Social Intelligence “The new science of human relationships” – Daniel Goleman

After the great success of Emotional Intelligence, the psychologist Daniel Goleman returns after ten years to illuminate the minds by deepening the psychological study of social neurosciences.

In Social Intelligence, the American psychologist investigates the intrinsically sociable nature of the human brain, and how interpersonal relationships shape the mind and affect the body.

Entering into scientific studies and arguing with concrete examples from everyday life, Goleman explains how emotions are contagious, as much as real viruses. This book allows us to explore the complexity of the human being and the effects that relationships generate on the internal state of well-being.

According to Daniel Goleman, the brain is naturally structured to interact positively with other human beings, establishing more or less strong bonds according to each person’s social skills. Social awareness allows us to understand the moods of others through the development of an empathizing and listening personality. For the Californian psychologist, those who manage to identify themselves with others and perceive their feelings and then establish harmonious relationships are socially intelligent.

Social intelligence originates from different brain mechanisms that are predisposed and structured to connect us to other people, such as the Mirror Neurons and the Amygdala which are the undisputed protagonists in empathic perception. Social intelligence therefore seems to have a genetic imprint, however today thanks to social neuroscience, we know that it is possible to develop a relational talent also through social awareness.

According to Goleman, the problem with modern society lies in how people relate to each other. In harmful relationship the other person is seen as an object: someone who can be exploited and from which to take advantage of it, without remorse or guilt.

In this regard Goleman provides the tools to recognize three different categories of potentially dangerous people, socially able, capable of manipulating others, but totally without empathy: narcissists, Machiavellians and psychopaths.

Goleman therefore proposes us to develop innate social skills, “training” our social intelligence and actively seeking dialogue with each other, especially today where the massive diffusion of new technologies forces us to distance relationships, closing us in a real just “social autism”.

Fully enhancing this type of intelligence allows us to live our relationships with fullness, belonging and love, to educate our children to happiness, to become leaders and teachers capable of stimulating everyone’s creativity and hidden resources.

Daniel Goleman (Stockton, March 7, 1946) is an American psychologist, writer and journalist. He studied at Amherst College, where he was a pupil of Alfred F. Jones. He graduated from Harvard, specializing in “clinical psychology and personality development”, where he later also taught.

He has long written in the New York Times about topics related to neurology and behavioral sciences.

Goleman’s best-known work is “Emotional Intelligence” from 1995.

Goleman has received many awards and recognition for his research: two Pulitzer Prize nominations for his articles, a career award from the American Psychological Association and election as a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Our greatest glory lies not in never falling, but in always rising after a fall

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