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Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  12,170 ratings  ·  424 reviews
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 o ...more
Hardcover, 403 pages
Published September 26th 2006 by Bantam Books (first published 2006)
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Nancy Mills I think maybe I see where you're going with this; I am not particularly impressed with this book but in the author's defense, he has been published in…moreI think maybe I see where you're going with this; I am not particularly impressed with this book but in the author's defense, he has been published in some pretty good journals such as "The Journal of Abnormal Psychology" and other psychology related journals. While can't answer your question, I think when the author says "we," he means the average person. It would be like saying "we walk upright on 2 feet." A small percentage of people are amputees or wheelchair bound and of course do not walk on 2 feet. But the usual person you run into does.
Just curious ... as an autistic person, is there a way to learn how to connect with others? I am a huge fan of Temple Grandin and it seems she connects remarkably to animals. Do you connect better with animals? And since we are all animals, wonder why there's a difference?(less)

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Seth Jenson
Jun 27, 2011 rated it liked it
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 ea
Nov 24, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
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 response ...more
Jun 22, 2010 is currently reading it
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 Golem
Mar 27, 2008 marked it as to-read
Recommends it for: a VERY bored snowed-in hermit
Recommended to Lulu by: my best friend
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. Eithe ...more
Polly Trout
Jul 11, 2008 rated it really liked it
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. T ...more
Anna Andres
Jun 09, 2014 rated it it was ok
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. ...more
James Lamp
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, ...more
Dec 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 03, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
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 mos ...more
Feb 18, 2009 rated it really liked it
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. ...more
Jan 15, 2021 added it
Shelves: marriage
Really neat learning about different studies and how we are wired to connect.
Kristy Rousseau
May 22, 2017 rated it it was ok
Interesting subject matter and research. I just found it painfully boring and long. Not my cup of tea is all.
Elizabeth Theiss
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.
Nitin Vaidya
Jul 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
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.
Van Hoang
Oct 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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.
Farhan Khalid
Feb 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
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 fu
Katrina Sark
Sep 11, 2014 rated it liked it
"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.
Adrian Mora
Jan 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
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 a ...more
Isabella Ow
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... ...more
Hồ Vinh
Mar 07, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 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.

Moe Jawich
Aug 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
“The argument has long been made that we humans are by nature compassionate and empathic despite the occasional streak of meanness" ...more
Boni Aditya
What I hate about these kinds of books is that these books discuss various theories, proofs and experiment setup trying to prove their point. i.e. they would start with some assumption i.e. the social encounters in our life have a lasting impact on our neural circuitry or the development of our mind. There is tons of jargon about which parts of the brain are affected by which kinds of treatment. How a toxic encounter could ruin the day or how interactions between the mother and her child, recipr ...more
Jul 28, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I love what S. Anton “Explorer” writes in his Amazon review: “If you are expecting to learn anything that can actually help you in your life, forget it. An odd collection of quirky insights that in the great scheme of things add up to nothing.” While I’m not quite so harsh as to give the book a mere 1 star (I’ll give it 3), S. Anton’s review does a good job summarizing my gut reaction to the book:

1. I bought the paperback and found the rambling style difficult to plod through. Fortunately, I acq
May 25, 2018 rated it it was ok
When I first picked up this book it was super interesting. The case studies were engaging. I'm new to the whole neuroscientific part of psychology. This book explained it in basic terminology. I have always thought that our emotional make-up and was partially due to our upbringing and the environment we're bought up in. It's nice to see some evidence to back that up.

As the book went on, I started getting a bit restless as it got repetitive. It took me a whole month to read the damn thing. I felt
John Stepper
Feb 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
An excellent introduction to "interpersonal neurobiology" and the neuroscience underpinning our interactions and relationships.

The scope of applications in the book is extremely broad - from parenting and sex to prisons and the workplace - so not every chapter may interest you. But it is a great primer and provides ample motivation to dig deeper. The notes alone make for delicious perusing.
Apr 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
Goleman, a science writer for the New York Times, does a great job of making accessible the impact of neuroscience research on modern understanding of psychology in social matters. This was one of the most personally interesting books I've read, as large swaths of it were directly applicable to my life. For example, the impact of parenting styles on neurological development of children and the passages that led me to understand that I had at least a mild case of Asperger's Syndrome n my younger ...more
Void lon iXaarii
May 03, 2011 rated it it was ok
The bad: From the start I saw in the book some quite bad/dangerous views on the world, and particularly the kinds of solutions it was proposing to some problems felt not based on reality but on wishy thinking, some even with dangerous consequences if implemented. Also the book contains quite a bit of A is A and looks like A type reasoning, with the effect of just saying obvious stuff (or even dictionary definitions?), which as well with some of the stories just dragged it on.
The good: so why did
Jan 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I originally thought Goleman's Emotional Intelligence was his best work. Now I am not so certain. Comparing the two books, the most notable difference between the two has to do with the first book's style as being more authoritative. I think this is because Goleman was on new ground. He was explaining the emergent science of emotional intelligence.

Social Intelligence offers a more relaxed delivery regarding how the brain works in social interactions. It also offers insight regarding group think
Sean Kottke
Mar 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012, professional
Not as laser-focused or as immediately useful as Emotional Intelligence, it's really a survey of the state of the art of social psychology and emotional neuroscience, as seen through the lens of positive psychology. The descriptions of how things are supposed to work and what's not working when they don't are strong, but practical strategies for nurturing social intelligence in individuals or organizations where it is underdeveloped are not as well-defined as in Goleman's E.I. books. A good read ...more
Jul 16, 2009 rated it really liked it
Daniel Goleman really opened a near area of social and emotional intelligence - the idea that books smarts is not the end all, be all. Great read for parents and anyone who is interested in the "other side" of intelligence. ...more
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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 Busin

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“Self-absorption in all its forms kills empathy, let alone compassion. When we focus on ourselves, our world contracts as our problems and preoccupations loom large. But when we focus on others, our world expands. Our own problems drift to the periphery of the mind and so seem smaller, and we increase our capacity for connection - or compassionate action.” 756 likes
“The argument has long been made that we humans are by nature compassionate and empathic despite the occasional streak of meanness, but torrents of bad news throughout history have contradicted that claim, and little sound science has backed it. But try this thought experiment. Imagine the number of opportunities people around the world today might have to commit an antisocial act, from rape or murder to simple rudeness and dishonesty. Make that number the bottom of a fraction. Now for the top value you put the number of such antisocial acts that will actually occur today.

That ratio of potential to enacted meanness holds at close to zero any day of the year. And if for the top value you put the number of benevolent acts performed in a given day, the ratio of kindness to cruelty will always be positive. (The news, however, comes to us as though that ratio was reversed.)

Harvard's Jerome Kagan proposes this mental exercise to make a simple point about human nature: the sum total of goodness vastly outweighs that of meanness. 'Although humans inherit a biological bias that permits them to feel anger, jealousy, selfishness and envy, and to be rude, aggressive or violent,' Kagan notes, 'they inherit an even stronger biological bias for kindness, compassion, cooperation, love and nurture – especially toward those in need.' This inbuilt ethical sense, he adds, 'is a biological feature of our species.”
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