yolculuk edeceği, kendi duygularıyla yüzleşeceği bir kitap✌️👌
Profile Image for Polly Trout.
43 reviews22 followers
July 11, 2008
Goleman and I share a common passion for the places where spiritual practice and psychology overlap, and his work fascinates me. In both "Emotional Intelligence" and Social Intelligence" he shows how we can use our conscious minds to rewire our neurological response patterns, thus increasing the quality of our lives. In other books, Goleman explicitly talks about his belief that spiritual practices, like meditation or chanting, work because they rewire neural circuits along healthier pathways. This book does not deal with it directly, but if you understand that framework it provides a lot of food for thought along those lines.

For example, Goleman discusses "The Three Styles of Attachment," which are partly inherited and partly sculpted by social/parental influences in infancy and early childhood. He writes,

"Our childhood leaves its stamp on our adult ardor nowhere more clearly than in our "attachment system," the neural networks that operate whenever we relate to the people who matter the most to us. As we have seen, children who are well nurtured and feel their caretakers to empathize with them become secure in their attachments, neither overly clingy nor pushing away. But those whose parents neglect their feelings and who feel ignored become avoidant, as though they have given up hope of achieving a caring connection. And children whose parents are ambivalent, unpredictably flipping from rage to tenderness, become anxious and insecure."

So the three attachment styles are anxious, secure, and avoidant.

It is interesting to compare this theory side by side with the Buddhist theory (also found in some strains of Hindu philosophy, like the Yoga Sutras) that in order to become fully established in wisdom and compassion, we need to transcend both attachment and aversion. I think some people misinterpret this to mean that we need to cultivate emotional aloofness, an "avoidant attachment style" in the above paradigm. I think it is more useful to see the middle path as analogous to the "secure" attachment style -- centered, grounded, and avoiding the two extremes of clinginess (attachment) and aloofness (aversion). The secure attachment style allows us to enjoy both intimacy and solitude. The anxious person clings fearfully to intimacy and is not able to learn how to joyfully embrace solitude, while the avoidant person is unable to fully experience intimacy. The secure person joyfully embraces bothy intimacy and solitude because she knows how to stay centered in the radiant core of her true being.

I personally believe that we have both biological and spiritual dimensions, as does all of life. Goleman's work interests me because it gives me concrete ideas for how to more effectively tinker with my biological self, so that I can more fully live in my spiritual self.
Profile Image for Blerina.
35 reviews10 followers
December 30, 2012
Anyone interested in understanding of why we feel what we feel, and what happens in our brains in different social circumstances and social interaction should read this book.
The examples Goleman brings here are those we witness everyday everywhere. Reading this book has helped me a lot to reconsider in a wiser way how my behaviours are affecting others around me and vice-versa. It has a lot of research data that some might also find it tedious.
As somewhere at the end of the book says, simply put, know how to 'act wisely'.
Profile Image for Anna Andres.
38 reviews1 follower
December 15, 2017
Its a book about a concept invented by Daniel Goleman: "Social Intelligence". Too shallow and academic, it does not actually explain the specific details for becoming socially intelligent. One of those bla bla bla books.
19 reviews2 followers
July 27, 2011
This book is supposed to be the sequel to Emotional Intelligence. Goleman further argues that IQ is a poor way of gauging intelligence or how successful someone will be in life. This book is full of neuro-science, brain physiology and psychological studies involving children, medical and psychological patients, inmates and ordinary people. He explores such ideas as emotional contagion, social rewiring of abused and neglected youths, the Us vs. Them mindset, how humans form attachments to others, facial expressions and autism, romance and how our social well being affects our biology and physical well being. An overarching theme in this book is that our early social experiences with our parents and family and friends in childhood dramatically affect our temperaments and the ways in which we react to various social encounters, but that this is not destiny, that it can be changed. It was a pretty good read if psychology interests you.
May 31, 2021
Super heavy on science so some parts were a bit of a sludge. But if you can get past the monotonous stating of facts, then there's a lot of depth in the topics being discussed; especially regarding human relationships. As you read this book, you realise how much of our biology (physical health) is influenced by the people we interact with, whether they are our colleagues, family or friends. If you're interested in psychology (specifically neuroscience, developmental and social psychology) and want to know more about learn relationships, then I'd recommend the. However, this book offers little advice or solutions.
Profile Image for Marian.
19 reviews1 follower
July 15, 2022
Sper sa am destula inteligenta sociala sa scriu review-ul acesta:)

Pentru mine cartea asta chiar si-a meritat banii si ulterior locul in biblioteca. De la grupuri de cimpanzei care se conformau in asa fel in cat prietenii lor din aceeasi rasa sa nu mai primeasca socuri electrice, la importanta oamenilor cu care ne inconjuram, am invatat destule chestii.
Cred ca pot povesti aici putin despre contaminarea emotionala, pe care unii din noi nu o constientizam sau poate o negam, avand circuite neuronale cu neuroni oglinda, putem simti ce simt si cei din jurul nostru doar privindu-i, de la filmele care reusesc sa ne emotioneze la partenerii cu care ne confruntam si preluam de la ei starile lor, pe de o parte acesti neuroni ne-au ajutat de-a lungul evolutiei acestei specii sa cream relatii cu cei din jur, putand sa simtim ce simt si ceilalti si asta cu mult mai repede decat formarea unei pareri despre acel sentiment.
Ca sa putem sa-i simtim pe ceilalti avem totusi de indeplinit niste conditii:
1.atentia sa fie reciproca
2.sa avem sentimente pozitive despre persoana cu care conversam
3.sa avem empatie
Mi s-a parut interesant ca o mare parte din a empatiza si ai simti pe altii este contactul vizual pe care eu adesea il evitam, si din acest fapt pierdeam o mare parte din informatia nonverbala pe care o transmitem.
In carte mai gasiti informatii si despre sistemele de atasament,

Pe scurt, copiii care au parte de multa empatie cresc de obicei cu un sentiment de siguranta;parintii anxiosi cresc copii anxiosi; iar parintii distanti cresc copii retrasi, care evita emotiile si oamenii.La maturitate, aceste patternuri se vor manifesta intr-o relatie ca stiluri diferite de atasament:siguranta, anxietate, evitare.

despre cum creierul nostru nu mai invata cand ne este frica, cand simtim anxietate, ceea ce mi s-a parut interesant avand in vedere modul in care se face scoala la noi in tara:))
Profile Image for Trish.
1,352 reviews2,395 followers
February 3, 2010
This was interesting, but not as incisive as his earlier Emotional Intelligence. It seemed a collection of chapters heading in a direction, but never really pulling it all together. I did learn a few things...the heavy-duty emotional work of the brain is generally done on the left side, and that the most important part of reaching attunement with another is through eye contact. It seems like we should know this, and we might say "of course," but sometimes it is the simple things that are the most important things to remember. He doesn't give us direction on how to develop more social intelligence, and spent perhaps a little more time than I liked on deviant behaviors. I have enough trouble trying to figure out everyday relationships without getting into the mind of the sociopath next door. But I'm sure the most troubling deviant behaviors propels much of the research, so we are likely to have that end of the bell curve as part of the discussion.
Profile Image for Jeremy.
44 reviews5 followers
February 19, 2009
Not a fast read by any means, but full of insight. A lot of it simply adds jargon and technical context to things you may already know deep down, but it's comforting to hear it from a scientific/researched point-of-view.
Profile Image for Anthony Louis Garavito.
103 reviews7 followers
January 3, 2019
Excelente libro; nos enseña como influye nuestro comportamiento en las personas y fomenta el cultivo de la compasión, empatía, tolerancia, etc.
Profile Image for Farhan Khalid.
406 reviews96 followers
February 13, 2020
Humans are built for connection, cooperation and relating to others

Social intelligence is about the ability to accurately read other people

It is the ability to navigate, gauge, communicate, and understand humans in social situations effectively

The ability to understand oneself and other people, is crucial for all of us. That’s not because it makes us more popular, but because it allows us to create deep emotional and supportive bonds with others. And these bonds can help us lead healthier and fulfilling lives

Low Road sets his camp in the amygdala and works at a higher speed based on raw feelings we infer from other people

It is responsible for the first impressions, which we form unconsciously noticing

High Road is the conscious, thinking part of the brain

Empathic accuracy allows you to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. It’s not only about understanding what they’re feeling but why they feel that way

Socially intelligent leaders are compassionate to employees during emotionally tough times

There will be situations when you have to look beyond your thoughts and emotions to another person’s emotions and motives to avoid failing at life

Childhood and culture are important factors impacting your social skills

You should not shelter your child from all unpleasant events to make him or her happy. It is better that he or she learn how to deal with undesirable emotions and return quicker to a happy state, mental resiliency

Our behavior creates and develops neural networks, we are not necessarily prisoners of our genes and our early childhood experiences

Parents who try to protect their sensitive toddlers from new experiences often end up making their kids more shy

Parents who support their timid children and even force them into new experiences, on the other hand, can contribute to making them less shy

Leading effectively is less about mastering situations—or even mastering social skill sets—than about talent for fostering positive feelings in the people whose cooperation and support you need

When we consciously or unconsciously detect someone else’s emotions through their actions, our mirror neurons reproduce those emotions. Collectively, these neurons create an instant sense of shared experience

Emotions and mood are contagious. Enthusiasm or anxiety spread like viruses

A bonded group is one that performs well

Being in a good mood helps people take in information effectively and respond nimbly and creatively. In other words, laughter is serious business

Our memories are in part reconstruction: every time we recall them, the brain rewrites them. And how our brain rewrites them is correlated to our current concerns, understanding, and feelings

Social inclination may be shaped by your brain’s wiring, but that doesn’t mean your behavioral patterns are set in stone

If you relax and then confront your fears and repeat it again and again, you will reach a point where you will overcome your fear – Exposure Therapy

The way we interact with other people can often be traced back to much deeper, cultural sources

Humans are likely to be more adventurous if they’ve been exposed to reasonable doses of fear at a young age

Women place positive relationships as the main source of their happiness while for men independence and a sense of personal growth are more important than relationships

Men care more about physical beauty and women about status and power in attraction

In a relationship, the party with less power will converge emotionally towards the party with more power

When the eyes of a woman that a man finds attractive look directly at him, his brain secretes the pleasure-inducing chemical dopamine – but not when she looks elsewhere

When we focus on ourselves, our world contracts as our problems and preoccupations loom large. But when we focus on others, our world expands

The feelings of the most expressive person in a meeting usually permeate to the others by the end

Deep listening is also about asking questions

Finding common interests create a social bond

Don’t be afraid to say or show you are sorry

There are three types of attachment styles: secure, anxious, and avoidant

Stress isn’t just bad for your mental health. It also affects the genetic structure of cells responsible for maintaining your immune system

Indian hospitals don’t prepare food for their patients because they want to encourage patients’ friends and families to drop by at mealtimes and spend time with them

Social interaction and care have been shown to help cure illnesses

Another option is to place patients awaiting treatment among others who’ve already had the same procedure. When you’re surrounded by people who are happy about their experience, you’re also bound to be upbeat. Leaving patients alone with other sick and anxious patients, on the other hand, has the opposite effect. Negative feelings end up being reinforced. That means higher anxiety levels and longer recovery times

But there’s a problem. The ill are often subject to social stigmas that make it harder for them to regain their health
Profile Image for Anton Grabreck.
39 reviews
May 4, 2022
Goleman tackles the systematic dehumanization of friendship, parenting, employment, consumption, hospitals, education, and everyday encounters - an epidemic with biological and social consequences.

Way too good. The breadth and depth that each section dives into is exhausting. I'll need to go over this another 3-4 times just to absorb all of its concepts. But its definitely worth it.
Profile Image for Kristy Rousseau.
130 reviews
December 17, 2017
Interesting subject matter and research. I just found it painfully boring and long. Not my cup of tea is all.
Profile Image for Elizabeth Theiss Smith.
295 reviews84 followers
April 16, 2018
Goleman reviews a good deal of familiar territory from his work on emotional intelligence and happiness studies. What’s new here is that be links this work with recent studies in neuroscience to reveal the neural basis of social behavior.
Profile Image for Hồ Vinh.
62 reviews10 followers
March 7, 2019
At first glance, the book seemingly delivers a good chunk of promising pieces of advice on how to become more sociable or at least more understanding on this topic. Admittedly, it convinced me in the first half, in which I learned of how high road and low road complement each other; how one can sense harmony among a group of people by observing there verbal and non-verbal rhythm; how genes do not necessarily play a vital role in shaping a person characteristics and behaviors; and so on.

However (a big "however" here), the author strictly followed a monotonic formula in introducing a concept: 1) a case study 2) technical term to call it 3) its corresponding anatomical location on your brain 4) more case studies and interpretations 5) (sometimes) a lesson at the end of the chapter.

I have no doubt the author authoritative of the matter at hands, yet the lengthy writing deludes valuables information under it. I can say it is academically a literature review for Psychologist students, rather than a book welcomed by general audiences. I may be wrong, of course.

[Additional note]: one good thing I have learned is most of what happens in our minds are chemical reactions, so next time if you have a wave of uncontrollable anger toward someone, objectify your feeling with that fact might calm you down.
Profile Image for Nitin Vaidya.
83 reviews34 followers
July 1, 2017
Finally Its Done!!! How fascinating this book was !!!An extremely complicated read with so much biology in it, took a lot of time to finish but it was very good. A must read book for all the people who want to understand relationships more deeply.
Profile Image for Van Hoang.
Author 3 books86 followers
October 12, 2018
I learned so many things from this important book, especially that we are susceptible to the moods of those around us, and in turn, are responsible for how we affect those we interact with. Spread love, be nice, practice empathy, make compassion the purpose of your life.
Profile Image for Katrina Sark.
Author 7 books36 followers
September 16, 2014
"When the eyes of a woman whom a man finds attractive look directly at him, his brain secretes the pleasure-inducing chemical dopamine, but not when she looks elsewhere."

In effect, being chronically hurt and angered, or being emotionally nourished by someone we spend time with daily over the course of years can re-fashion our brain. These new discoveries reveal that our relationships have subtle yet powerful life-long impact on us. Thus how we connect with others has unimagined significance.
When someone dumps their toxic feelings on us, explodes in anger or threats, shows disgust or contempt, they activate in us circuitry for those very same distressing emotions. Their act has potent neurological consequence. Emotions are contagious. We catch strong emotions much as we do a cold.

Every interaction has an emotional subtext.

Amygdala triggers the fight, flight, or freeze response to danger.
The brain responds to an illusion created by the film with the same circuitry as it does to life itself, even on-screen emotions are contagious.
The movies we watch commandeer our brain.

Rapport exists only between people. We recognize it whenever a connection feels pleasant, engaged and smooth. But rapport matters far beyond those fleeting pleasant moments. When people are in rapport, they can be more creative together, more efficient in making decisions.
Shared attention is the first essential ingredient. As two people attend to what the other says and does, they generate a sense of mutual interest, a joint focus that amounts to perceptual glue. Such joined attention spurs shared feelings. One indicator of rapport is mutual empathy. Both partners experience being experienced.

At one point he seemingly re-injured himself. If the other person happened to be looking the supposed victim in the eye during the injury, that person winced, mimicking his pained expression. But people who were not looking at the victim, were far less likely to wince, even though they were aware of his pain. When our attention is split, we tune out a bit, missing crucial details, especially emotional ones. Seeing eye to eye opens a pathway for empathy.

Attention in itself is not enough for rapport. The next ingredient is good feeling evoked largely through tone of voice and facial expression. In building a sense of positivity, the non-verbal messages we send can matter more than what we are saying.

The eyes offer glimpses into a person’s most private feelings. More specifically, the eyes contain nerve projections that lead directly to a key brain structure for empathy and matching emotions.
When two people’s eyes meet, they have inter-linked their orbital frontal areas, which are especially sensitive to face-to-face cues like eye contact. These social pathways play a crucial role in recognizing another’s emotional state.

Buber coined the term I-It for the range of relations that runs from merely detached to utterly exploitative. In that spectrum, others become objects. We treat someone more as a thing than as a person. Psychologists use the term “agentic” for this cold approach to others, viewing people solely as instruments to be used toward our own goals.

That ego-centric mode contrasts with communion, a state of high mutual empathy where your feelings do more than matter to me, they change me. While we are in communion, we stay in-sync, mashed in a mutual feedback loop. But during moments of agency, we disconnect. When other tasks or preoccupations split our attention, the dwindling reserve left for the person we’re talking with leaves us operating on automatic, paying just enough attention to keep the conversation on track. Multiple preoccupations take a toll on any conversation that goes beyond the routine, particularly when it enters emotionally troubling zones.

A person’s capacity for attuning – wanting to enter and understand another person’s inner reality. Psychoanalysts use the term “inter-subjectivity” to refer to this meshing of two people’s inner worlds. The phrase I-You is a more lyrical way of describing the same sort of empathic connection. As Buber described it in his 1937 book on the philosophy of relationships, “I-You is a special bond. An attuned closeness that’s often found between husbands and wives, family members and good friends. The everyday modes of I-You reach from simple respect and politeness to affection and admiration, to any of the countless ways we show our love. The emotional indifference and remoteness of an I-It relationship stands in direct contrast to the attuned I-You. When we’re in the I-It mode, we treat other people as a means to some other end. By contrast, in the I-You mode, our relationship with them becomes an end in itself.

Our brain registers social rejections in the very area that activates when we’re hurt physically.
Distress and separation and joy and bonding both bespeak the primal power of connection. When our need for closeness goes unmet, emotional disorders can result. Social rejection or fearing it is one of the most common causes of anxiety. Feelings on inclusion depend not so much on having frequent social contacts or numerous relationships, as on how accepted we feel, even in just a few key relationships.

At the extreme people with no capacity for empathy become psychopaths. But the far more common sub-clinical variety live among us, populating offices, schools, bars, and the routine byways of daily life.
Our ability to repair a disconnection, to weather an inter-personal emotional storm, and then re-connect again is one key to life-long happiness. The secret lies not in avoiding life’s inevitable frustrations and upsets but in learning to recover from them.

In a parent-child relationship where attunement of any kind occurs rarely and the parents are emotionally uninvolved with the child. Such children encounter only frustration in trying to get empathic attention from their parents. The absence of looping and hence shared moments of pleasure or joy increases the odds that a child will grow up with diminished capacity for positive emotions, and in later life will find it difficult to reach out to other people. Children of such avoidant parents grow up skittish. As adults, their expression of emotions is inhibited, particularly those emotions that would help them bond with a partner. In keeping with the model that parents displayed, they avoid not just expressing their feelings but also emotionally-intimate relationships.

The human mind depends on categories to give order and meaning to the world around us. By assuming that the next entity we encounter in a given category has the same main features as the last, we navigate our way through an ever-changing environment. But once a negative bias begins our lenses become clouded. We tend to cease on whatever seems to confirm the bias and ignore what does not. Prejudice in this sense is a hypothesis desperately trying to prove itself to us. And so when we encounter someone to whom the prejudice might apply, the bias skews our perception, making it impossible to test whether the stereotype actually fits.
When It becomes You, they turn into us.

Emotional contagion means that a goodly number of our moods come to us via the interactions we have with other people. In a sense, resonant relationships are like emotional vitamins, sustaining us through tough times and nourishing us daily.

The marital researcher John Gotman has found that in a happy stable marriage a couple experiences about five up-beat interactions for every negative one. Perhaps that same five-to-one ratio is an approximate golden mean for any on-going connection in our lives. We could in theory do an inventory that evaluates the nutritional value of each of our relationships. If say the ratio were reversed with five negative for every positive interaction, the relationship would be in urgent need of mending. A negative ratio of course does not necessarily mean we should end relationships just because they are sometimes or even too often difficult. The point is to do what we can to alter the troubling behaviour for the better, not banish the person.
Now that neuroscience can put numbers to that raw buzz of fellow feeling, quantifying its benefits, we must pay attention to the biological impact of social life. The hidden links among our relationships, our brain function, and our very health and well-being are stunning in their implications. We must reconsider the pat assumption that we are immune to toxic social encounters.

Strong distressing states like disgust, contempt, and explosive anger are the emotional equivalent of second-hand smoke that quietly damages the lungs of others who breathe it in.

In this sense, social responsibility begins here and now. When we act in ways that help create optimal states in others, from those we encounter casually to those we love and care about most dearly.

Nourish your social connections.
Profile Image for Omar.
199 reviews
May 31, 2021
The book is mostly anecdotal stories along with some neuroscience and common sense examples on what healthy and pleasurable social experience are like. It also provides some explanations for why things go wrong along and the negative effects it has on our health. He also goes into how our upbringing, genes, and personality factors into things. Ultimately, to be 'socially intelligent' is to attune to others and to be mindful of the choreography of communicating as there is an intricate process occurring between our biology and how we're influencing and interpreting a social experience with non-verbal cues and our demeanour being as valuable as to what and how we say things.

His cheat sheet for 'social intelligence':

1) Social Awareness

- Primal empathy i.e. feeling with others; sensing nonverbal emotional signals
-Listening wth full receptivity; attuning to a person
-Empathetic accuracy: Understanding another person's thoughts, feelings, and intentions
-Social cognition: Knowing how the social world works

2) Social Facility

-Synchrony: Interacting smoothly at the nonverbal level
-Self-presentation: Presenting ourselves effectively
-Influence: Shaping the outcome of social interactions
-Concerns: Caring about others' needs and acting


Profile Image for Diana Lorena Sepulveda.
551 reviews63 followers
May 11, 2019
13 años han pasado desde la publicación de este libro.
10 desde la impresión de la copia que tengo, y por lo tanto la misma cantidad de tiempo desde que está en la biblioteca familiar (de hecho, el libro no es mío, no estoy segura si es de mi hermano o mi papá)
"Inteligencia Emocional" fue el primer libro que me acercó a las neurociencias, sí recuerdo muy bien que lo leí en el bachillerato, y que mi papá me lo pasó después de leerlo en su clase de Liderazgo.
"Inteligencia Social"da continuidad al modelo presentado en el libro anterior, y habla de cómo las interacciones sociales pueden modelar nuestro cerebro.
Me confieso pésima para la Neuroanatomía, así que las descripciones constantes de partes relacionadas con las funciones sociales me marean un poco, pero la discusión en cuanto a la importancia de las relaciones sociales para nuestro funcionamiento sigue siendo tan vigente hoy como lo fue hace 13 años.
PD: Acabo de notar que demoré un año en leerlo xD y este es el último libro en mi pila TBR!
Profile Image for Adrian Mora.
109 reviews2 followers
January 27, 2019
I really enjoyed the way Dr. Daniel Goleman described what is happening in our brains when being social/anti-social. Over the past few months, the topic of the Human Brain is the most interesting subject I have been trying to learn more about. I wish I had more control of my emotions and it frustrates me that I still can't override my limbic "reptilian" brain when things get heated. Something as simple as calling the wireless company to dispute a charge fires up my old brain and the adrenaline and cortisol starts pumping. My heart rate speeds up, the moisture from my mouth seems to transfer to my palms, eyes dilate and my mind "frazzles". Ugh! I'm trying to stay calm cool and collected like the master...SAM HARRIS.

If you're a novice to the human Brain and Behavior connection then this is a great place to start!
Profile Image for Isabella Abigail Ow.
74 reviews9 followers
January 10, 2021
Skimmed this one. This is helpful for anyone who wishes to understand about the various kinds of attachment and connection struggles that could be experienced by different people, and an exploration of the reasons why. Some aspects on "mindblindness" really spoke to me; how we negotiate our needs while responding to those of others; and the cues that would be important to read in a social situation, are some examples. It's probably worth re-reading in greater detail again...
Profile Image for Toufiq Imrose.
4 reviews7 followers
March 27, 2021
আমার পিতার রকমারি ডট কম প্রীতির কারণে আমাকে এসব বই গিলতে হয় মাঝে মধ্যে। যাই হোক বইটি আমার অটিজম দূর করতে সাহায্য করেছে। এজন্য "আবেগ সংক্রান্ত বুদ্ধিমত্তার জনক" ড্যানিয়েল গোলম্যানকে ধন্যবাদ। এখন আমি একজন অন্তর্যামী হিসেবে বসবাস করে প্রতিনিয়ত আমার আশেপাশের মানুষের আবেগ নিয়ে খেলা করি।
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