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 in children. (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 book offers a vital new curriculum for life that can change the future for us and for our children.
Daniel Goleman, PhD, covers the behavioural and brain sciences for the New York Times and his articles appear throughout the world in syndication. His latest book, Destructive Emotions: A Scientific Dialogue with the Dalai Lama, was published in January 2003. He has taught at Harvard (where he received his PhD) and was formerly senior editor at Psychology Today. His previous books include Vital Lies, Simple Truths; The Meditative Mind; and as co-author, The Creative Spirit. He was also a contributor to the business reference work, Business: The Ultimate Resource.
'An impressive argument that excellence is more than IQ' Daily Mail 'A well-written and practical guide to the emotions, perfectly pitched in tone and scope' Financial Times 'Forget IQ. Brains may come in useful, as may social class and luck, but as a predictor of who will succeed in any area of life, EQ is the thing to worry about' Good Housekeeping
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)
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