Is IQ destiny? Not nearly as much as we think. Daniel Goleman's fascinating and persuasive book argues that our view of human intelligence is far too narrow, and that our emotions play a much greater role in thought, decision making and individual success than is commonly acknowledged.
Drawing on groundbreaking brain and behavioural research, Goleman shows the factors at work when people of high IQ flounder and those of modest IQ do surprisingly well. These factors add up to a different way of succeeding in life - one he terms 'emotional intelligence'.
Emotional intelligence includes self-awareness and impulse control, persistence zeal and self-motivation, empathy and social deftness. These are the qualities that mark people who excel: whose intimate relationships flourish, who are stars in the workplace. These are also the hallmarks of character and self-discipline, of altruism and compassion.
As Goleman demonstrates, the personal costs of deficits in emotional intelligence can range from problems in marriage and parenting to poor physical health in adults, and to eating disorders and depression inchildren. (New research shows that chronic anger and anxiety create as great a health risk as chain-smoking.)
But the news is hopeful. Emotional intelligence is not fixed at birth. Goleman's argument gives new insights into the brain architecture underlying emotion and rationality. He shows precisely how emotional intelligence can be nurtured and strengthened in all of us. And because the emotional lessons a child learns actually sculpt the brain's circuitry, Goleman provides detailed guidance as to how parents and schools can benefit from this.
The message of this eye-opening book is one we must take to heart.
About Daniel Goleman
Daniel Goleman, PhD, covers the behavioural and brain sciences for The New York Times and his articles appear throughout the world in syndication. He has taught at Harvard, where he received his PhD, and was formerly senior editor of Psychology Today. His previous books include: Vital Times, Simple Truths and The Meditative Mind
Goleman succeeds in making a powerful case for the importance of the relatively new concept of emotional intelligence, while greatly broadening our understanding of what intelligence is all about in the first place. According to New York Times psychology and brain science editor Goleman (Vital Lies, Simple Truths, not reviewed, etc.), despite "the lopsided scientific vision of an emotionally flat mental life," we think, act, and interact at least as much on the basis of our feelings as on rational grounds. The extent to which we're knowledgeable and nuanced about our own and others' emotions constitutes "emotional literacy." Goleman covers an enormous amount of territory in exploring this topic, including the neurology of emotions, group behavior, impulse control (particularly concerning aggression), and the correlation of one's emotional state with one's ability to endure pain or heal after surgery. Goleman's primary good news is that children and adults can benefit from "emotional coaching": The brain's feeling mechanism, i.e., synapses between cells, can literally grow, even in the case of such long-term disorders as depression or obsessive-compulsive behavior. Goleman takes us into a number of schools, including one in the inner city, that have developed new curricula to teach children to be more aware of their emotions and to develop a wider repertoire to replace self-defeating, self-destructive, or antisocial behavior. The main weakness here is the author's occasionally glib tone as he bandies about statistics or scants an important topic. He also has a penchant for making and citing sweeping claims on the benefits of helping individuals achieve greater emotional literacy. And in emphasizing cognitive and behaviorist methods, he slights psychoanalytic and family-systems approaches. Still, Goleman's clear, engaging style makes this a model for social science literature that bridges professional and lay readerships. (Kirkus Reviews)
Number Of Pages: 368
Published: November 2008
Dimensions (cm): 19.8 x 12.9 x 2.7
Weight (kg): 0.268