Book review: Social Intelligence

I realized I never told you about one of the best books I read last year!  Social Intelligence.  Daniel Goleman, the author of Emotional Intelligence, has written a new book that focuses on how humans beings connect to each other and how those connections are learned or formed.  He does a good job of balancing very interesting anecdotes with descriptions of how all of this works at the biological level.

He spends a lot of time explaining how these social connections are learned as a child and how what we do or don’t learn when we are young affects us later.  As a mom with a new baby, some of the experiments were actually scary!  He talked about how some moms can naturally tell when their babies need a break and leave them alone for a while and how others continue to "get in their face" and how this changes how the baby interacts with people as an adult!

If you’ve ever wondered how you knew someone was annoyed when they didn’t say anything (or how someone else did and you didn’t) or why you seem to connect so well with some people and not others, or how you could tell if someone is lying, or how much of our behavior is nurture versus nature, … well then you should definitely read this book.  It’s much more of a "why" book than a "how-to" book and it makes for some fascinating reading.

I just found out last week that Daniel Goleman used to teach at the massage school I’m studying at, Boulder College of Massage Therapy.  I wish I’d had a chance to take a class from him! (He now writes books and writes for the New York Times.)