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Learn the key ideas of the book by Daniel Goleman

Social Intelligence

Training our social intelligence and building happy relationships

Our brain is biologically programmed to connect to other people’s brains: human beings are basically “wired” to be social creatures. Starting with this discovery, Goleman reveals the deep impact relationships have on every aspect of our lives. Social intelligence, when applied from a place of empathy, is our cognitive ability to relate to others and to accurately evaluate social situations. Understanding how it works can help us create a happier society, founded on strong and positive social connections.

Social Intelligence
Read in 16 min.
Listen in 20 min.

Many useful tips to:

  • Understand the deep impact of relationships on every aspect of our lives.
  • Understand how our social intelligence can vary based on our education and cultural background.
  • Train your social intelligence to enjoy more fulfilling relationships.

The author of the book:

Daniel Goleman was born in Stockton, California in 1946. He is an American, and a world renowned psychologist and journalist. Stockton is the author of the bestselling book Emotional Intelligence, which has been translated into 30 languages and has sold 6 million copies worldwide. Goleman earned his Ph.D. from Harvard and wrote about behavioural science for the New York Times for twelve years, during which time he covered issues related to behaviour, habits and brain operations. He was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award by the American Psychological Association and is a member of the Association for the Advancement of Science.


Human beings are biologically programmed to connect with one another

Social neuroscience studies have shown that the human brain is sociable by nature and that it instinctively receives signals from other brains. It is as though each person were “wired” to connect with each other. Not only that: the relationships that we have, shape our minds and influence our bodies. Social intelligence is the human ability to interact with other people, creating relationships based on listening, which can promote positive change in ourselves and in our relationship with others. It is the ability to interpret social situations, emotions and other people’s feelings correctly, and then act accordingly. The foundation of social intelligence is empathy, a precious ability which allows us to put ourselves in another person’s position and acquire a strong sense of their state of mind and of their feelings, whether they are positive or negative. Social intelligence has a profound impact on every aspect of our lives because it helps us to understand the world and it allows us to respond appropriately to other people’s behaviour. Since, as humans, we are purely social animals, we are biologically programmed to cooperate, to be altruistic and empathic. So, to be truly happy, knowing how to manage our emotions is not enough, we need to learn to relate to others and to get along with people. The more we are able to create connections with other people, the better. This is also due to the fact that the way we interact with our social environment has profound consequences on our mental and physical health. This is precisely why it is so important to train our social intelligence: this is the only way we can experience our relationships to the fullest – whatever their nature – and actively build a dialogue with other people.


The key ideas of "Social Intelligence"

Human beings are biologically programmed to connect with one another
Conscious and unconscious: the two “pathways” at work in the human brain
Our culture and the education we receive shapes our social abilities in a unique way
Social connections are directly related to the state of our health
When social engagement takes too much energy, the answer is to have even more social connections
Poor social intelligence, narcissism and an excess in testosterone can be a dangerous mix
Social intelligence is fundamental in school teachers
Take-home message

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